Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Triggering The Shooters

This billboard is located only a few blocks from where Christina Taylor Green, Representative Gabrielle Giffords and many others were gunned down.

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

Limbaugh, and Palin, and Beck -- Oh, My!

Rivers of Blood, indeed.  That's where the politics of Blood Libel takes us.

There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.

Thus sayeth Glenn Reynolds, University of Tennessee Law Professor and Pajamas Media  Pundit.

Well, sayeth I, what better way to victimize Sarah Palin and her ilk than to cast a bright light on them!  Not to mention their innocuous use of political clichés.

In the video above, Palin makes an uneven appeal for national solidarity, while deftly shifting the responsibility for the Arizona massacre from rabid right wing rhetoric to the lone "deranged gunman" a "single evil man." She chastizes us that we must not attempt to "apportion blame" for this terrible event.

Here are a few excerpts.   What strikes me is the same thing that struck me during the Bush administration: so much talk about personal - here, "individual" - responsibility and accountability, but somehow always for other people. Never for the actions or words of Regressives in positions of high responsibility.  I've highlighted some of the more remarkable passages.

After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?

And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

We need strength to not let the random acts of a criminal turn us against ourselves, or weaken our solid foundation, or provide a pretext to stifle debate.

Shorter Sarah: Not my fault, so shut up.  And don't try to stifle MY SIDE of the debate.

One of those who claims right wing rhetoric and imagery bears a direct responsibility is I.  Another is Thom Hartman; and a H/T to him for his show today, where I learned the term STOCHASTIC TERRORISM, which is exactly what we are getting from the right wing these days.  It is no different in principle from the inflammatory words and videos issued by Osmam bin Ladin or Anwar al-Aulaqi.

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

This is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.

This is also the term for what Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and others do.  And this is what led directly and predictably to a number of cases of ideologically-motivated murder similar to the Tucson shootings.

In the interest of fairness and balance, I invite anyone to point out to me examples of Stochastic Terrorism originating on the American left.


nanute said...

The right wing extremists can't site any examples of Stochastic Terrorism from the left. They'll try some false equivalence, but the behavior only travels in one direction on the political spectrum.

"Our Lady of Perpetual Butthurt" and her companions will never admit that they bear any responsibility, directly or otherwise, for the tragedy in Arizona and the rising escalation of violence permeating the political process.

Jazzbumpa said...

Yeah. Denial is a wonderful thing.