An old article that seems particularly relevant at the moment:

David Freddoso: Suddenly, dissent is violence, not patriotism
@ The Washington Examiner, March 2010

Our political lexicon consists almost entirely of references to war.

We talk about “battleground states” and “attacks,” “trenches,” “blitzes,” “war rooms,” “showdowns,” “target-rich environments” and “firestorms.” Even the word “campaign” is a term of warfare.

We watch political television shows with names like “Crossfire,” “Frontline,” “Hardfire,” and “The Firing Line.” “The Situation Room” mildly implies warfare, whereas more direct references come in politics with candidates who “blast” one another, commit “political suicide,” and engage in the sort of “murder-suicide attacks” that make Kerry’s 2004 nomination possible.

Every stump speech threatens violence in some subtle way, as when President Obama promised to “fight” 19 times in one speech, and as his remark from the 2008 campaign should suggest: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

That’s not a big deal for me. Nor was Obama’s incitement to followers to confront their McCain-supporting neighbors — “I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”

But congressional Democrats, as they cast standard political rhetoric as if it were violent in order to raise money, are not just practicing hypocrisy. They are also counting on you not to understand the difference between the rightful anger that accompanies political dissent, and the nut jobs who actually threaten their congressmen or commit violence against public officials.

Their attempt to conflate the two, and to connect the two, is really an attack on the idea of political dissent and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Kerry believes dissent is patriotic, but only when he’s the one dissenting.

Don’t let any liberal get away with claiming that conservatives are responsible for “creating an environment in which shooting a Congressman is considered okay.” If you’ll excuse my French, that is complete bullshit. As the article above notes, war-related language has been used by both political parties for as long as I can remember. As far as I can tell, such language is an inevitable feature of small-d democratic politics.

All the available evidence seems to suggest at this point that Giffords’ shooter was a deranged individual who had no coherent political philosophy. The left’s attempts to use this tragedy to smear the Tea Party movement and conservatives are absolutely disgusting and need to be fought with all the energy and rage we can muster. The left has been pulling this crap for years; they can’t be allowed to get away with it this time.

ETA: Some comments from Hillbuzz need to be shared.

  • An extremely Christian statement from Kevin himself: “Pray, too, for the family of Jared Lee Loughner, especially his parents, because their lives were destroyed yesterday too, through no fault of their own. They will have to live with the grief, guilt, and shame of being related to this murderer for the rest of their time on this Earth, which is worse than any punishment the justice system will give to the shooter himself.

    Some of you have sent rather nasty emails to us at HB because we’ve asked you to pray for the family of the shooter, and if you can’t see that these people are suffering and are victims today too, then we honestly don’t want you as a reader. The person who deserves your scorn and contempt is the person who pulled the trigger yesterday, not the woman who birthed him or the father who raised him. Not the teachers, friends, and relatives who knew him but didn’t know how to help him, or keep him from becoming the monster he became.

    Praying is not easy. Especially not in a traumatic time like this. But, your prayers, mercy, wisdom, and compassion are needed today by a whole host of people you will never in your lives probably meet…so I hope you can find it in your heart to rise to the challenge and extend that love to ALL those in need.

    This is hard to accept, and even harder to do, but that also includes the shooter…who is a clearly very troubled and mentally ill man. Pray for his soul too, and ask God to judge him as He will, but without malice of heart from you. Jared Lee Loughner is an evil man who committed a horrible act and will rightfully be punished in this life and the next…but I hope you all pray he accepts the error he made and seeks forgiveness from God and finds some redemption and clarity in the end.”

  • A key observation about the media coverage of the shooting from “Bev” in the comments: “Immediately yesterday when this happened I knew this would happen. In fact…I was disgusted with all the news. It was absolutely, positively irresponsible of all the news outlets to report what they did, how they did it, and in the manner it was done.

    Imagine this woman’s family. They were told almost instantly she was dead. Almost ALL of the news reports from the beginning were FALSE. I was disgusted with every single news source and I turned off the news.

    Being FIRST is the ultimately goal of all news sources. It does not matter how accurate their information is. They just want you to watch/read. It is something that truly grates my nerves.”

  • And lastly, a mental health professional shoots down the idea that the “political climate” can be blamed: “Having worked in crisis mental health for years, I can tell you that delusionary belief systems can certainly be disorganized and irrational enough that they don’t have anything to do with what we normally think of as right versus left or Dem versus Repub. It’s about “them” out to get us. “Them” could mean the government, aliens, Satan, cancer, mind-controlling radio waves… The guy was obviously very, very unhinged.

    It would be absolutely, literally impossible for our public figures to own responsibility for the chance that something they say might trigger a psychotic person, because it could be ANYTHING. It’s not like the person is just doing fine until someone sets them off. They are set off by their neurochemicals and they seek out things in the world to fit into their delusional system. This guy interpreted “In God We Trust” as the government trying to force God on him. The problem is not with the words; the problem is the brain chemistry that takes things and twists them to fit the delusions.

    An example… I had a very pleasant client who was relatively able to function in the world unless you asked about her family. She firmly believed she was married to Michael Jackson, and they were estranged because “they” were keeping him from her, and he was speaking to her through the lyrics of his songs. He was telling her not to worry, he wasn’t really having an affair with Billie Jean. She was just a girl who said he was the one, but the kid was not his son. He still loved her. So should Michael Jackson have censored his music because a psychotic woman in Florida was using his words to further her delusions? If she’d hurt herself or gone and shot someone named Billie Jean, would Michael Jackson be responsible? Of course not.”

More edits may be added throughout the day if I feel inspired.

ETA, Part 2: A link to Byron York’s fantastic article on the media response to the Arizona shootings can be found under the cut.

Journalists urged caution after Ft. Hood, now race to blame Palin after Arizona shootings

by Byron York @ The Washington Examiner

On November 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at a troop readiness center in Ft. Hood, Texas, killing 13 people. Within hours of the killings, the world knew that Hasan reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before he began shooting, visited websites associated with Islamist violence, wrote Internet postings justifying Muslim suicide bombings, considered U.S. forces his enemy, opposed American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars on Islam, and told a neighbor shortly before the shootings that he was going “to do good work for God.” There was ample evidence, in other words, that the Ft. Hood attack was an act of Islamist violence.

Nevertheless, public officials, journalists, and commentators were quick to caution that the public should not “jump to conclusions” about Hasan’s motive. CNN, in particular, became a forum for repeated warnings that the subject should be discussed with particular care.

Yellin continued: “And I should point out that Republican leaders in Washington have said that this is not a partisan issue, this is about violence, as have some tea party groups. But clearly this is a moment to talk about our political rhetoric.”

“It certainly is,” Blitzer agreed. “But the question is, is there any evidence that the suspected shooter in this particular case was a Sarah Palin fan, read Sarah Palin’s website, was a member on Facebook, watched her tweets, or anything like that?”

“None at all,” Yellin responded. “And there is no evidence that this was even inspired by rage over health care, broadly. So there is no overt connection between Sarah Palin, health care, and the [shootings].”

Indeed, there is no “overt” or any other sort of connection between Loughner and Palin. If such evidence came to light, it would certainly be news. But without that evidence, and after a brief caveat, the CNN group went back to discussing the theory that Loughner acted out of rage inspired by Palin and other Republicans. Conclusions were jumped to all around.

The double standards the media have employed here are outrageous.

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