The Shooting in Tucson

I have had a house in Tucson for the past five or six years. It is in Gabriel Gifford’s Congressional district. I know the corner of Ina Road and Oracle Road where the shooting occurred. I know and like Tucson and Arizona. I would rather be living there than here because I have serious fears about California’s future while I think Arizona is now in pretty good hands. They had a housing bubble but they have more sensible people in that state government.

Gabriel Gifford’s district includes some of the most affluent areas of Tucson. To be re-elected, she had to be a “blue dog” Democrat. She has an appealing personal story. Her father is a sheriff of a neighboring county and her husband is an astronaut. I would not have voted for her because she had a very attractive opponent but there was very little of the animosity in that election that there was in other district races. Some of her constituents were unhappy about her healthcare vote. She had gotten the message and voted against Nancy Pelosi for minority leader of the Democrats, one of 17 Democrats to do so.

The press conference by the Pima County sheriff yesterday was disgraceful. I watched the whole thing. He went over and over his theories that harsh political discourse was somehow a cause of the shooting. He repeated the whole mantra three times by my count. Other than that, he provided very little information, for example, declining to give the suspect’s name when everyone with an internet connection knew what it was. I think he may have been reacting to personal distress as he probably knows Ms Gifford’s father and has known her for a long time. I also suspect he is a Democrat as Tucson is a rather left wing city being the site of the University of Arizona. The City Council has been very left wing and several members were defeated in the previous election as they had spent far too much money on frivolous projects, some of which had never been completed.

There is a lot of wild talk on left wing web sites, some of which is being rolled back as Daily Kos and the DNC scrub web sites of similar images and rhetoric as conservative sites and people they are attacking. A lot of it has been scrubbed but some people have found Google caches.

Like this DLC “targeting map.”

There has been a lot of talk about how “angry” Arizona people are. Well, maybe they have reason to be angry. The Obama administration has sued the state to try to stop an Arizona law that merely enforces a federal law that Obama seems disinterested in enforcing. Arizona is overrun with illegals immigrants, drug violence is 60 miles away in Mexico and auto insurance rates are sky high because of car theft. Someone I know had a LoJack system installed in his car. When he realized the car was stolen, the police activated the locator and the car was already 60 miles into Mexico.

Some of the angry rhetoric comes from a sense that the people have lost control of the government since Obama was elected. The health care bill was opposed in every poll of public opinion. The Republican minority was completely opposed. Yet, the bill was passed by procedural maneuvers never before used to pass legislation of this magnitude. As the people have learned more about the bill, they like it less. Nancy Pelosi told us they have to pass it so we can find out what is in it. Yes, the people of Arizona are angry. But it had nothing to do with yesterday’s shooting.

The young man is obviously a paranoid schizophrenic. His ramblings on a You Tube video contain the typical delusions of schizophrenics. He goes on about the government controlling minds through grammar. He appears to be obsessed with grammar and goes on about introducing a new currency for which he will be the Treasurer. These are the delusional ravings of a psychotic. There appears to be some level of disappointment that he is not associated with a political ideology, especially the tea party. There are already think pieces about “violence”, by which they mean talk radio and Fox News, just as Clinton did after the McVeigh bombing in Oklahoma.

By day’s end, the argument that the political right—fueled by anti-government, and anti-immigrant passions that run especially strong in Arizona—is culpable for the Tucson massacre, even if by indirect association, seemed to be validated by the top local law enforcement official investigating the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D).

This refers to that disgusting press conference by the Pima County sheriff. They even have a video of his rant.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, an elected Democrat, at a news conference Saturday evening.

Yup, I guessed right.

One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did.

They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”

Another Democratic strategist said the similarity is that Tucson and Oklahoma City both “take place in a climate of bitter and virulent rhetoric against the government and Democrats.”

Isn’t it odd that movies about the assassination of George Bush are not considered too extreme ?

I think Representative Gifford will recover as the gunshot wound track passed from her temple out her forehead, probably missing her brain. A family friend said she is now in induced coma, no doubt to minimize cerebral edema from the contusion to the brain from the shock wave. I don’t know if the Democratic party will recover from its disinterest in debate and its tendency to try to demonize its opponents instead of argue with them.

18 thoughts on “The Shooting in Tucson”

  1. The left is obvious attempting to spin this to their advantage, but it seems to me that they are opperating in an outdated paradigm. Their hope of hopes is to paint this as Oklahoma City II, a Democrat operative even says as much in the Politico article. But to me this sort of spin cannot and will not take hold, except among the left’s true believers.

    To me, modern communications is too decentralized for a predominant narrative to take hold. Clinton had the big three networks and CNN to act as his clarion in pinning OKC on right-wing hate and talkers. Even then, he missed his mark somewhat, with one of his main targets — Rush — proving elusive. Now, with the internet becoming the prevailing mode of mass communication and the distrust of mainstream media at an all-time high, it does not seem possible that one side will be able to make political hay out of the incident.

    To a certain extent some political operatives,such as Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos, appear to be shooting themselves in the foot in their scramble to demonize their perceived threats. Mr. Kennedy’s screen shot of the Kos map speaks volumes to the hypocrisy inherent to scapegoating.

    This leads my wondering diatribe to the question I have at hand regarding the incident and modern progressivism. That is, in its vulgar form, so often seen on progressive websites, is it purely a philosophy of choosing scapegoats for all of society’s ills?

    I understand scapegoating is inherent to the political system, but it seems that rank-and-file progressives would rather burn witches than find answers? Where is Rene Girard when you need him? (Oh yeah, probably Stanford).

  2. Disinterested means having no personal stake in an issue and ,thereby, by inference, impartial. The Democrats are never disinterested in anything,but are always looking to batten off the taxpayer. End of my pedantic rant.

    That little rant by the Pima Sheriff Dupnik was disgraceful.

  3. For what it’s worth…..this from an article on

    A 22-year-old woman in Arizona, Caitie Parker, claimed on her Twitter feed that she went to high school and college with the gunman, and was in a band with him. She described his politics in the past as “left wing, quite liberal, & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.” She also described him as having a lot of friends “until he got alcohol poisoning in ’06” and dropped out of school. “Mainly loner very philosophical.”

    Parker described the gunman meeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords previously: “He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in ’07, asked her a question & he told me she was ‘stupid & unintelligent.'”

  4. First of all, Jared Loughner is a class one squirrel. Yes, he gives every appearance of being psychotic. I am not a mental health professional [thankfully] so I will use the weasel words. That being said, every bit of evidence revealed so far about his beliefs and delusions; based on his own statements, posted videos, actions, and the statements of those who know him, indicates that his beliefs are to the Left. Granted he seems more of an anarchist rather than a mainstream follower of the Democratic party; but he could easily pass for one on Democrat sites such as Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. In any case, if it is a choice between fighting Conservatives and fighting Democrats; anarchists will come down alongside Democrats every time.

    The attempts to tar the Patriot Movement with this amongst the general public will, I think, fail for the reasons cited. But there is another audience that may pose a problem.

    RMOccidental above said:

    But to me this sort of spin cannot and will not take hold, except among the left’s true believers.

    It is exactly the Left’s true believers that worry me. Mention as been made of the desperate scrubbing of past posts and comments on Democrat sites. Some of which have been seen, some of which have been saved. There are explicit and specific demands that named Conservative politicians be killed in specific ways. No ambiguity at all. Now I realize to our political class, demands that Conservative politicians be killed are nothing. At least nothing compared to the mortal sin of disagreeing with “Teh One”. The bounds of acceptable and commendable political speech are somewhat wider for the Left than they are for anyone else. At least that is how they see and state it.

    But there is a risk that this outbreak of calls to violence and murder on the part of the Left will be answered. After all, they at the very least have their own share of disturbed whackos, and one can argue that given that most of the assassinations and assasination attempts in this country in the last few decades have been committed by Leftists [details on request]; that they may have more than their share.

    So, what happens if there is an attack [successful or otherwise] on a Conservative politician or spokesperson? One byproduct of the failure of normal political means and the rule of law over the last 20 years or so has been for ALL sides to be politically on their last, sensitized nerve. We are truly on the brink of crossing the “=” sign in Clausewitzian equation. It will not be pretty if we do, and neither side is going to have things turn out according to their dreams.

    Subotai Bahadur

  5. One can always say that person Y is not representative of the mass of law-abiding hard-working /*insert group label*/ and is an extremist.

    Tim McVeigh was definitely a problem. He appeared to be quite sane, dedicated to a cause of avenging what he perceived to be Federal wrong doing. I know most of us don’t belong to militia groups in Upper Michigan, but Tim McVeigh represents an end-point of at least a strand of conservative thought. Cheap politics from Mr. Clinton it may have been, but as conservatives, we have had to bear the consequences of Mr. McVeigh being “one of us”, even if he had strayed from all norms of respect for law that as conservatives we hold dear.

    The alleged shooter in this instance, however, has every outward sign of some kind of major mental illness. It seems to me he is on the same level as that man who shot dead two police officers in the United States Capitol some while back. That incident could have been as bad as this one had not two police officers paid the ultimate price in standing their ground.

  6. “I shouted out, “Who killed the Kennedys?” When after all It was you and me.”

    “Sympathy For The Devil” by M. Jagger & K. Richards
    from “Beggar’s Banquet” by The Rolling Stones 11/01/1968

    “Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism” by James Piereson, Encounter Books (May 21, 2007), ISBN-13: 978-1594031885

    “The Day the Music Died: Camelot and the American Left.” National Review Online – June 19, 2007, 7:00 a.m.:

    MILLER: Lee Harvey Oswald was a Communist. Have liberals been reluctant to accept this fact? And is their reluctance at the heart of all the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination?

    PIERESON: Liberals who were rational and realistic accepted the fact that Oswald killed JFK but at the same time they were unable to ascribe a motive for his actions. They tended to look for sociological explanations for the event and found one in the idea that JFK was brought down by a “climate of hate” that had overtaken the nation. Thus they placed Kennedy’s assassination within a context of violence against civil rights activists. They had great difficulty accepting the fact that Kennedy’s death was linked to the Cold War, not to civil rights. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., in his 1,000-page history of the Kennedy administration, published in 1965, could not bring himself to mention Oswald’s name in connection with Kennedy’s death, though he spent several paragraphs describing the hate-filled atmosphere of Dallas at the time — suggesting thereby that Kennedy was a victim of the far right. The inability to come to grips with the facts of Kennedy’s death pointed to a deeper fault in American liberalism which was connected to its decline.

    MILLER: It’s like that line from “Sympathy for the Devil,” by the Rolling Stones: “I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’/When after all, it was you and me.”

    PIERESON: Yes, that song reflected a deep belief in liberal culture, that somehow “we” had killed the Kennedy’s — when in fact an anti-American Communist killed President Kennedy and a Palestinian nationalist killed Robert Kennedy, both in retaliation for American policies abroad. Oswald killed President Kennedy to interrupt his efforts to eliminate Castro; Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy because of Kennedy’s support for Israel. The irrationality of this belief was connected to the unraveling of liberalism, demonstrating that liberalism was not the rational doctrine that it claimed to be.

  7. The Culture of Conspiracy By James Piereson in The Wall Street Journal on November 24, 2007 at Page A11:

    The consensus opinion was that Kennedy was a victim of hate and bigotry, a casualty of his support for civil rights. The Cold War and Kennedy’s ongoing feud with Castro were rarely mentioned as factors behind the assassination. The reasons? Mrs. Kennedy wanted her husband remembered as a modern-day Abraham Lincoln. Lyndon Johnson feared complicating relations with the Soviet Union. Liberals feared a replay of the McCarthy period, when the Wisconsin senator inflamed public opinion about fears of domestic communism.

    Among the other reasons: Robert Kennedy did not wish to call attention to the administration’s clandestine efforts to overthrow or assassinate Castro. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, feared that his agency might be blamed for incompetence if the public believed that a communist subversive had found a way to assassinate the president.

    This obfuscation — which attributed the assassination to “causes” other than the real ones — had far-reaching effects. The claim that Kennedy was a victim of the civil rights struggle gave rise to speculation about conspiracies that exonerated Oswald while pointing the finger of blame in other directions. The Soviet Union, along with the world-wide left, encouraged speculation that far right groups or the CIA were the true assassins.

    The suggestion, no less than the fact, that the assassin was a communist was unwelcome in many circles. If Oswald had been a reactionary rather than a communist, there would not have been the kind of wild speculations about who or what was responsible for the president’s murder.

    Secretary of State Rice asked rhetorically a few years ago, “When will we stop blaming ourselves for 9/11?” A similar question might have been asked decades ago about the Kennedy assassination. In both cases the United States was attacked by avowed enemies, yet many were convinced that we had done it to ourselves.

  8. The point I am trying to make with the texts I posted above is that blaming the “climate of hate” created by “the right wing” is one of the older tricks in the liberal playbook. Tu quoque is not a very effective reply. Pointing out the antiquity, and irrationality of the trope is the correct refutation.

  9. Mr. Milenkovic: I reject your assertion the Timothy McVeigh had anything to do with anything that could be recognized as “a strand of conservative thought”. That is simply a canard.

  10. Kudos where Kudos are due. Jack Shafer of Slate bitch slaps Sheriff Dupnik:

    Embedded in Sheriff Dupnik’s ad hoc wisdom were several assumptions. First, that strident, anti-government political views can be easily categorized as vitriolic, bigoted, and prejudicial. Second, that those voicing strident political views are guilty of issuing Manchurian Candidate-style instructions to commit murder and mayhem to the “unbalanced.” Third, that the Tucson shooter was inspired to kill by political debate or by Sarah Palin’s “target” map or other inflammatory outbursts. Fourth, that we should calibrate our political speech in such a manner that we do not awaken the Manchurian candidates among us. And, fifth, that it’s a cop’s role to set the proper dimensions of our political debate.

    Hey, Dupnik, if you’ve got spare time on your hands, go write somebody a ticket.

    For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such “inflammatory” words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read—and even written!—vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I’ve even gotten angry, for goodness’ sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge.

    From what I can tell, I’m not an outlier. Only the tiniest handful of people—most of whom are already behind bars, in psychiatric institutions, or on psycho-meds—can be driven to kill by political whispers or shouts. Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer.

    * * *

    Any call to cool “inflammatory” speech is a call to police all speech, and I can’t think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power. …

    Our spirited political discourse, complete with name-calling, vilification—and, yes, violent imagery—is a good thing. Better that angry people unload their fury in public than let it fester and turn septic in private. The wicked direction the American debate often takes is not a sign of danger but of freedom. And I’ll punch out the lights of anybody who tries to take it away from me.

  11. Dumbnik, er, Dupnik, is right. Someone is going to be killed. Some one is responsbile I’m revolted by the attacks on the Johnson administration, the suggestions that LBJ ordered the murder on Kennedy, the anti-military and anti-American attacks on our war on Communism in southeast Asia, the vicious books and speeches glorifying the rape of white women (Cleaver, if you’ve forgotten), the “smash the state” and “bring the war home” rhetoric, the inflammatory language that incites riots…, er. wait, what year is it? Never mind.

  12. “Mr. McVeigh being “one of us”, even if he had strayed from all norms of respect for law that as conservatives we hold dear.”

    Maybe. But I’ll say so only after Al Gore take responsibility for the Unibomber and many, many Enviroterrorists.

  13. This new story may explain the sheriff.

    The sheriff may be making outrageous statements to cover up the fact that his office dropped the ball on this kid.

    They know him quite well from many telephoned threats to various people. The fact that his mother is a county employee may have be a motive to treat him with kid gloves. That blew up in their faces and it will eventually come out.

    Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County. Amy Loughner is a Natural Resource specialist for the Pima County Parks and Recreation.

    This is going to be a scandal and he may be madly spinning the story to cover himself.

  14. Look, I am not here to “troll” my meme of Timothy McVeigh as being on the extreme fringe of conservative thought.

    I am just wanting to apply William F Buckley’s standard from “Up with Liberalism”, where liberals tend to be coy about at least being sympathetic to their extreme fringe (No Enemies on the Left) and then turn around and accuse you of McCarthyism when one draws the connection between mainstream liberal thought and that fringe.

    I was also drawing perhaps a strawman argument. Mr. McVeigh appeared to be quite sane, and the alleged motive for his actions was avenging something many of us, conservatives and others were genuinely angry about — the way the Clinton administration “ended” the Waco affair and then washed their hands of it. The current shooter appears to be incoherent in his politics the way Mr. McVeigh never was.

    That we condemn Mr. McVeigh and “read him out of the Conservative movement” is to our credit. The Liberal establishment seems to be more elastic about putting its fringe elements inside and then outside its tent when the need arises. That Al Gore does not take responsibility for the Unibomber is a knock on Mr. Gore. Our the President doesn’t seem to see any problem being friends with Bill Ayers and his wife.

    The Powerline blog had this essay in its archives “Kathy’s Clowns” about Kathleen Soliah a.k.a Sarah Olson and all of the excuses made for her. The point made by the author of that essay is that we can picture not only Sarah Olson shopping at a Whole Foods, her suburban house-mom alter eager, we can picture Kathleen Soliah, would-be cop killer shopping at a Whole Foods and fitting right in with the people paying double for organic toilet paper or such thing.

  15. I know most of us don’t belong to militia groups in Upper Michigan, but Tim McVeigh also didn’t; they threw him out of their meetings when he started advocating violence.

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