Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Rhetoric of Violence

A list by no means complete and in no particular order:

1. From the campaign calendar of Jesse Kelly, the Tea Party Republican who ran against Gabrielle Giffords last fall: "Sat, 6/12/10, 10:00 AM - Get on Target for Victory in November - Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office - Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly"

2. Republican senatorial candidate Sharon Angle, who said she wanted to "cure" Nevada of Sen. Harry Reid and said she knew a Second Amendment "remedy": "I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who's in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical...."

3. Florida GOP congressional candidate Allen West, talking to a crowd of Tea Partiers about his opponent last fall, incumbent Dem Ron Klein: "Let me tell you what you've got to do. You've got to make the fellow scared to come out of his house. That's the only way that you're going to win. That's the only way you're going to get these people's attention."

4. Someone dropped a gun at a Gabrielle Giffords event in August 2009. Also that August, another man brought a gun to a town hall meeting by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) in Memphis. On August 18, 2009, at least a dozen men were carrying weapons outside the Phoenix convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech. The week before that in 2009, during a presidential health care town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., a man carrying a sign reading "It is time to water the tree of liberty" stood outside with a pistol strapped to his leg.

5. On the May 17, 2005, broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program, Mr. Beck said: "Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"

6. Bill O'Reilly mentioned Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller on his radio show 29 times between 2005 and the doctor's assassination in his church on Sunday, May 31, 2009, nicknaming the doctor "Tiller the Killer."

7. In August 2010, a day after talk radio host Laura Schlessinger quit her show, following criticism for using the N-word repeatedly in a broadcast, Sarah Palin told her: "Don't retreat ... reload!" Subsequently, Palin used that line repeatedly in public rallies.

8. On March 4, 2010, James L. Schmidlin placed a call from Tennessee to the office of Democratic Congressman John Boccieri, in which he threatened to set fire to Boccieri's home. (Schmidlin has actually been charged with a crime.)

9. On March 20, 2010, at the Tea Party Republican rally against health-care reform on Capitol Hill, several protestors carried signs reading "If [Sen. Scott] Brown Can't Stop It, A Browning Can." Another: "Vote No Or Else!" Another: "Kill the Bill or Face the November Slaughter!"

10. In September 2010, Justin Carl Moose, 26, of Concord, NC, was arrested by the FBI after posting tips on bomb-making and making threats against Planned Parenthood on his Facebook page. According to the FBI, he had planned the bombing of an abortion clinic in North Carolina.

11. "I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that [health reform] bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country." --Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, November 2, 2009, on the floor of the U.S. House. "All the promises [President Obama] has kept have endangered our lives." --Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, on the Bill Lumaye Show, NewsRadio 680 WPTF, Jan. 5, 2010. "We're talking about four years. If we don't take this country back from the leftists who are running it now, we will lose our country." ---Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, to the Iredell County Republican Party's Reagan Day Dinner, Feb. 6, 2010

Not that any of this would have anything whatsoever to do with influencing the mind of a Jared Lee Loughner. No never.


anonymous poster said...

Strange that your research didn't find any excesses in rhetoric from Democrats...

One of the first things that popped up when I looked was this quote from the Oct Scranton newspaper quoting Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski.

I give you credit though Jerry, you don't pretend to be objective!

Paul Kanjorski on Fla Gov Rep Candidate...

"That Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida," Mr. Kanjorski said. "Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he's running for governor of Florida. He's a millionaire and a billionaire. He's no hero. He's a damn crook. It's just we don't prosecute big crooks."

Read more:

Brushfire said...

Anonymous - The whole general tenor of the right-wing tribe is slanted toward violence, selfishness, and greed, cloaked in self-righteous piety. (Sorry Mike, it's true). They motivate the base with smear and fear tactics and sometimes they motivate the base just a little too far. I think of all the right-wing terrorists starting with the abortion clinic bombers, the Federal Building bombers, the man who shot up the Unitarian church in Tennessee, and many many more. I suspect that people who support peace, equality, working together for the general welfare,sharing with the weak and less fortunate, and gun control, tend not to use violence as tactics. Just sayin....

Anne said...

I believe Digby says it best:

"There are certainly left wing people who spew incendiary and violent rhetoric. But they are few and far between compared to the drumbeat of hatred and consequential acts of violence we've seen over the past two years and none who make the kind of profit at it that the right wing noise machine does. There is no comparison, it's ridiculous to frame it that way. And it ends up distorting the truth, which is that we have a violent right wing political movement developing in this country with the help and acquiescence of a major political party which refuses to police its own.

This is the kind of thing Democratic office holders have been facing at every public meeting since Barack Obama was elected."

Beth said...

Can anyone name a far-left liberal who has opened fire on people for political reasons? I'm sure there must be an example, but I can't think of one.

Ruth said...

Can we consider the Tree of Liberty watered already?

Mike D. said...


Che Guevara?

Mike D. said...


Or this one!


Brushfire said...

So Mike, other than a tweet from a putative aquaintance, what in Jared's background qualifies him as a liberal? My dictionary defines liberal as open-minded, tolerant, generous, favoring progressive politics and governmental protection of civil liberties. Don't you think that definition automatically disqualifies anyone who uses semiautomatic weapons to slaughter a bunch of people.
Have you ever listened to or read writings by Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter? These are the "heroes" of the Tea Party movement. And they unceasingly strive to foment hatred, anger, and disunity.
I don't blame the people who call themselves Tea Partiers for this horrible shooting. I do blame them for supporting horrible, stupid, and vicious spokesmen.

oatz said...

Famous Quotes....."They bring a knife...We bring a gun", "Get in their Faces", "I don't want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I'm angry", "Hit back twice as hard", "We talk to these folks...So I know whose ass to kick!", " Hand to hand combat", "Punish your enemies.", and "I am itching for a fight!"

Which Sarah Palin Tea Partier Hate filled racists spoke these words?

Right President Obama!

Independent Mom said...

Let's go with something a little better-informed than ONE classmate who thought Loughner was a liberal. From the AP background story:

>Comments from friends and former classmates bolstered by Loughner's own Internet postings have painted a picture of a social outcast with almost indecipherable beliefs steeped in mistrust and paranoia.

While it may be tempting for one end of the political spectrum or the other to consider anyone with "indecipherable beliefs" to belong to the OTHER end, the only thing we can really say is this guy has a severe mental illness and apparently no one close to him got him into treatment. And that's a tragedy.

Olevet69 said...

We on the left share in this. We have allowed the loons on the right to inflame their fringe. The right embraced the rhetoric, which spawned the tea baggers and partiers. Buoyed by our lack of response or "message", the loons refined their message, found backing in big money, and went to work. Their cultivation by Palin and Fox network has brought us to this moment. The larger context of this will be less contact with our representatives, the insulation of our political process, and no public meetings without some sort of screening. The right has been excruciatingly successful in dumbing down America. You should be proud.

Mike D. said...


"We on the left share in this."

I must admit, reading the first line of your post greatly encouraged me that an awakening had begun. Sadly, every line after your initial, thoughtful statement was simply a tirade about how it's the other guys' fault.

Speaking as a person who had his Constitutional Rights trampled and his life threatened by leftist protesters, I have experienced, first hand, the violent inclinations of the radical left. Add to that calls for violence from La Raza, the head of a New Jersey teachers union, Joseph Coppola, praying for Governor Christie's death, and a host of bloody Socialist revolutions, and it becomes very clear that, in fact, you on the devout left do share in this.

When this stops is not when we can identify violent tendencies in the actions of our opponents, but when we can identify it in the actions of our supporters.

There is plenty of blame to go around, and the Tea Party rhetoric certainly deserves some of that blame.

But so does the rhetoric of your side. And of mine, for that matter (though I'm never quite sure which side is my side).

Olevet69 said...

My comments are meant to awaken those who want peace and progress without bloodshed, without empty rhetoric, and with the hope that all the world can share the same desires. It is my opinion, that the power and money residing in the hands of 2% of the world, makes that ideal some quixotic at best, but without that dream, I die.

practically speaking said...

REst in peace, Oldvet.

Olevet69 said...

Practically -

that RIP comment is reserved for write like you have given up! I struggle not only for me, but for all.

Brushfire said...

olevet69 - "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." Langston Hughes.
It's people such as yourself who give me hope.

bettywhite said...

Mike, I must have missed those "bloody socialist revolutions" here in America. And Che is the only example you could think of? How bout someone in this country, in this decade??

Mike D. said...


I don't play that game, as it is endless, tireless, and it is a debate trap. I give an example. You say "is that all you could think of?". Then I give another example and the cycle repeats itself. If you want research done, please feel free to do it for yourself. I don't work for you.

bettywhite said...

Hmmm. I think I hit a nerve...