Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Three Targeted Reps

Shushannah Walshe has a good piece discussing the three Arizona representatives targeted on Sarah Palin's cross-hairs map, Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell, and Gabrielle Giffords.

Remember that this map was published during the spring of 2010 during the height of the health care debate when the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox Inc., were whipping the information challenged into a complete frenzy with notions of Gestapo squads coming to haul granny off to death camps. Remember when Giffords office was vandalized? Remember the gunshot at Grijalva's office? Remember the racial slurs and the spitting? Remember the Swastikas? Remember the talk about "Second Amendment solutions" and the images of guns at rallies? Remember radio host Joyce Kauffman, "If ballots don't work, bullets will."

All three AZ reps received threatening letters and phone calls. The following two messages were left at Harry Mitchell's office (phone) shortly after the publication of the cross hair map:

I cannot tell you how much I wish a panty bomber would come in and just fucking blow your place up.

I’m gonna tie you up and disembowel you with a rusty pitchfork.

All three had to suspend and/or cancel town hall style meetings because they descended into unproductive shout-fests. Mitchell said, "They don’t want to have a discussion of any kind. They just want to yell at you."

Mitchell staffer Rob Sherwood observed, "You are not just wrong on the issue, you are a scumbag, you are evil. When someone believes that about you, it dehumanizes you to a certain extent. A thought like that in the hands of someone who is maybe unstable could lead straight to violent action."

Remember the memo distributed to right wing groups?

Artificially Inflate Your Numbers: “Spread out in the hall and try to be in the front half. The objective is to put the Rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up. The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.”

Be Disruptive Early And Often: “You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

Try To “Rattle Him,” Not Have An Intelligent Debate: “The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.

The process is neither new nor complicated. Whip the kooks into a seething blather of unbridled rage. Somewhere in the sea of hatred a nut job will come unglued. Then, when the nut job goes postal, dismiss his actions as those of an isolated mental case. See? There's no connection, no connection at all. He's just a kook. He got the idea to shoot her from the back of a Wheaties box.

"Don’t retreat. RELOAD!!"
Sarah Palin Facebook and Website, March 2010

"Get on target for victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M-16 with Jesse Kelly"
Sarah Palin Website, June 2010

Well, after years of speeches, countless tweets and other web content, now all of a sudden we get:

“I hate violence.”
Sarah Palin email to Glenn Beck, January 10, 2011

It gets better. About the cross-hair map, Palin staffer Rebecca Mansour has declared, "We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights."

Not gun sights? After all of this, those little symbols represent what? Pizzas?

I kid the reader not, Mansour has answered the question. Know what those cross-hairs were supposed to represent while you're shooting that "fully automatic M-16" with Giffords opponent Jesse Kelly?

They were surveyor's symbols.


Blogger Liza said...

The problem that the right wing has right now is that their record is ironclad.

You can scrub your tweets and your blogs and your campaign Web sites and your vitriolic comments on Facebook, but you cannot scrub your history. Someone out there will always remember, someone out there will always have documentation, and someone out there will always capture the garbage you posted on the Web before you can scrub it. Welcome to the 21st century.

Good post, X4mr.

1/11/2011 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

In all likelihood, the various media figures and officials will duly note that the actions of this lunatic cannot be directly traced to political rhetoric, but what would we expect?

Chaos theory tells us that a butterfly wing beating a certain way can change the price of rice in China. I doubt we will ever know, but I don't see how anyone could not be horrified by that damning, unbelievable Sarah Palin blurb in the second image:

Get on target for victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M-16 with Jesse Kelly


Get on target.
Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office.
Shoot a fully automatic M-16.

Yeah, let's publish that online and pump it into the minds of a few million readers.

1/11/2011 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hypocrisy and outright lying of these hate mongers is unbelievable.

Some of them are back tracking and deleting, but Liza is right, the videos have been captured. The articles cannot be erased. The photos can be found with simple searches. We know what they said and did and when.

So some are saying that such talk and rhetoric is just politics and not harmful. Obviously they will try to paint this kook as an anomaly unrelated to politics.

What's funny is that these people are basically the same set of jerks that go crazy over rap songs by Ice-T or Snoop Dog. They get riled up about concerts by Marilyn Manson.

So, it's okay use all this target and cross hair and shooting kind of lingo when talking about elected officials, but if Marilyn Manson sings, "God Sucks!" it's a national crisis?

The Palin lady saying that the cross hairs were actually meant to be surveyor symbols is SO embarrassing!

I think the Mitchell staffer makes a very good point by noting that this rhetoric is dehumanizing people to where they become evil enemies. Do this, and then mix in the gun and shooting lingo, and you have a perfect prescription for violence. To pretend otherwise is just stupid.

We may never prove it one way or another, but to say that all this toxic ranting never infected this shooter is folly. Maybe it did, maybe not. For all we know he heard others talking. The fact is that this guy got the idea to shoot Giffords. Sorry, x4mr, but I don't think it came from the back of a Wheaties box.

1/11/2011 10:09 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

It won't be difficult to make the case that Jared Laughner is a seriously disturbed young man. Anyone who shows up at a peaceful gathering of people attending a very benign political event and attempts to assassinate an elected official and kill as many other people as possible is not a poster child for good mental health.

However, Jared Laughner was not raised in an underground silo. He was raised in a community and communities have cultures and subcultures. One of the subcultures in this community is the immigrant-hating, liberal-hating, gun worshipping, and very "conservative" right wing. That subculture, as we all know, is very vocal in this community.

We do not live in Jared Laughner's head, thank God, and we do not know how he processed the messages he received. What we do know is that the messages from this right wing subculture are out there, all the time, 24/7. So, he either accepted them and integrated them with his other beliefs or he rejected and dismissed them. That is what everyone does with unavoidable messages.

Furthermore, we know that these messages are effective. If they weren't, then why are so many people repeating them verbatim?

To suggest that Jared Laughner was not influenced by the messages that surrounded him his entire life is to suggest that no one is. And that is completely absurd. It will take some time to determine how he was influenced, and strangely enough, this "mentally unstable" man has enough mental stability to keep his mouth shut.

1/11/2011 10:09 AM  

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