Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) announced today that she will resign from Congress to focus on her recovery from the head injury she suffered in a shooting rampage just over a year ago. The Freedom Bulletin would like to wish her the very best in her recovery and her future career, whatever shape it may take.
January 22, 2012
March 9, 2011
Jared Lee Loughner, the defendant in the shooting of 19 people in Tucson, Arizona, is now facing 49 federal charges, which he pled not guilty to today. The new charges are related to the fact that the shooting took place at a “federally provided activity.” As CNN reports…
“A federal judge Wednesday entered “not guilty” pleas on behalf of Jared Lee Loughner, the Arizona man accused of fatally shooting six people and wounding 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Judge Larry Burns also scheduled a May 25 competency hearing for Loughner, and attorneys on both sides will be allowed to hire their own experts to evaluate Loughner’s competency to stand trial.
Prosecutors sought the competency hearing, saying that Loughner had believed the FBI was bugging him, had extreme animosity toward the government, and was even hearing voices.
Loughner’s public defenders didn’t want such a hearing, saying it would be premature and could interfere with their ability to develop a relationship with Loughner.”
February 23, 2011
Yesterday, Congressman Mike Capuano (D-MA) told a union rally…
“Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”
Just last month, he said in an interview about the shooting in Tucson, AZ that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords seriously wounded…
“Many of us were afraid for a long time that something like this would happen, with the level or the tone of the discourse over the last several years. It’s gotten violent and personal.”
And he said in another interview…
“Everybody knows the last couple of years there’s been an intentional increase in the degree of heat in political discourse. If nothing else good comes out of this, I’m hoping it causes people to reconsider how they deal with things.”
So much for toning down the rhetoric. So much for the Tea Party and Sarah Palin being responsible for the heated political climate.
January 19, 2011
Since the Tucson shooting, the media and the public have been buzzing about s0-called “violent” political rhetoric, how it needs to be toned down, and how it allegedly led to the shooting. To all those people who find Sarah Palin’s “target map” or pictures of people holding guns or talk of “reloading, not retreating” offensive, you know what I find offensive? Mean rhetoric. Vicious insults of innocent people are far more of a problem than metaphors about guns and shooting. The following are verbatim comments (with obscene language edited out) that I have seen on YouTube about Sarah Palin:
“this silly b**** is trying to save herself. not even addressing the need of the mentally ill. i don’t have hatred in my heart but i understand why so many people are praying for the death of this greedy pig. she, like the other evil congress ignore the fact that their laws deny the mentally ill jobs and healthcare and call them animals. what a foul evil b**** trying to politicalize on the death of the people and the destruction of a broken soul.”
“Peaceful Tea Baggers, pls refudiate this dumb b****..”
“if she was responsible enough she would stop the tea party movement and stop spreading hate in this country, she is not fit for president in 2012 I think her hate toward america is wrong her website promotes it and she should be held accountable”
“palin is a woman’s nasty, fascist and a liar, a bad leader for America, this woman demonstrates everything bad in your country.”
“BREAKING NEWS to sarahs legion of a**holes for 2012..she is UNELECTABLE. there are enough of you to line up at wal-mart & buy her book, but not nearly enough to elect such a cowardly b**** to office. Right now she is hiding iin a broom closet at Fox news HQ, peeking her empty head out long enough to post insipid cliches on facebook so her mindless followers can tell her to ‘stay strong’”
“this lady is a moron and a hypocrite.no one believes what she has to say in this video.she’s a hate filled liar. SHAME ON YOU SARAH PALIN.”
“this b**** should stfu, she is responsible”
“Ok Palin is dumb s***. Just full of all types of moose and deer s***.”
“Republicans are good for one thing sucking corporate d****. She has suck so much wall street d**** she cant even talk straight.”
“She riled up attendess at her Klan rallies so much, people shouted out “Kill him!” about Obama? And she did it more than once. That was two years ago. She knew exactly what she was doing then and she went it it. She’s a disgrace to this country.”
“The republican/tea party campaign slogan’s ‘I want me country back’
is because You have a Black President!!!
F***ing despicable peckerwood republican/tea party sonb****!!!”
“I would not be troubled if Palin vanished suddenly, in fact, the less hardline, right-wing conservatives like her the better…”
“I hope someone shoots her in the face….”
Now that is what I call offensive.
January 18, 2011
In a press release a week ago, WikiLeaks condemned death threats against founder Julian Assange and other staff members:
“When senior politicians and attention seeking media commentators call for specific individuals or groups of people to be killed they should be charged with incitement — to murder…A civil nation of laws can not have prominent members of society constantly calling for the murder and assassination of other individuals or groups.”
WikiLeaks also drew a parallel between these death threats and the Tucson shooting, and quoted Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who said that those who use “vitriolic rhetoric…have some responsibility when incidents like this occur.”
While I agree that people who call for the murder of those they disagree with are acting wrongly and should be punished, I actually believe that the threats against WikiLeaks are much worse, not only in degree but in principle, than the typical examples that people cite as “violent rhetoric” in the wake of the Tucson shooting. I don’t see anything whatsoever wrong with the following pieces of rhetoric:
- Sarah Palin’s map with crosshairs over 20 districts (and to be fair, similar maps used by Democrats)
- Palin’s call for people to “not retreat, instead reload“
- Calling the health non-reform bill “job-killing”
- A picture of Glenn Beck holding a gun
- A campaign event that involves target shooting (also, pictures of the candidate with guns and using the slogan, “Send a warrior to Congress”)
On the other hand, here are some things people have said about Julian Assange (from this site) which I believe were truly wrong to say:
- “If Julian Assange is shot in the head tomorrow or if his car is blown up when he turns the key, what message do you think that would send about releasing sensitive American data?”
- “A dead man can’t leak stuff…I’m not for the death penalty, so…there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the S.O.B.”
- “He should be killed, but we won’t do that.”
- “He should be underground — six feet underground. … He should be put in jail or worse, hanged in a public forum.”
- “I think Assange should be assassinated, actually.”
- “I’d like to ask a simple question: Why isn’t Julian Assange dead? …Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?”
Of course, Assange is not the only victim of incitement to commit murder. I’ve seen countless nasty comments about Sarah Palin on YouTube, such as, “I would not be troubled if Palin vanished suddenly, in fact, the less hardline, right-wing conservatives like her the better” and “I hope someone shoots her in the face.” A New York State Comptroller, speaking about George W. Bush, once called on people to ”put a bullet between the president’s eyes,” and John Kerry once said, “I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.” These comments are wrong, just like the above comments about Assange.
I agree wholeheartedly with WikiLeaks about death threats and incitement to commit murder. But I think it’s important to differentiate these things from weapon-related metaphors, and to remember that the culprits can come from any part of the political spectrum.