Senator Congresswoman Giffords

Jan 08 2011 Published by under [Politics]

Honestly, is there anymore damning assessment of our current political situation than having a senator congresswoman, her 9 year old daughter girl and several staff members gunned down at a political event? Arizona has become a hot bed of political divisiveness, but this is sickening on so many levels. The senselessness of the whole situation makes me embarrassed for our country as we continue to live up the expectations of so many foreign countries that recognize our disinterest in gun control and education as what will eventually be our undoing. Make no mistake, this country will not continue to enjoy its current status if we continue down the path we seem destine to follow. Unfortunately, we seem the least willing to hear the message that is so obvious to others.

40 responses so far

  • juniorprof says:

    She's a congresswoman in the house of representatives, not a senator. The 9 year old girl was not her daughter (at least it has not been reported that she was). Her children are from her husband's previous marriage and I believe that they are older than that age.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Not sure that either of those corrections change the fact that we have a seriously fucked up situation in this country. An elected official, 9 year old child and several other people committed to their community are dead because of some sick fuck. Define it how you want, it sucks.

  • Cathy says:

    Not to minimize the tragedy in any way, but you have your facts wrong. Giffords is in the House, not the Senate, and the 9-year old was not her daughter.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Mistakes corrected. Information is piecemeal right now, but I didn't have my facts straight. Still ridiculous and doesn't change my message.

  • This shit makes me sad to be an American.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    As long as we're doing corrections, it looks like the shooter is seriously, clinically delusional. Not in the usual sense where "insanity" means "doesn't think like me." It's dangerous to extrapolate trends from what we may as well call madmen.

    On the other hand, there may have been an older man with him who got away. It's possible that someone with an agenda used a very vulnerable young man as a weapon.

    Facts before theory, Watson.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Whether the shooter was delusional or not matters little. Why don't we see this type of thing happening in other countries? Could it have anything to do with the ease with which nearly anyone with a pulse can obtain a handgun? Might it also have to do with the throbbing undertone of violence and hatred that underscores so much in the US popular society and increasingly in politics?

    Don't pick at the trees when it is the forest that is infected, Holmes.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    No argument about the gun control aspect -- Arizona recently enacted an "anyone may carry concealed, no permit required" statute. We can also indict the dismal lack of mental health services that let this guy slip even though there were apparently quite a few warning signs that he was headed into classical paranoid schizophrenia.

    However, the political situation doesn't seem to be a primary cause.

    Also, please note that other countries do have out-of-nowhere mass shootings. Germany, for instance. So we're in "difference of degree" territory, and the USA's population needs to be considered as well.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    However, the political situation doesn’t seem to be a primary cause.

    I'm sure politics has nothing to do with it and it was just coincidence that she happened to be in congress and happened to be a Democrat. Doesn't sound like the guy was concerned about politics at all.....

    From CNN's page on the shooting:

    – "Good-bye friends," read a Saturday morning posting on Loughner's MySpace page, just hours before the shooting. "Dear friends ... Please don't be mad at me. The literacy rate is below 5%. I haven't talked to one person who is literate."

    – A December 30 posting read, "Dear Reader ... I'm searching. Today! With every concern, my shot is now ready for aim. The hunt, a mighty thought of mine."

    – Online, Loughner complained about the "second Constitution," a term legal scholars sometimes use to describe the post-Civil War amendments that ended slavery, extended the right to vote and required equal protection under the law. Its meaning to Loughner could not be clearly discerned.

    – In an apparent reference to Giffords' congressional district, he wrote in a December 15 video message on YouTube: "The majority of people, who reside in District-8 are illiterate - hilarious."

    – In the same message he wrote: "If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon. I define terrorist."

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Funny, DC, but all I've seen so far for evidence of his "serious" and "delusional" thinking reads like standard issue Tea Bag Party and even GOP rhetoric on constitutional fundamentalism, gov't overreach, etc.

    Amazing how now that some dude who spouts that stuff actually, you know, kills some people, all of a sudden that garden issue right wing political rhetoric is suddenly "seriously delusional" thinking, isn't it?

    and what is all this about a second suspect? Do seriously insane people usually get up a conspiracy with others? I mean, the kind of insane you are talking about, that is, not the kind of insane that represents standard Tea Bag philosophy. Or is that a second, independent "seriously delusional" person? Cause I could see that...

  • D. C. Sessions says:


    At least one clinical psychologist has opined that his writings and described behavior (plus his age) are textbook examples of the breakthrough schizophrenia. Which doesn't mean that he couldn't have been used as a meat weapon by someone with an agenda, but nothing of his really indicates an agenda of his own outside of his twisted views of language, mind control, etc.

    I'm not pushing any conclusions here, mostly because the factual situation isn't clear. The last thing we need if you're right is even more polarization.

  • chall says:

    Does it matter that much if he was dis-illusional, experiencing an attack or "just" a hateful person who wanted to kill people? I mean, the whole thing with politicians talking about "shooting them down" and "keep 'em in target" has been increased a lot the last couple of years. It seems like it is OK to talk like "they are targeting me and my opinoins so I am targeting them with my hate - 'they're not worth it'".....

    Sorry, but I got sick seeing that map^ before Xmas - and Gifford did speak out against it and said it seemed like people were moving the language into extremes.

    ^map from Sarah Palin with haircrosses over the specific 'targets' (districts) who voted (wrongly according to R) with the health care reform

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Eggzactly DC. Teabagger and GOP rhetoric sounds like paranoid schiz at times, doesn't it? So why is it only "crazy" when someone finally kills some Democrats after all the ranting encouragement from Palin, LoofaBoy, Hannity, Limbaugh, et moronia?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    The last thing we need if you’re right is even more polarization.

    Bullshit, dude. It's time to say enough is enough. Fuck the right wing and their agenda to polarize things to the point of violence. Fuck the Palins and Becks who leave just enough out of their hate-filled message to say it wasn't them. Fuck the people who continue to say that education and health care are not something that citizens deserve, regardless of their income.

    The polarization is so far skewed in one direction that even "centrists" are the conservatives of 40 years ago. The vocal minority have pushed this country to the brink of something truly awful that we are perilously close to embracing. When the US leads the world in hatred, fear and murder rate (per capita, in case, you're concerned about the population), and nothing else, we'll finally be able to pat the far right on the back for a job well done... if only we could get in their gated communities.

    Whether there was a mysterious middle aged man or not, the kid was still a pawn - in person, from the TV or internet. There is SO MUCH call to violence in the everyday message of the right wing, that you would either have to be jaded or oblivious not to see that this type of thing was going to happen. The map that Chall refers to (complete with rifle sites to indicate the "target" districts), the rhetoric, the tactics - this IS the end game for that type of thing.

    As long as these things are business as usual, this will continue and people are going to die in front of us because of their beliefs or how they vote on a key issue.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    PLS & BM -- I strongly encourage you to consider whether your rhetoric is part of the problem.

    I think enough is known about the alleged shooter in this instance to rule out membership in the Tea Party or allegiance to Sarah Palin.

    Putting aside your own rhetoric, I suspect that you are aware that inappropriately combative remarks are hardly an exclusive property of the political right.

    If we as academics and adults are not able to disagree about political issues like health care without resorting to juvenile name-calling (at best), then truly it is an occasion be sad to be an American.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    NC, are you really going to make the case that the political left is even in the same league as the right when it comes to combative speech and a subtle call to violence? Really? Because maybe we're living in a different country.

    I am all for disagreeing on these topics and having a discussion about them. What I am not for is the common tactics of the right and the general water poisoning that is going on. My point is simply that it doesn't matter one iota if this kid was political, gave a shit about politics or had any personal agenda. What matters is that he got it in his head that it was a good idea to shoot a political figure and everyone around her at the time.

    Where would that idea come from? Hmmmmm, after a hard fought election and all this shit about "target" districts. Gee I fucking wonder where those ideas, sane or not, originated. I'm sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with the day to day politics of right wing nut jobs. It probably just a coincidence that a series of events that all pushed violence towards the congresswoman ended with her being shot by a guy who might be crazy. Total fucking co-ink-e-dink.

    You don't need to be a psychologist to add 2 + 2.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Unfortunately, I think we do essentially live in different countries, due to the self-selecting nature of information-gathering on the web.

    From your comment, it seems that you did not click on the multiple links that I provided, which is unfortunate.

    I think the single most beneficial thing we can do to improve the nation's discourse is to change our information-gathering habits, and seek out sources of honest disagreement.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    No, I did click on them. What's the point? That the media is good at spinning things? That there is enough room left between speech and action for those promoting hate to wash their hands of anything unseemly? We already knew that.

    To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

    Really? A vicious lie? Oooh, maybe I'm a traitor too. I know they love to throw that term around. Yes, I'm taking advantage of a horrible event and exploiting lies to push my own demonic lefty agenda that is full of lies and comminess.

    I didn't comment earlier because the shit is so boringly predictable, I could only read about 1/3 of the cookie-cutter page vomit.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    So why is it only “crazy” when someone finally kills some Democrats after all the ranting encouragement from Palin, LoofaBoy, Hannity, Limbaugh, et moronia?

    "Only?" No. But also not "always."

    Sometimes nucking futs is just nucking futs. Sometimes, instead of a conspiracy to do something political the shooter is just trying to impress Jody Foster.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    PLS -- Did you feel the same way about those who called our last President "Bushitler" and wrote about his assassination?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    And sometimes we're just looking for any excuse to disassociate two things that we don't want linked...

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Yes. Though I would have to search much harder to find those references than turning on my TV. I don't think there is any place to call out for violence against elected officials in this country, no matter how much I disagree with their policies.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I am glad to hear that, although I should note that you still have not offered any evidence in favor of your primary hypothesis.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Would it help you understand the concept if I drew it on a big white board?

  • Katharine says:

    In all honesty, it sounds as if people were gunned down by some idiot that had a mental problem (schizophrenia, perhaps, or bipolar disorder - certainly the idiot is paranoid) and apparently also a drug problem (mental illness can have a significant impact on whether someone goes batshit, and drug problems, including problems with tobacco and alcohol, are strongly correlated to violent behavior).

    I do think that the idiot inclined considerably more toward the right, from what his Youtube page and other information suggest (yeah, he may have had the Communist Manifesto as a favorite book, but the vast majority of his political statements trend to small-government/socially authoritarian ideas. Communism in general is socially authoritarian anyway, even if it is economically leftist!), and people who knew him said he had problems with both parties in general. He sounds like a teabagger type, but more of the radical right-wing-libertarian sort.

    The Wall Street Journal indicates that he may have maintained a grudge against Giffords after a meeting in which he asked her an incoherent question and she gave him an answer which he didn't like.

    I emphatically agree that there are violent idiots on the Left, though they're in a smaller and less public minority than those on the right; the violent idiots on the left seem to mostly be radical commie-types and animal rights terrorists who like to try to blow up laboratories. Unlike conservatives, most liberals as far as I know will quite emphatically say they have no ties with these sorts of people, and indeed I'm kind of ashamed to be lumped in a group with pinkos and ALF morons.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Let's be clear: I'm on record (for a long time) about the toxic rhetoric we're seeing (search "holy warrior thinking" with my name.) The idea that the only way you can disagree with me is if you are ignorant, incompetent, or evil directly contradicts the most fundamental premise of a civil society: that intelligent, informed people of good will may yet differ.

    I absolutely agree that if this goes on we're going to see the United States tear itself apart in blood and flames.

    And yet ...

    The facts aren't in, and sometimes a shooter is just trying to impress Jodie Foster.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    HAHAHA, N-C, what do you think you are dealing with lily-livered national scene Democrats? Dude, you are full of utter bullshit if you think the occasionally cherry picked, perhaps-maybe-squint-sideways-and-see-it, bit of rhetoric from a lefty or Democratic pundit has even a pale shadow of a glimpse of a whiff of an effect similar to the entire full-time, all-the-time talking point messages of the violent right wing. Right wingers from top to bottom engage in demonization politics where the views of their opponents are not valid positions but signs of all that is evil and apocalyptic end of all days. Fox "News", hannity et moronia, etc feed right into quasi politicians like Palin and real politicians on the national stage. And the people like you eat that shit up right until the curtain slips. Like it just did in Arizona. And then you start backing up and tapdancing as fast as you can with "No True Scotsman" gambits. Which is what this "He (and the national mall shooter, and the austin IRS plane crasher, and McVeigh, and....) is just a crazed loner who couldn't possibly have been influenced by our rhetoric" nonsense is at heart. The No True Scotsman gambit. "no, no, that is not *really* what we are saying.." is your cry. What a craven bit of back pedaling.

    It may work on spineless national lefty pundits but it doesn't work here, homes. We see right through your bs.

    Now, does *my* rhetoric contribute to a nasty national politics? What a freaking joke. You and your ilk engage in a thirty year war of escalating demonization and "othering" of your political opponents and when you hear the *slightest, most tepid* version of it returned to you, you get the vapors? HAHAHAHA! Grow a pair dude.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Dare I suggest:

    I don’t think there is any place to call out for violence against elected officialsanyone in this country, no matter how much I disagree with their policiesthem

    And no, there really isn't anything like equivalence. Sometimes a difference of degree really does amount to a difference of kind.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    I do think that the idiot inclined considerably more toward the right, from what his Youtube page and other information suggest

    Or maybe his grievance against Rep. Giffords stems from an encounter years ago where she didn't give him the answer he wanted to an incoherent question.

    Go far enough around the bend and you get to the point where "left" and "right" don't correspond to anything identifiable.

  • Dr. O says:

    Who cares if he was mentally unstable? I don’t worry about mentally stable people taking what some idiot on the radio/TV out of context. I worry about those that are off-balance, and the flames are fanned every time politicians, FOX news “reporters”, and radio talk show hosts (who, by the way, are the worst offenders) get riled up on their soap boxes. Likely this Jared guy was mentally ill, but he targeted a politician, indicating to me that politics did play a role. It’s not a stretch to me that the people who make a living off of inflammatory statements didn’t also play a role. (copied comment from Genomic Repairman's post -

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Right wingers from top to bottom engage in demonization politics where the views of their opponents are not valid positions but signs of all that is evil and apocalyptic end of all days. Fox “News”, hannity et moronia, etc feed right into quasi politicians like Palin and real politicians on the national stage. And the people like you eat that shit up right until the curtain slips.

    projection (prə-jĕk'shən) n. The attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or desires to someone or something as a naive or unconscious defense against anxiety or guilt.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Pathetic n. This.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    32 comments and not a single shred of evidence offered in favor of the hypothesis. Because there is none.

    Dude was registered independent, didn't vote, and was angry with the Congresswoman because she didn't answer his question about mind control in 2007.

    Using this as an opportunity to further stoke political divisions in this country is perverse.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I had no idea that you're a mind reader too. Where is the evidence for your hypothesis other than just another theory thrown out there to make this be about some crazy guy in a vacuum? The suspect isn't talking, so clearly you are able to tap into his thoughts. Very impressive.

    But why would this happen?

    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's political aide removed a controversial Web post this weekend that featured cross hairs over the congressional districts of 20 Democratic candidates, including Giffords. A Palin aide denied the Web posting from the 2010 congressional campaign was designed to incite violence.

    Turns out that I'm a mind reader too, because I can read your exact arguments on any right wing news site in the country and the lack of originality is exceedingly boring.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    The facts that I stated have been widely reported. A friend of Loughner has clearly discussed his history with the Congresswoman stemming from the 2007 incident. Loughner's obsession with mind control is spelled out in all of his online artifacts.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Not to worry, dude. This will all blow over soon and we can go back to totin' our guns, "targeting" them pinkos who vote for things like education and health care and blamin' everything on brown people! It'll be just like old times! Why fix what ain't broke?

  • Neuro-conservative says:


  • BikeMonkey says:

    Yes, N-c, you conservative types project a whole bunch. Mostly along the lines of assuming everyone is as mean spirited, selfish and generally evil as GOP political platforms and positions. Glad you recognize this in yourself.

  • DoubleHelix says:

    I used to be conservative and given what I do for a living,
    could have called myself 'neuro-conservative'. I'm not conservative
    anymore primarily because Republicans, who consider themselves to
    be conservative, are so consistently and thoroughly anti-science.
    They seem to relish being anti-intellectual. This stance is not
    only moronic, it is dangerous because public policy should be based
    on empiricism, not dogma. Secondly, no other political ideology in
    this country is so bent on imposing theocratic-like rules upon the
    US population. I could go on and on.... A political movement that
    has Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck as its intellectual
    leaders is not one I wish to be part of.

  • DoubleHelix says:

    Here's David Frum, former Bush White House speech writer, on right wing rhetoric:
    What does do damage to the fabric of democracy is the charge made by prominent conservative broadcasters that the president is deliberately wrecking the U.S. economy to advance his scheme to overthrow the constitution and transform the nation into a Marxist or Leninist or even Maoist tyranny.
    Does neuro-conservative disavow claims such as this made by the most prominent conservatives in the United States?

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