Vitriol is a Veiled Attack on Free Speech

Alleged Tucson Gunman, Jared Lee LoughnerGreg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com   
 
The massacre that happened this past weekend in Tucson, Arizona, is a horrific tragedy.  Twenty people were shot (including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords), and six died at the hand of a lone gunman with a questionable mental history.  Yet, the country is now engaged in a discussion about what is and is not acceptable speech in America.    The local Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, started the controversy at a press conference the day of the shootings by saying, “Let me say one thing, because people tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that,” the sheriff said during a press conference. “That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.”  There is absolutely no evidence that links this gruesome atrocity to any comments made by people on the left or right of the political spectrum—Zero.  The Sheriff took it upon himself to make a political statement that has no real evidence to back it up. 

There is, on the other hand, evidence that the alleged assassin, Jared Lee Loughner, is mentally ill.  Even Sheriff Dupnick said Loughner had “mental issues.”  ABC News uncovered more evidence of mental illness yesterday from a local college he attended when it reported, When he was suspended from Pima Community College, the school sent a letter to Loughner’s parents stating that if Loughner wished to return to the school, he would have to “obtain a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others,” the school said in a statement.”  (Click here to read the complete story from ABC.)  Still, the national media brought up stories from earlier this year that mentioned Sarah Palin and language from her website saying Giffords’ seat in Congress was a “target” in the election.  The mainstream media (MSM) even dug up a quote from Giffords from the 2010 election where she said, Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”  This was brought up by the MSM despite the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever Loughner was influenced by Palin.  Loughner was influenced by the writings of Adolf Hitler because “Mein Kampf” was listed as one of his favorite books on his personal website.  There, you can also find some of his writings that one law enforcement expert described as “gibberish.”

During the Presidential race in June of 2008, Barack Obama said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in Philadelphia last night. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl.”   (Read the complete story from Politico.com.)  Does anyone in their right mind think the President or Sarah Palin are advocating gun crime or violence?  The key part of this sentence is “right mind.”  Of course not, and I see nothing wrong with saying any of that, but then again, I’m not mentally ill.  The message in discussions on this yesterday by some of the pundits was “tone down the language.”   Why?  So mentally ill people don’t hear us talking and expressing our free speech rights?

A mentally ill person without proper healthcare is really what the story is all about.  The Huffington Post summed it up beautifully in a story yesterday when it said, Mental illness may not be an excuse for crimes but it certainly can be what caused and motivated someone to commit a crime if the person goes untreated. Begging one to consider who is ultimately responsible for these heinous acts and to discuss if there is any culpability by those that ignore the dire need and calamitous consequences of leaving the current mental health laws we have unchanged.  There is a critical breakdown of mental health care in America because it is not considered a disease that is popular to address and there is a definite stigma attached to admitting mental illness.”  here to (Click  read the entire Huffington Post story.)

This grim crime is being used by the losers (Democrats) in the last election to score political points.  Both Democrats and Republicans have a habit of putting their beloved parties above the needs and wishes of the people.  Let’s hope the real issue of this story (mental illness) gets the needed attention it deserves and freedom of speech and the First Amendment do not become two more casualties of this heinous crime.

Comments
  1. Hands Up

    It would be nice if the real issue underlying this tragedy is eventually addressed, but if is, it won’t be anywhere in the mainstream media. From the moment the shots were fired, the Dems and anti-2nd Amendment hand-wringers were doing nothing but pointing the finger at people who had nothing to do with the crime nor the criminal. Disgusting, yes, but normal behavior for their ilk.

    The state of mental healthcare in this country is, literally insane. I suffer from PTSD due to an abusive (on many levels) childhood and have struggled, not least with my illness, but with my health insurance carrier, finding a therapist who can actually help me (I am very fortunate to have found a non-arrogant therapist who specializes in trauma therapy and a psychiatrist who doesn’t consider his work done by turning me into a zombie) my employer, and just with whom to trust. There is a definite stigma to frank and open discussion of mental illness in our society which causes so many to suffer in silence and not seek out help. For those of us who take it onto ourselves to find a way out of our private hells, the system is an insult – countless arrogant “therapists” who care more about their pet theories, views, and pocketbooks than their patients, psychiatrists who see drugging their patients up to the eyeballs as the only solution without listening at all to what we are actually saying or needing, inadequate health insurance coverage for treatment even when the therapist and psychiatrist issues are straightened out. And even if everything else comes together – employers more than ready to punish and terminate those with health issues (more so during this recession) are even worse when it comes to mental health issues. It was only in the last year that I was able to acquire ADA protection for my illness if only to get my boss off my back for my behavior on those days when I am fighting my symptoms the hardest, missed days when I just cannot bring myself to face the world due to extreme anxiety, flashbacks, etc; and for being honest about what is happening to me.

    There are many cases I can cite both in the media and from horror stories I’ve heard from other sufferers of the mental health “system” failing. My oldest sister suffers from schizophrenia and has since I was very small, and I saw from an early age what a struggle (at best) and a nightmare (at worst) it is to get adequate help. State (especially) and public mental hospitals are staffed by exhausted, unsympathetic, and often under- or unqualified staff who can barely care for themselves, much less the patients; private providers care more about profit than adequately caring for and maintaining the patients who are bringing in the money.

    The Bush Administration wanted to drug sufferers and children into submission, the Obama Administration wants to turn the dangerously psychotic out onto the streets. Well – the events in Arizona were the product of a common problem: those who need help the most slipping or being pushed through the cracks.

  2. concerned citizen

    “Does anyone in their right mind think the President or Sarah Palin are advocating gun crime or violence? The key part of this sentence is “right mind.” Of course not, and I see nothing wrong with saying any of that, but then again, I’m not mentally ill.”

    Greg, I am sorry to break some very real news to you. Who would ever have thought that the Nazi Concentration Camps were happening? Wouldn’t whislte blowers have been thought to be certifiable lock-up cases? And yet the Camps did happen—and it was the collective denial (such a thing couldn’t happen, you must be crazy to even suggest it) which enabled it to happen!

    Do you remember Tianenmen Square? Did any readers here know that such things were the norm in dictatorships such as the former Iron Curtain and Red China, and not the exception? I myself lived next door to the Iron Curtain and know first-hand what happens to people there who exercise their free speech. I am not talking about violent speech either. I am talking about exposing the dictatorship for what it was.

    LEt’s have a hard, cold look at the real-life facts in POST-911 America. I am not talking about the Land of the Free, I am talking, to repeat, about post-911 America. That is very different than the country and body of laws that we are all coached to believe in.

    Greg, if Obama was not power-crazed as a moron why would he claim the right to self-appoint anybody of his *unilateral* (key word) choosing to be an “Enemy combattant” without judicial review, and have them executed by the CIA also without a judge’s review?

    Why would Sarah Palin chant death to Julian Assange just for the mere “crime” of exposing the acts of this military dictatorship in which we are now living, dubbed the Land of the Free in false pretense?

    Denial is the most dangerous illusion that there is.

    Those who think that America is not a military dictatorship and that I am far-fetched in my assertion had better research the facts. I have taken it on myself to….see FBI documents on the ACLU’s website, read the actual texts of post-911 American laws, checked the Congressional voting record, and looked up the statistics of who is being clamped down on in the War OF Terror—-I mean, what did I say?? Oops. Free speech bloooper, oh dear. The War On Terror.

    Well if you doubt what I am referring to here, please check this out:

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/fbi-spy-files-project-aclu-client-list

    Tell me, are the “Terrorist” Entities above deserving of such a title and being spied on by the FBI? How does that protect us from terrorism ? I guess that going after the Nobel Peace Prize-winning AMerican Friends Service Committee (a Quaker Peace Group), Greenpeace, Code Pink and Food Not Bombs is high priority in protecting the country, huh. So is protecting the over-invoked “national security” in protecting the FBI Patriot Act gag orders that silence the press from disclosing this terrorist witch hunt for what it really is.

    See this FBI document and ask yourself what this has to do with terrorism: http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/tmcterrorismmemo.pdf

    Do you think this doesn’t affect ordinary Americans? SOrry you are wrong. See this, and make sure you think twice before you contribute any money to such “terrorist” Entities as those above or YOU might be sought after by the FBI at your workplace! Think I am paranoid? Well check this out: http://www.rightsmatter.org/multimedia/

    Which gets me back to my point. So much for mental illness eh? If you don’t think that the Feds are capable of killing Americans for free speech, you may have your head deeply in the sand.

    Sometimes there is such a thing as genuine paranoia or violent mental illness, but then again there is such a thing as denial of the facts setting us up for real trouble. And by the time we all wake up, it will be too late. Repeat: Obama can kill Americans on or off the battlefield without judicial review, by unilateral decree. What is the purpose in that? Think about it. Sarah Palin chanted “Death” to Assange. She is not interested in chilling free speech—-in the most chilling way? Oh. Interesting.

    Wake up my friends. Our politicians are power-crazed and if Sarah Palin openly chanted that Julian Assange should be murdered for his free speech—-which just so happened to expose the wrong-doings of our own government, and that is only the right thing to do—-then why can we even question whether or not she has ill motives?

    • Greg

      Thank You C C.
      Greg

  3. concerned citizen

    PS Anyone who wants to verify Obama’s claim that he may murder Americans on or off the battlefield without judicial review, can go to the ACLU’s website and check it out. THey are investigating the CIA’s hitlist and litigating: http://www.aclu.org this was disclosed by the Los Angeles TImes, among other sources.

    And as for being “mentally ill” for thinking that the Feds could and would kill Americans, think again. Bush took us to war based on a proven lie—and we still go wage it!

    HE is the one who is mentally ill. Think about it. Nobody but a hardened murderer would be so much as capable of *thinking* of going to war for a lie. Unless they fundamentally lacked the capacity for empathy with others. Therein lies the insanity.

    And the insanity of it all lies further with each of us, for continuing to participat without questioning this wide-spread evil and thinking that the Feds mean well toward us. Oy, what a mistake. Think again. I know it’s very painful to swallow such information, but for our own good we truly must. AGain, if we don’t, it will be too late.

    • concerned citizen

      PS yet again Greg
      Let me say gratefully, however, that I agree with you that it was the gunman’s own mental illness which led to his acts of violence, and not the beckoning call of what I firmly believe—-based on solid evidence which is like a blood river all around us—–to be our equally violent and power-crazed politicians. They belong locked up, certified as a danger to others, not in public office and certainly not even walking the streets. Interesting how our laws require the psyche hospitals to hold those who present a threat to themselves or others against their will, yet our politicians wage wars based on lies around the world, holding nuclear weapons in their hands. Psyche hospital material, right there? Methinks yes. Murderers lack empathy or remorse, and such it would seem to be with our politicians.

  4. Hands Up

    I forgot to include this link: http://www.atangledweb.org/2011/01/10/a-mentally-unstable-person/

    Thank you.

  5. markm

    Hey Greg,

    Very good article.

    The “good” sheriff blamed Rush and Fox while ranting about toning down the rhetoric. He also blamed Arizona (code words to mean Governor Brewer).

    Senator Durbin demanded that the rhetoric must change and then used vitriolic rhetoric by blaming Sarah Palin for the murders (it is not a tragedy, it is mass, premeditated, cold-blooded murder).

    Why did the good sheriff not act to flag the alleged shooters FBI/AZ DOJ record? A follow-up by police and a request for psychiatric intervention should have clouded the shooter’s ability to buy a 9mm Glock pistol? Maybe the good sheriff should focus on policing and save his his neo-Marxism for the ballot box.

    I am tired of people equating my non-belief in progressivism as a problem that causes violence by others. I will never stand-by while less informed people push for Marx’s progressivism. I realize that Rep. Giffords was not a hard-core neo-Marxist, but when Ms. Pelosi in the last congress needed “Gabby’s” vote, the speaker got it. “Gabby” forwarded the cause of a command-and-control, top-down, federal gubmint.

    I was focused on ruining “Gabby’s” political career last November; I am not an evil person because of it.

    And, don’t tell me I can’t back-up my theory on this, because I hear the “code-words” daily that refer to me and mine as dangerous and hate-filled, and that we spur violence by disagreeing with those push for progressivism.

    markm

    • Greg

      Thank you MarkM and Art. Good comments from you both.
      Greg

  6. Art Barnes

    Tragic event, prayers to all involved. Now, my comment. First learn submission without confontation, please stand there, your papers’ please, etc., then free speech is the next freedom in line to be downsized.

    On another note, the sheriff seems the only one in his mind who should exercise free speech; likely, the way the process will unfold.

  7. hoppe

    The use of this heinous crime to advance their position against guns, against free speech, against political debate; is as twisted as the mind of the shooter.

    Just as the shooter used a gun to silence a person with political views and ideals opposed to his own, the sheriff of Pima and liberal media types are also trying to use that same gun to silence their adversaries.

    Can they stoop any lower?

    • Greg

      Hoppe,
      I hope this is the bottom but what do I know.
      Greg

  8. Sondra Guffey

    Excellent points. Thanks for speaking up for sanity. This is not a time to score political points or to take sides.

    • Greg

      Thank you Sondra. I hope life is treating you well.
      Greg

  9. James M

    It appears strange that right wing assasin would hit a conservative(for a democrat at least) congresswoman that believes in border control and 2nd amaendment rights and a conservative judge. It is interesting to point out that that judge, just last week, made a preliminarey ruling against one of the Obama administration schemes to confiscate Americans retirement accounts and that the US Marshals that were on duty protecting him were not present at the hit. I read this at this link http://www.thetotalcollapse.com/top-us-federal-judge-assassinated-after-threat-to-obama-agenda/ and I do not know how accurate the info is but it was on Infowars also. The article delves into some pretty radical thought about assinations and the CIA so take it with a grain of salt, as anything you read anywhere. It could be interesting that he was the target and not here after all is what I found interesting about it. The leftists will use any crisis as an opportunity for more government and less liberty. Rahm Emanual states “never let a good crisis go to waste”. Well the communists in the administration like Cass Sunstein will use this as an opportunity to deny free speech and attack the second amendment for sure. The sherrif that gave a speech about political correctness obviously loves the lefties and big government, he is by definition a tax leech and probably has a pretty good retirement plan on the taxpayers dime I suspect. No I do not think all government employees are evil overpaid underworked leeches, only 99% of them lol. Sorry but I actually work for a living if you find that offensive. The MSM will spin this into whatever they want as usual and the government will promise us some safety for us giving up some freedom as per usual. God blees the families of the injured and mortally wounded, that is where the real tragedy lies not on the TV debate about how it happened. I wonder when they will start inserting this guys middle name into his title? Don’t all lone nut job assasins have middle names? This guy obviously had some screws loose and probably had more leanings toward the left than the center or right but you will never hear that at the Daily Kos lol. Also thanks for the citizen hero with the gun that distracted the nutcase while another citizen tackled him down. Where’s a cop when you need one, as usual not around. The cops were probably breaking into someones home on a tip and killing the family pets or out tazering old ladies or maybe they were busy setting up a perimiter and getting snazzed up in their camos for a press release. This country is so screwed up it is amazing!

    • Greg

      Thank you James for your analysis and comment.
      Greg

      • James M

        He is now Jared Lee Loghner lol, that didn’t take too long.

  10. signalfire

    Maybe the problem is, the whole country is insane. Rupert Murdock pays Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck millions of dollars a year to spew idiocies, we spend trillions on occupying damn near every country in the world (especially if they have resources we can steal) and we hide the bodies of the military personnel who get killed in our undeclared wars away from the public, lest the new crop of recruits get wind of what may happen to them.

    However, I’m glad to know that my free speech rights will be protected, and I’ll be able to make posters advocating ‘getting’ Sarah Palin with great big crosshairs in blood red ink on her forehead. Just like she did to the Congresswoman who is now in Intensive Care with brain damage.

    If you want to discuss mental illness, get a professional survey on who exactly is mentally ill, because living in this system produces it.

    • Greg

      Signalfire,
      So, what about the $millions that are paid to Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow is OK? Their free speech is sane? I fully support your right to create a poster with crosshairs on Palin’s head. You do realize there is ZERO evidence that Loughner was influenced by ANY right-wing talk show host? Thank you for your comments.
      Greg

      • Robert

        I can’t believe your equating Chris Matthews, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow with the likes of the far right talk show hosts and pundits… there’s no equivalance there.. none….espcially with Rachell who provides rational and thoughtful dialogue… looks like youre siding with the far right on this subject… where are we heading as a nation?

        I won’t be patronizing this board anymore…

        • Greg

          Robert,
          The only free speech that meets your approval is the speech you agree with? I was merely pointing out the folks on the right have the exact same right to free speech as those on the left. Please read my post again. This crime was perpetrated by what many think is a mentally Ill lone gunman. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THIS TRAGEDY WAS CAUSED BY ANYTHING SAID ON RIGHT WING TALK RADIO. I’ll miss you Robert.
          Greg

        • James M

          If you believe in free speech then you need to listen to opinions that do not fall in line with your own. Sometimes you may actually learn something. I read AmericanThinker.com (conservative), LewRockwell.com(libertarian) and TheNation.com(very liberal) almost every day. I find the different views to be inspiational and I never rule out one over the other without consideration. People all have their reasons for believing what they do. I find the libertarian thinkers the most appealing because they believe in freedom of people to decide what they want. They prescribe natural rights and law and personal property rights above all else and they frown on government intervention. Many people believe we need to fight terrorism on the conservative side although they do not want to know why there are terrorists. Many on the left like our President believe in some kind of Marxism/fascism combination or it could be that he is not really as in control as we believe and he is a straight up communist but is forced into fascism by the powers that be. If you know anything about history then you will know that socialism is a provenly failed social experiment every time it was tried and that fascism leads to complete tyranny. Socialism sounds great except that it is fundamentally flawed because you need to trust a human in charge to be honest any divy up the pie evenly, never happen. The reason the USA became what it did was because of law, personal rights and property rights. The reason so many people are so angry in this country is that all of our freedoms are slowly but surely being eliminated for the sake of government control, coporate interests and phoney safety issues. It is not a democrat/republican issue or a CNN vrs Fox issue. The issue is that Americans are being incorporated into a global governance where they must compete with cheap labor from around the world. You can thank both partys for this occurance equally. They have all sold out the people to private interests. It is simple to understand once you relieve yourself from the left right paradigm. Wake up and smell the coffee. These talking heads on TV are nothing but actors reading script that want to keep you separated from eachother so they can continue the rape and pillage of your country. Go watch Chris Mathews and Rachel Maddow or Glenn Beck if that is what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Ask them for a handout when the dollar collapses too and see what you get. If it is on TV it is probably a lie if not straight up propaganda. Divide and conquer has worked well, the last thing these power crazed greedy scumbags running the country want is a bunch non democrat/non republican thinking Americans collectivley up there ass. Hows that for some free speech Robert.

  11. Mike

    Again, it was noticed that as soon as the Arizona tragedy happened all the “Explanation Experts” out there immediately stepped forwards to deliver their expert opinion of what caused the madness.

    Until all the facts surface, all “Explanation Experts”, everywhere, should keep their mouths shut and keep their expert opinions only to themselves.

    Thank You.

    • Greg

      Mike and Signalfire
      Thank you both weighing in on this explosive topic!!
      Greg

  12. signalfire

    One other thing. Wasn’t Sarah Palin angry that Congresswoman Giffords VOTED FOR THE HEALTH BILL? You know, the one that might get more people treated for mental illness? I know it’s not perfect, far from it, but given the Republican party and their constant foot dragging and refusal to ‘let Obama get anything done while in office’ it was perhaps the best bill possible.

    What we need is moderate, intelligent discussion of the issues of the day, which are serious and getting more so at an exponential rate, not discourse on a par with a grade school playground full of bullies.

  13. Ron P

    Greg, I agree with everything you have said, but we all need to be aware that things that conservatives do and say will get much more negative press by the left wing media than those same comments if they were made by liberals. And along with the attention, the left wing media will do just what they are speaking out against. They are trying to energize their base to “attack” those on the right for their positions.

    What the right needs to keep in mind is the moderate voters that will swing from left or right depending on the candidate. As the talk show host such as Hannity and Rush use confrontation and discourse to make their points, the left wing will continue to make them appear to be out of line with “normally accepted actions”, thus leading to the moderate voters to move to the left to avoid being associated with the “wacko’s on the right”.

    My point is the right needs to tone it down. Right or wrong, the right is going to be painted as radical anytime the left gets a chance. You can be a conservative and support conservative issues, but in a way that is not confrontational. Watch Hannity and follow that by watching Gretta on Fox. Both support the same positions, but one does it in a way you would want your kids to debate a subject while the other invites guest, asked their opinion, butt in before they finish and raises his voice to talk over the guest so their point can not be heard.

    It’s a bad situation where freedom of speech can be used against us.

    • Greg

      Ron P,
      Thank you Ron but I am against anything that curtails free speech.
      Greg

      • Ron P

        http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2011/jan/11/wsopin01-restoring-civil-discourse-crucial-ar-682603/

        Greg, this appeared in our local newspaper opinion section. Paragraph 6 states my position much better than I stated it. I do not want free speech curtailed, but those in a position where their speech impact others need to understand how others may interpret what they say. One can say the same thing many different ways and get their point across.

        • Greg

          Ron P,
          I am going to answer you the same way I answered K. Potter who is against curtailing free speech but said both the left and right could do “better.”
          “Again, there is no evidence whatsoever that Loughner was influenced by any right or left wing talk radio. This is a mental health issue not a free speech issue. By the sheriff saying that “free speech has its consequences.” infers that the consequences are always bad and we we need to change our ways. Free speech is just that, free. Saying we can do “better” is stepping on a slippery slope. “Better?” How are we going to do “Better?” Who is going to decide what is “Better?” “Better” than what? Censorship also has “consequences.” Look how well it is working in China and Russia. I do understand your point and I am not giving you a hard time. I am just further clarifying my point. Thank you for supporting and reading this site.” Thank you Ron P for your views and posting them here. You will always be able to speak your mind here even if I disagree.
          Greg

  14. John Bernard

    Greg
    This whole incident, while horrible for those affected, is being used for other purposes at this point. The financial news from around the country and the world is all bad and getting worse. The MSM and the government knows this and knows that the economic statistics have been essentially false for years now.

    This assassin appears to be a paranoid schizophrenic and motivated by whatever diseased thoughts have afflicted him for quite a while.

    The left is demonizing the right while the right fights back with examples of leftist exhortations to violence. The MSM is sanctimonious in its evaluation and reporting of this incident.

    I think government repression of free speech and thought will accelerate and am afraid that more and widespread violence can be expected.

    I appears that Jim Kuntsler’s essay may indeed be prophetic. Food riots in Algeria may seem far away at the moment but the world has a bad habit of shrinking rapidly.

    • Greg

      Good points John Bernard!
      Greg

  15. nm

    This is somewhat off topic, but I found so interesting that I’m posting it here:

    There’s a good article in the NYT on law debt and I found this passage to be quite interesting. This is from a guy who is now stuck with $250,000 dollars of debt and no job:

    “Bank bailouts, company bailouts — I don’t know, we’re the generation of bailouts,” he says in a hallway during a break from his Peak Discovery job. “And like, this debt of mine is just sort of, it’s a little illusory. I feel like at some point, I’ll negotiate it away, or they won’t collect it.”

    He gives a slight shrug and a smile as he heads back to work. “It could be worse,” he says. “It’s not like they can put me jail.”

    No on is talking about this yet, but I believe that is going to be the real outcome of those bailouts. i.e. People have realized that there’s no need to pay back debt. Why should they when the banks were able to get away with their bad debts.

    I’ll never understand why the congress and/or Bernanke never saw this slippery slope coming. How can you let one group of people get away with not paying back debt and expect the other group not to notice?

    Banks are headed for very rough times.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?pagewanted=7&ref=business&src=me

    • Greg

      NM,
      Thank you for this important information. I am happy you brought it up here!
      Greg

  16. Robert

    I agree with the sheriff. Ive also worked in a law office that had several mentally ill clients. What I learned from that experience was how people in that status easily queue off of conversation and tone of voice.

    I was listening to a radio program this morning and they had various recordings of rightwing radio talkshow hosts calling for 2nd amendment solutions if first amendments don’t work. There was no mistaking these comments. They weren’t even vailed. They were direct calls for violence and it should be obvious from last Saturday’s event that some people can be motivated by such talk.

    Im as concerned as you are though about the possible impact the regulation of such conversation could have on all of ours free speech. But what I heard this morning on that talk show (they werent personally saying it, just airing actual recordings of incindiary talk that’s coming out of far rightwing radio) there was no mistaking that it was a call to use firearms to get their way and settle differences).

    We need to restore balance to our media so lies and half truths can’t fester and take hold and ulitmately promote what we saw on Saturday.

  17. slingshot

    OOOOOps! Sometimes we all get caught up in the heat of the moment and say things we later regret. Unfortunately our words may be interperated as literal and not the figurative form of speech. That in turn may cause others to act upon on our words in the most unintended consequence. Funny thing this Free Speech is that it can be a powerful tool used for good or evil. We use it everyday when we talk to our neighbors and co-workers. We can also tell them the truth or make up lies. Now it is one thing for the common person to say absurb phrases, but what about those in a position of authority. Combine this with a household in distress and that could push a person to do things he normally would not do. Is the person on the street who proclaims that the country is not right, infringe on the authoritarian point of view of all is roses. Could it be as simple as Free Speech vs. Propaganda? What about sensationalism? Lets hype the story to get more viewers. Free speech is it not? We are walking a fine line. That fine line is truth. Add or take away to much from either side and you fall off.

  18. Stephen Clifton

    Greg,
    Brad and Britt this morning were doing an entire segment on how talk shows may drive people to the point of committing such a crime. Brad was conveniently only bringing up talk shows that were right wing which led one caller to ask him what evidence Brad had that the gunman was a Tea Partier or right winger. Brad admittedly said none whatsoever. He said he was simply showing how talk radio like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck drive this kind of hatred. As you point out in your piece the gunman’s favorite books were Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto. He was described by classmates as a conspiracy theorist, pot smoking liberal.

    It’s sad that a gunmen that is by all accounts a leftist based on his readings and friends accounts, guns down a Democrat but yet the Tea Party is now to blame along with Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and Sarah Palin. This is the state of hypocrisy which we now live. Don’t let the facts get in the way of Democrats leveraging the death of a 9 year old girl to skewer the right.

    Stephen

    • Greg

      Stephen Clifton,
      Thank you for the report. I guess Matthews, Olbermann and Maddow never say anything vitriolic?

      • Stephen Clifton

        GReg,
        Re-read my response. I cannot stand anybody on msnbc either. I go to real journalism sources (like this one) for news. The news on the networks is bought and paid for. They should call it “CNN PR” instead of “news”.

        I am not agreeing with the idiotic comments that the gunmen did this because of talk show influence. Quite the contrary. I am writing because it is despicable for ANYBODY to use this tragedy before the bodies are even cold to further their agenda. In this case the libs making a case against free speech and for gun control. I am sure the families deserve better.

        This whole thing makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. Mr. Loughner should be strung up by his sack and stoned to death.

        Stephen

        • Greg

          Stephen Clifton,
          Fair enough, I get your point. Thank you.
          greg

  19. Jan

    A horrible tragedy committed by an obviously mentally ill person. The left and the right trying to score political points, playing the blame game is disgusting.

    I had little respect for the MSM, but far less after the 24/7 ghoulish coverage that is still going on today. Shame on them. The family and victims grief is not public property or public right share via highest ratings.

    I believe the family has the right to shoot any reporter invading thier private grief at a time like this. I know I would if hounded as these poor people have been this weekend.

    • Greg

      Jan,
      This is probably the best comment so far on this post. Thank you!!!!!
      Greg

    • Ken

      It appears to me that many of the people involved or related to the shooting aren’t wasting much time at a chance to “go public”.

      Sign of the times, I guess.

      If it was one of my family members or if I was involved in bring the shooter down, I would be avoiding publicity for quite a while, at least until I knew my emotional state of mind was capable of discussing the events.

  20. Jeff

    The reference about Obama comment was a quote from a movie he was using to satire an opinion. Palin has been using guns and weapon terms for her whole career………….and loves to “gun em down” in her crosshairs! Her last TV show has her bring down an animal with a rifle.

    The FOX and MSNBC flame throwers are both to blame for heating up the situation in Arizona. It is hard to believe that this killer would be oblivious to this hate talk. The local flame throwers are numerous on both AM & FM in Arizona as the police chief has stated.

    I doubt this is the end of this violence we will see in 2011.

    • James M

      If I was there that guy would have gotten off two shots, maybe, and I would have dropped him in a puddle of his own blood. God bless the second amendment. When everyone has a gun most people are pretty polite to eachother and crime seems to disappear. Criminals do not like taking the chance of getting shot. The prefer when they know they are the only ones armed, which was exactly the case with this shooting. If there were 10 armed citizens next to this guy he would have killed maybe one person if that and he would be dead right now. Either that or he would have second guessed even tying the shoot in the first place. And as usual there were no cops around to protect anyone. If anyone thinks this is a case for gun control then your crazy. This incident only proves that if you want to protect yourself from crazy idiots then you need to arm and protect yourself.

  21. Jan

    Thanks Greg. What amazed me today was a statement by the Sheriff the shooter had made previous death threats, although not against Rep. Giffords. The Community College had expelled him and refused to allow him to enroll again unless he got professional help. The parents knew there was a problem, the college knew there was a problem and even the Sheriff knew there was a problem, yet all did nothing to get they guy help and possible prevent this tragedy.

    • Deborah

      The guy is not a minor. It is difficult enough to get mental health care in the US, let alone someone getting it for an adult. The school did the right thing and really could not do anything more. We don’t know if the parents tried to get help, and unless court-ordered, the police cannot force anyone to get mental health care.

  22. K. Potter

    I seldom disagree with you, Greg, but on this issue I do. You said, “The Sheriff took it upon himself to make a political statement that has no real evidence to back it up.” Sheriff Dupnick did not say that political speech was responsible for Saturday’s attack; he said free speech has consequences. He’s right.

    It is not necessary to be able to draw a line from a specific item of inflammatory rhetoric or hate speech to Jared Lee Loughner in order to support the opinion that heated, divisive rhetoric has contributed to a hostile society. The demonizing

    Some knee-jerk calls for restrictions on vitriolic speech are to be expected in response to the slaughter on Saturday, but we Americans value freedom of speech and will not support restrictions on it once the horror of this weekend’s events starts to fade. It would be nice, instead, if people considered how their words are understood, even by those with mental illness, and chose more carefully.

    I’m pointing neither right nor left – we can all do better.

    • Greg

      K. Potter,
      Again, there is no evidence whatsoever that Loughner was influenced by any right or left wing talk radio. This is a mental health issue not a free speech issue. By the sheriff saying that “free speech has its consequences.” infers that the consequences are always bad and we we need to change our ways. Free speech is just that, free. Saying we can do “better” is stepping on a slippery slope. “Better?” How are we going to do “Better?” Who is going to decide what is “Better?” “Better” than what? Censorship also has “consequences.” Look how well it is working in China and Russia. I do understand your point and I am not giving you a hard time. I am just further clarifying my point. Thank you for supporting and reading this site.
      Greg

  23. James M

    My friend Joel, who is a leftist at heart and an academic, who I love to disagree with and argee with too, it just goes to show that good honest debate is excellent, sums it all up pretty well here at the Nolan Chart http://www.nolanchart.com/article8256.html I love to hate what Joel tells me sometimes but I agree with him a lot also. If me and this man can have fun discussing politics then any two polar opposite people on earth can truly get along and appreciate eachothers differences, specially when our differences are actually commonalities and we need to get in an argument to figure it out. Stop being left and right and be Americans.

  24. Ken - Free Thinking Radical

    The whole purpose of this so-called “debate” (at least as far as the government and their lackies are concerned) was to chill free speech and put the non-statist on the defensive.

    It worked like a charm, and now all we are talking about is whether or not talk radio and alternative media were responsible for this tragedy.

    All this does is put alternative news producers and non-statists on the defensive and dancing to the tune of the vile pro-government crowd.

    A far better case can be made that Jared Loughner is simply yet another, in a long line of, leftwing fanatics who use violence as a way of influencing social and political policy. I made this point on my own site with a brief compendium of violent leftist acts over the years, from Stalin to Loughner.

    That is the tack that we should be taking, not playing the lefty game of debating with them whether or not we are evil or just stupid.

    Ken
    Laser Guided Loogie

  25. George

    Greg,
    This AZ democrat sheriff is one reason I feel that democrats are EVIL. The progressive liberals are already saying that this happened because of the conservatives, O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, even though everything the shooter wrote is abhorrent to them. Shouldn’t a high sheriff rely on those pesky things called “facts”? I know the truth is rather “inconvenient”; just ask Al Gore or former democratic district attorney Mike Nifong. Facts are not political. The democrats are actively trying to rebrand anti-American policies to try to get public support. Given just the facts, people run from the democrat’s ideas. And they should run from some of the Republican ideas too.
    While the above is strong rhetoric; that’s all it is. You see, we still have free speech here; well, almost. It is eroding every day. I exercise my power at the voting booth, not with a gun. I can not help but wonder if some democrat manipulated this crazy shooter. Why? One reason is that Pelosi and Reid think blue-dog Democrats are enemies.

  26. Mitchbupp

    Right on Greg, This guy could have been driven off the edge by anything. The pundits turning this issue into a political football are just expoliting the incident. I believe the “happens-chance” portrayed by the left and right wingers are just that …unrelated coindences….

    but it does demostrate the power of the media ….. for good and bad.

  27. bean

    bravo greg!
    once again a mentally unstable person slips through the cracks, kills and the “heads” try blame everyone but themselves. like the virginia tech. shooter, the columbine shooters, the mall shooter, the discovery channel dude, major hassan and the underwear bomber, the signs were there.
    sad that a combination of political correctness and a fear of “getting involved” has let these people slip though and commit their horrendous acts. what was the walmart story? ” if you see something, say something?” well, what if no one will listen or take action? like the good sheriff.
    how do we fix this? it starts with us. how many knew that something was wrong in the house that zara baker lived in but said nothing.
    its going to be up to us to get this country back to where it needs to be, not the politicians or the media. time to stand up.
    thanks greg.

    • Greg

      Thank you Bean for the comment and support.
      Greg

  28. Ian J

    Greg,

    It is my opinion that this tragedy is just a vehicle for a more controlling government to limit the freedom of its citizens. I am sure that im not the first one to bring up rahm emmanuel’s “never let a crisis go to waste”

    There are consequences for free speech, however the consequences of not having free speech are much greater. Our founders understood this, and that is why they listed our right to free speech first! Sometimes the best way to see what is wrong with government is to look to who they are trying to shut up. They want to paint all those who dissent as extremists and radicals in order to keep them quiet.

    It is becoming easier and easier to predict how the media and government react to current events. Thanks for the article.

    Ian

    • Greg

      Thank You Ian!!! Great points!
      Greg

  29. Ian J

    Ps.

    Any comment on the debt ceiling?

    • Greg

      Ian,
      See the latest post on the site. Thank you for asking.
      Greg

  30. Linda

    If Sheriff Dupnik is truly concerned about what people are hearing which may cause them to commit crimes, I suggest he do something to stem the violence promoted by the rap stars. Those rappers sing about killing the sheriff, killing the police, and committing every violent act possible against women. Vitriolic is too civil to describe rap music. The lyrics are the most filthy, disgusting words in the English language. And individuals like Loughner go around with that garbage plugged into their ears for hours on end. Wake up, Sheriff Dupnik! Radio talk shows are not encouraging people to become monsters.

    Linda

    • Greg

      Thank you Linda.
      greg

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