Missouri State Senator Robin Wright-Jones (D-St. Louis) would seem to be making a remarkably generous offer to the accused shooter in Tucson Saturday: the excuse that he was “forced” to do it, presumably by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. From the Columbia Missourian:
Sen. Robin Wright-Jones, D-St. Louis, expressed concern over incendiary images and words used in the media and said the negative rhetoric affects the way people behave.
“I don’t know what spurred this man to do such a thing, but we are going to have to be very careful about the messages and the images we put out in the press,” Wright-Jones said. “It could take anyone on the fringes and force them into a situation like this that puts us all in danger.”
Senator Wright-Jones is the first, to my knowledge, to imply that seeing a map marked with cross hairs could “force” someone to commit mass slaughter, but she is far from the first to implicate “negative rhetoric” as being at least partially to blame.
That distinction might have to go to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who by Saturday evening, held a press conference blaming “vitriol” for senseless violence. From the Los Angeles Times:
When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.
Dupnik, whose failure to stop the shooter might explain his desire to spread the blame as widely as possible, makes no secret of just whose “vitriol” he thinks is responsible, as he explained to CBS News, quoted here from another Los Angeles Times article:
Tonight, the sheriff told CBS News: “If you are in law enforcement and you are not a right-winger, you will get all kinds of heat from the right-wing nuts.”
Sheriff Dupnik, by the way, is also no fan of armed self-defense for private citizens, as he made clear in the same interview:
Couric asked his opnion of laws that allow some individuals to carry weapons, concealed and otherwise.
Dupnik replied: “That’s the height of insanity.” Then he added, presumably sarcastically, “Maybe they could pass a law that would require that every child have an Uzi in their crib.”
Blaming the “right-wing” is a strategy that goes much higher up the Democrat’s political food chain than Sheriff Dupnik, though. Politico provides us this look at the chilling opportunism of those who would cynically exploit this atrocity for political gain:
One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did.
“They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”
Where this blaming of “rhetoric” for violence leads is the kind of legislation being proposed by Congressman Robert Brady (D-PA), who wants to make it illegal to use language or symbols that could be seen as violent or threatening to a member of Congress. We talked about that yesterday:
Keep in mind that the people we’re worried about are crazy people–we’re supposed to limit ourselves to saying things that “can’t be seen,” by deranged psychos, “as threatening or violent.” In other words, we are letting the crazy people define the limits of what we can say. By Congressman Brady’s standards, the dog owned by David Berkowitz’s neighbor should be held partially responsible for the “Son of Sam” murders.
Perhaps State Senator Wright-Jones and Congressman Brady think that Sam (David Berkowitz’s neighbor’s Labrador Retriever) “forced” Berkowitz to commit murder.
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- Emotionally raping the minds of Arkansans
- Tucson aftermath: Here come the gun laws
- Safer Streets 2011: The Tucson Shooting.
- Giffords attack must not derail firearms rights
- Safer Streets 2011: The Tucson Shooting, Part II: Year of the sovereign citizen?
- “The awesome stupidity of the calls to tamp down political speech in the wake of the Giffords shooting.” Plus, “The Media & The Shooter.”
- Sickening Responses and Blatant Ignorance
- Usual suspects line up to exploit Giffords shooting
- From Seattle P-I columnist’s ‘Message in blood’ to dancing in it after Tucson
- How I conspired with the Tea Parties, Sarah Palin and Lucifer to send Jared Loughner to Safeway. (Or, not.) Principle in a time of panic.
- “Gotcha Sheriff Clarence ‘Jackass’ Dupnik” — There is more to this story than Deputy Dawg has let on. Loughner’s friend in the Sheriff’s Department
- Report: Sheriff Knew About Loughner’s Actions & Previous Threats – Failed to Act
- Personal Safety – Personal Responsibility
- Is Arizona the right tragedy?
- AZ aftermath: Seattle Times v. P-I v. conservatives and gun rights