Well, we know that Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck and their irresponsible, hateful rhetoric had nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do with the shooting in Tucson, because… well, they (and Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Michelle Malkin and the rest of the right-wing punditacracy clown parade) told us so. Right? Right??
But what of the people who were actually shot, but survived, or who were eyewitnesses to the tragedy? What do they think? Who do they blame for the sorry state of the toxic political climate that led a complete lunatic like Jared Loughner to seek to inflict his “Second Amendment remedies,” on them, as per the innocent, blameless Sharron Angle?
Well, can’t say it’s much of a shock to report that at least one of the shooting victims, Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old disabled veteran who had campaigned for Gabrielle Giffords in her reelection campaign last Fall, DOES blame Palin, Beck and Angle. Fuller, who was shot in the knee and wounded in the back, told Democracy Now that “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target. Their wish for second amendment activism has been fulfilled.” In remarks Fuller prepared in advance for the interview, he added “Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled—senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic-fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all, even nine-year-old girls.”
In my book, Mr. Fuller’s opinion holds more water than Palin’s, Beck’s, Angle’s, Limbaugh’s and the whole of the Fox News staff’s (especially Steeve Doocey, who is a blithering idiot) combined. He took a bullet, two, in fact, so he’s got a right to his opinion. He earned it with his own blood. Suck on that, Sarah Palin!
What’s pathetically ridiculous about the entire argument from the right that the specific words of these specific people had no effect on this matter because Loughner is so very obviously batshit crazy is that this ISN’T the first incident like this in recent memory. It’s (at least) the second (if not the third: the name Richard Poplawski ring a bell?).
Why are so few people in the media talking about what happened when Glenn Beck decided to make the tiny Tides Foundation into a fearsome component of his “the progressive movement wants to destroy America with their evil Socialism” conspiracy theories last year? It HAS happened already that a mentally unbalanced person has decided to fight the vast-leftwing conspiracy that Beck and others subscribe to and propagate, with violence. Just seven months ago, a bank-robber out on parole, Byron Williams, en route to murder the staff at the Tides Foundation, opened fire on Oakland police with a 9mm handgun, a shotgun and a .308-caliber rifle with armor-piercing bullets. Williams told told authorities that he wanted to foment a revolution by “killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.” His mother told the San Francisco Chronicle that her son had been watching Fox News and was angered by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” Williams thought that the Tides Foundation was part of a conspiracy in which the BP oil spill was a deliberate act of sabotage masterminded by George Soros and progressives.
(Self-described “progressive hunter,” Williams told a reporter that Beck “blew [his] mind.” Who I am to disagree?)
Where will all of this end? Who knows, but what happens when the people who make a living riling up dumb-ass, poorly-educated white people to hate and fear people who are different than they are or who think differently than they do, face a blowback themselves? Sooner or later, a left-wing crazy probably is gonna come after one of them. It wouldn’t stretch the imagination of anyone to figure that somewhere out there in this vast nation of 300 million people, there is a foaming at the mouth far-left nutcase (or a “radical centrist” for that matter) who feels that what’s really destroying America is assholes like Beck, Palin and Sharron Angle and who thinks killing them is the answer to our nation’s problems.
I have a sickening, sinking feeling that this isn’t the end of this, for lack of a better term, “partisan violence,” but just the warm-up acts. There is something eerily Weimar Republic-esque about the sad state of present day America and it’s extremely disturbing to attempt to draw this type of behavior to its logical conclusions. Before anyone writes in to say that it’s only the right-wing who is using the violent talk, the “reload” nonsense and the brain-damaged conspiracy theories, I get that. I know that. What I’m trying to point out here is that I think the genie is all the way out of the bottle for this type of violence, for them, too.
Even if the right has always been the spiritual home to the racist and cryptofascist fringe, from the KKK to the John Birch Society to today’s Teabaggers, there are crazy people all across the political spectrum. The next time—and there is going to be a next time—it might be a former member of the American middle class who has lost his home or pension who comes gunning after a Republican. The next shooter might come from the ranks of the 99ers. The next cold blooded killer could be a radical environmentalist. The next political assassin might be someone whose child died because their insurance company didn’t pay for a new medical treatment or ...?
This toxic political climate in America today is a direct or indirect consequence of a small number of politicians and pundits on the far right calling those who they disagree with “evil.” Does anyone with half a brain, really dispute that? Then something awful happens, like what happened in Tucson. And then there is more blame. Then the momentum of the bad craziness builds in some lone-wolf lefty lunatic and this energy reemerges with someone on the right getting hurt. And then it will start again. Back and forth, back and forth.
When, not if, the next politician, government official or TV news pundit who is killed turns out to be someone on the conservative side, Palin, Beck, Angle, Limbaugh, Michael Savage and the idiots at Fox News will have no one to blame but themselves.
UPDATE: Mr. Fuller was arrested today for disorderly conduct after allegedly making a threat to Tucson Tea party spokesman Trent Humphries during a “town hall” TV show taping for ABC. According to sheriff’s deputies at the scene in Tucson, Fuller took a photo of Humphries and then said, “You’re dead.”
I didn’t think events would prove my point this quickly—and regret that they have—but there it is.
2011 is going to be a doozy.