Every Tragedy is a Political Opportunity

Loughner flag burning

I swore I wasn’t going to write anything about yesterday’s mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

It’s not really in our bailiwick, and there is already so much coverage out there about it. Open any news site, and the top story — probably the top eight or ten stories — will be about Jared Lee Loughner (the alleged murderer), Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Judge John Roll, the other victims, the reaction of politicians, interviews with mourning families, etc. etc.

And there’s not much to add to what the bloggers are saying. Jim at Gateway Pundit has the best coverage — just open his site and keep scrolling. Or go over to Michelle Malkin; she kept updating her post all day yesterday.

However, I’m interested enough in the political memes to give them a brief mention. The political spin started almost from the moment the gunshots quit echoing in front of that Safeway in Tucson. When the first news alert came in, I told Dymphna: “If the guy who did this is white, it’ll be the Republicans’ fault. Wait for it.”

And, unfortunately, that was exactly what happened. As soon as the name and photo of the shooter emerged, the talking heads and liberal opinionators began assigning the blame to the tea parties and Sarah Palin. When Mr. Loughner’s YouTube channel was discovered, his obsession with the currency was cited: “Aha! A gold bug!” And he hated the government — he must be a right-wing crank.

Everyone pushing this meme ignored the fact that the kid listed The Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books (along with Mein Kampf — he liked a full smorgasbord of socialism). They overlooked the interviews with acquaintances who said he had very liberal political views.

Nope, the “right-wing crank” meme was their story, and they were sticking to it. The New York Times wrote an appalling piece fabricating a conservative nut-job framework for Jared Lee Loughner on the flimsiest of evidence, spun from the finest gossamer.

But it was Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik who won the prize for the Most Outrageous Politicizer of a Horrible Tragedy. Given that he is the lead investigator assigned to the case, in any sane society he would have refrained from speculating about the political motives of the suspect without a shred of evidence — and on national television, too. But we don’t live in a sane society, and the sheriff is a loyal Democrat, so that is exactly what he did.

Read more about the odious Sheriff Dupnik at NRO, or Ace of Spades HQ (including video), or Don Surber.

Late this afternoon, however, the air began to leak from the Left’s “right-wing nut” balloon. It turns out that Jared Lee Loughner had a second YouTube channel, containing only a single video, this time with live action instead of text. In it you can see the young man, dressed in a very bizarre costume, setting fire to an American flag.

That’s a pretty strange sort of tea party guy, to burn an American flag. Don’t see too many of them doing that. Why, even the gold bugs respect the flag. Hmm…

If you’re interested, I suggest watching the video now, while you can, because it’s only a matter of time before YouTube scrubs its servers clean of all the evidence of this disturbed young man.

The sad fact is this: based on his writings and the accounts of people who are acquainted with him, Jared Lee Loughner has no coherent political philosophy whatsoever. He is simply mentally ill, possibly a schizophrenic, and his condition may have been exacerbated by drug use. If his bizarre prose is any indication, he was off his meds.

We may assume that the media will continue to bat the Evil Right-Winger meme around for a while longer, until it is fully deflated and useless for their purposes. The rules of the game are simple:

  • If a right-winger does something bad, it’s because he’s evil.
  • If a left-winger does something bad, it’s because a right-winger forced him into a corner, and drove him crazy, or left him no choice, or something similar.
  • It’s still always George Bush’s fault.

So this has to have been the doing of the Republicans. It can’t be any other way.

Mind you, I don’t absolve the Republicans of anything because of this. If the conditions had been right, they would have run the game from the same playbook. Just imagine what would have happened if the shooter had been, say, a disgruntled illegal immigrant. We all know what talking points certain well-known VRWC talking heads would have been using on this morning’s news shows.

Any news story that becomes prominent enough to gain the public’s attention has to be politicized. There’s no option for any other behavior. Think Hurricane Katrina, or the swine flu.

We live in a time when everything, without exception, has become political.

Hat tips to Larwyn and Vlad Tepes.

19 thoughts on “Every Tragedy is a Political Opportunity

  1. You are totally correct as usual Baron. I made the same comment to my wife last night when there were numerous sideswipes at Palin and the republicans on British TV.

    Did not know this murderer read Marx and Hitler though.

  2. Baron,
    I have been reading so much on this tragic event on many, many
    different sites. It is a massive
    saturation and all out attack on
    the right and all things even
    remotely conservative.

    That said, I was not going to
    post anything at PC as I figured
    there was enough coverage out
    there, and then some. Especially
    the attacks from the LSM and
    liberal/left leaning sites.
    Then I read your commentary. I
    think(at least for me) you did
    a really excellent job with what
    you posted here. Your piece backs
    up what Gary Fouse posted on PC

    I am sharing this on PC with
    links back to here and proper
    credits given to all who contributed.


  3. Apparently, Loughner was also an atheist and a 911 Truther. He seemed to have a whole glob of beliefs in his head more or less incoherently coagulated. Funny, the one thing his deranged mind wasn’t exercised about was the problem of Islam…

    As for his political compass, according to this MSNBC story:

    A 22-year-old woman in Arizona, Caitie Parker, claimed on her Twitter feed that she went to high school and college with the gunman, and was in a band with him. She described his politics in the past as “left wing, quite liberal, & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.” She also described him as having a lot of friends “until he got alcohol poisoning in ’06” and dropped out of school. “Mainly loner very philosophical.”

    Parker described the gunman meeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords previously: “He was a political radical…”

    Sounds to me like he was a Leftist extremist of the McVeigh variety, as well as psychotic. I don’t see why or how those two cannot co-exist in a person’s brain.


  4. The difference is that if an illegal immigrant did this, blaming the act on immigration policy would be at least plausible given her vote.

    Furthermore, the cartels assassinate political figures all the time in Mexico (something like 12 Mayors last year alone, and that’s just the Mayors), so they are at least a threat to continue their wicked ways here. Shooting an American politician and getting her craven compatriots to back down on immigration policy is hardly out of the question.

  5. MKULTRA is mentioned around the fringes of the net..

    They focus on his stone cold act, and his obvious training indicated by his accuracy…

    Isn’t it also convenient that Pima was chosen by the organizers..

    Isn’t it also convenient that Pima didn’t post any police at all.. (I remember a certain Copt Church that was left unguarded)


    There is this to consider..

  6. Liberals’ comments on the news stories about this catastrophe call to mind a line from Hemingway’s Francis Macomber story — “He felt as though he had opened the wrong door in a hotel and seen something shameful.” I collected invective from the comments on two stories at thedailybeast.com and stopped when I had a page and a half’s worth. “Right Wing Nut Jobs,” “pistol-packing Tea Baggers,” “halfwitted rednecks,” “slavering, drooling,mindless minions at [Palin’s] command,” “these monsters,” “these KKKreeps” — a computerized version of one of Orwell’s imaginary “two minutes’ hate” rallies from “1984.” Add to that the exhortation of a “veteran Democratic operative” who told politico.com that the White House “needs to deftly pin this on the tea partiers.” Such rabid rage and hyena-like opportunism stands in sharp contrast to what happened in the aftermath of self-proclaimed “Soldier of Allah” Nidal Malik Hasan’s mass murder of American GIs at Fort Hood last year. Mainstream journalists and politicians of both parties did everything possible to avoid condemning Islam and its adherents, even after Hasan’s detailed Power Point presentation citing verse after Qur’anic verse to justify violent jihad came to light. The left’s reaction to this dreadful incident makes my hair stand on end. You wonder where such hyperpartisanship is going to lead this country. A hundred and fifty years ago, it led it into a conflagration.

  7. Thank you, PatriotUSA!

    randian —

    You misunderstand what I am saying.

    Yes, if an illegal alien had shot Rep. Giffords, a political motive would be distinctly possible. Similarly, it’s conceivable that someone could shoot her because of her vote for health care reform (although then you’d have to assume the person who did it was at least fairly deranged).

    The argument isn’t that there might not be political motives. I am saying that the political motives are always assumed and assigned, long before any facts come in. And then, when the facts do come in, they are bent and twisted and stretched to fit the theories about political motive.

    Because the Left controls almost all major organs of the media, and because Fox really does try to be “balanced”, this means that the dominant meme is always: “Right-wing extremism caused this.” The effort to support this meme will continue until overwhelming, conclusive evidence emerges showing that it cannot be true.

    The prototype is the Beltway Sniper back in 2002. Remember the “white supremacist” who did that?

    Even after a black Muslim was arrested, the media resisted revealing that his new surname was “Muhammad” for as long as they could.

    The Republicans are no better. Given the opportunity, they would do exactly the same sort of thing. Our political culture has become so debased and degraded that no one knows how to do business any other way.

    A real change would come about if the media would just report the information as it came in, and the pundits would refuse to speculate about motives until investigative reporters and/or the police had dug up something resembling facts.

    I can dream, can’t I?

  8. Baron,

    What do you think of this?

    I think it might be a new form of ‘Richard Warman’ precedent setting for hate laws in Oklahoma…

    I’m focused on the fact that the 9 page letter wasn’t published publicly.. who denies themselves support from the anti-jihad community on purpose..

    From all the information provided, this Mr. Harrison would be aware of our existence..


  9. The conservatives are going to be made to pay for this shooting. Democrats are going to attempt to pass more laws to prevent anything like this from happening again.

    This will only build more barriers between us and our elected representatives. A relationship already strained because our elected representatives ignored what the population of the US wanted last year and passed health care over our veto. They were not listening to us then, why the hell should they now, particullarly after one of their own has been felled?

    We do not have a moderate President. We cannot expect a moderate reaction.

  10. I was reading some of the insane comments on this topic over at the Daily Mail. My favorite was a woman (English) who claimed the “White Supremacists” were far more of a threat and far more dangerous then Al Queda, and have been woefully overlooked! I wrote a comment alluding to the fact that no one in America (except for deluded people like herself) walk around in daily fear of Neo-Nazi attacks. Of course the DM didnt post it. How do you argue with people like that? They are so divorced from reality its laughable. Neo-Nazis running wild in America?

    There was an old Simpsons episode where Grandpa Simpson is a sailor on JFKs PT boat back in WW2. JFK is standing at the head of the boat practicing his future famous Berlin speech and says “Ich bin ein Berliner” whereupon Grandpa Simpson after hearing this goes beserk and states “He’s a Nazi! Get him!”, and the sailors beat the Hell out of him. This is what this Neo-Nazi paranoia reminds me of. Something straight out of a comic book!

  11. I’m skipping forward because when I watched just a bit of the shooter’s video I remembered a video made while my oldest son was still in high school with the same sound track (he is now a Lt. in the Navy). I watchd it a number of times and it never ceased to bring tears to my eyes for several reasons.
    That said, it was not a raving of a lunatic. Rather, a patriotic rendition of the same sound track.


  12. … based on his writings and the accounts of people who are acquainted with him, Jared Lee Loughner has no coherent political philosophy whatsoever. [emphasis added]

    This is the core issue and one that will likely go completely ignored. Not even the political orientation of the shooter is as important. Rest assured that Liberals more often indulge in philosophical incoherence but it is a trait that manifests clear across the political spectrum.

    While such philosophical matters are best taught at home, certain key elements can successfully be communicated through regular public education. Critical analysis being one of the most vital faculties needed to fully assess the barrage of manure that parades as fact these days.

    Hesperado: Apparently, Loughner was also an atheist and a 911 Truther.

    What an unimaginably toxic combination. While I refuse to smear Atheism with Loughner’s sins, stripping out a huge portion of the human spiritual experience can leave a gaping void ready to be crammed with whatever is most handy. When one considers what our media puts closest at hand, the pieces begin to come together.

    I used to criticize a Syrian Christian friend for her virulent hatred of Muslims. As I educated myself about Islam, so many of her objections were made clear that it became very difficult to censure her views. We were discussing the spectacular moral vacuum required to carry out a bomb vest attack and her response was:


    Loughner was just such an empty jar and his own psychosis eventually packed it chock full of stray ideas and irreconcilable perceptions or predigested media pap. His own ability to correctly interpret information of any sort is obviously questionable at best. As is the case with so many Liberals, cognitive dissonance lurks in the background like some sort of éminence grise, whispering into their ears who knows what sort of distorted rubbish. A sterling indicator of this is Loughner’s “9-11 Truther” inclinations. “9-11 Truthers” make those who question Obama’s birthright look like Nobel Laureate scholars.

    She also described him as having a lot of friends “until he got alcohol poisoning in ’06” and dropped out of school.

    Alcohol poisoning? Do you know how much alcohol you have to drink, typically very fast, to achieve that level of toxicity? Near-fatal binge drinking is the hallmark of morally void individuals for whom almost any activity is more attractive than the onerous homework of introspection and autoscopic thought.

    Rarely does an iota of coherent philosophy come without near-agonistic levels of personal inspection and self-inventory. It’s often a rather uncomfortable process that is exceptionally unappealing to all but the most determined individuals. Loughner clearly falls outside of that category.

    joe six-pack: Democrats are going to attempt to pass more laws to prevent anything like this from happening again.

    This is a perverted self-fulfilling prophecy. Antagonize the electorate beyond all endurance, nurture the very worst suspicions (e.g., Bush behind the 9-11 atrocity), then cry bloody murder and rant about gun control when such drooling cognitive dissonance blossoms into violence against politicians in general for their malfeasance.

    This will only build more barriers between us and our elected representatives.

    Or, more likely, serve as an excuse to erect even more obstructions to direct contact between the electorate and its representatives. That’s all we need, politicians that are even more out of touch with the voters.

    They were not listening to us then, why the hell should they now, particularly after one of their own has been felled?

    As Obama’s one time White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said:

    “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

  13. Zenster,

    You have hit the nail on the head, as you so often do.

    A moral and spiritual vacuum sucks in whatever detritus is at hand.

    In addition to that, we live in a fallen world, and there have been evildoers, madmen, and senseless acts of violence for as long as there have been people. That is never going to change.

    It is sheer madness to believe that it will ever be possible to perfect human nature or to perfect the system of government so that such things can no longer happen.

    See: Why modern liberals are 100% wrong about everything – this is the error at the root of modern liberalism.

  14. I was reading through an old copy of Policy Magazine (put out by the Centre for Independent Studies), and there was an article (a compact version is available here) relating to Muslim extremists, that they found society humiliating and thus swore to destroy it.

    I think the same can be said of Jared Loughner.

    Also, I was reading the comments at Media Matters (via Gateway Pundit) and it’s interesting how invective their comments are (and generally twisting too). Perhaps they would do well to refrain from being so shrill themselves before they condemn us for being loud.

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