Ed Driscoll

Breeding Men Who Riot

James Delingpole of the London Telegraph does not mince words: “The Arizona shootings were like Kwanzaa come early for America’s liberal fascists:”

How sick do you have to be to start making political capital out of the killing of six people including a nine-year old girl, long before anyone has the remotest clue what the murderer’s motives were, or his political affiliations, or his state of mind?

Not sick at all, to judge by the response of so many US Tweeters in the immediate aftermath of the Arizona shootings. When you’re a liberal, it seems, cloying sanctimoniousness, grotesque moral posturing, double standards, hypocrisy and cynical, malevolent smearing all come as naturally and healthily as breathing.

As Toby Harnden reports, barely were the bodies cold when the liberal fascists started pointing the finger of blame: it was Sarah Palin’s fault, of course; Sarah Palin’s and Glenn Beck’s and, of course, the Tea Party’s. Definitely not a crazed killing spree by a deeply confused young man, no, sirree. After all, as Rahm Emmanuel would say, you must “never let a crisis go to waste.”

Speaking of rhetoric of those associated with Obama, Jim Hoft runs down some of the president’s more extreme language over the years:

And further examples of violent rhetoric amongst the left in general here.

At Ace of Spades today, Gabriel Malor highlights the “Disgusting Partisanship on Display After Shooting:”

When the news broke yesterday that there was a shooting at an event for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the response for most was immediate: concern, prayers, and hope that the perpetrator is caught immediately and punished severely. Politics didn’t matter in that moment; if someone shoots at one of our elected leaders, that person is an enemy of us all. The response for a few others was equally immediate: Sarah Palin.

This has become a recurring pattern for liberal commentators over the past few years. Something bad happens and somehow, without any evidence at all, it is Palin’s fault and, more broadly, the Tea Party’s. That was the first reaction of Markos Moulitsas and Matt Yglesias yesterday. It was widely taken up by the left side of the blogosphere who managed to convince themselves that Gabrielle Giffords had been shot on the express orders of Sarah Palin. Not kidding.

Remember, all this liberal posturing about Sarah Palin’s gun rhetoric took place before we knew anything about the shooter. In fact, at that time we didn’t even know how many shooters there were. Giffords had been reported dead, then alive, then unknown. For a while it was unclear whether she had been the target or the federal judge who was also killed. This uncertainty about the facts went on for most of the afternoon. But liberals kept a steady faith: this is all Sarah Palin’s fault.

How is it that people who endlessly protest that they are part of the “reality-based community” can’t even wait for the facts before proclaiming the state of reality? The truth is, liberals were posturing about Palin’s “extremist rhetoric” long before the shooting, so it doesn’t matter what the facts on the ground are or how disconnected she ultimately is from the event. She’s still at fault.

And that’s what happened as the facts slowly emerged about Jared Lee Loughner. Based on his internet sites, he appeared to be nuttier than Planters and it seems that his actions were based not on anything he saw or heard from Sarah Palin, but rather his own mental illness. There is no evidence, whatsoever, that he was a devotee of Palin or a Tea Partier. No evidence that he ever came into contact with the “extremist rhetoric” on the Right at all.

Doesn’t matter. Liberals have assumed that he heard “right-wing vitriol”, that it motivated him, and that as a result, all charged political speech should be condemned. This makes no sense at all because, at this point, we don’t know anything about whether Loughner heard any of this “dangerous” rhetoric, much less whether it motivated him. And so every newspaper this weekend and all the cable news shows are fretting about “extremist rhetoric”. Without any evidence, whatsoever, that political rhetoric had anything to do with the shooting.

Maybe we’ll find out he was active in the Tea Party. But I doubt it. His favorite books included “Mein Kampf” and the “Communist Manifesto.” He favorited a flag-burning on YouTube. Not your typical Tea Partier, anyway.

I imagine we’re going to have a few years now where candidates and campaigns are going to tiptoe carefully around charged rhetoric and the newspapers will forever be linking Giffords and Palin for an explanation. Entirely without evidence. Imagine that.

As Malor writes, “Liberals have used an unrelated event to confirm their liberal ideas and score low-hanging fruit off of an atrocity.” William A. Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog runs down some of the recent earlier examples of the left doing just that:

Who knows what evidence will come forward in coming days, but based on what we know now, the attempt to blame Palin and opponents of Obama for the shooting is every bit as delusional as Loughner’s attempt to blame government mind control.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have seen this type of reaction.  The meme that opponents of Obama are crazy and dangerous has been an explicit Democratic Party campaign strategy for over two years.  Here is just a partial list of events in which the left-wing and Democratic Party media operation has immediately blamed right-wing rhetoric, only to be proven wrong when the facts finally came out:  Bill SparkmanAmy BishopThe Fort Hood ShooterThe IRS Plane Crasher, The Cabbie Stabbing, and The Pentagon Shooter.

The facts will come out about the shooting and murder by Loughner.  Until then, we’ll be subjected to the sickness of people who seek to use the crime to their political advantage and who will worry about the facts later on, if ever.

This is CNN, Byron York adds:

After reporting that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik had condemned what Dupnik called “the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer turned to congressional reporter Jessica Yellin for analysis.  The sheriff “singled out some of the political rhetoric, as you point out, in creating the environment that allowed this kind of instance to happen,” Yellin told Blitzer.  “Even though, as you point out, this suspect is not cooperating with investigators, so we don’t know the motive.  President Obama also delivered that message, saying it’s partly the political rhetoric that led to this.  So that’s why we want to bring up one of the themes that’s burning up the social media right now.  On Twitter and Facebook, there is a lot of talk, in particular, about Sarah Palin.  As you might recall, back in March of last year, when the health care vote was coming to the floor of the House and this was all heating up, Palin tweeted out a message on Twitter saying ‘common sense conservatives, don’t retreat — instead reload.’  And she referred folks to her Facebook page.  On that Facebook page was a list of Democratic members she was putting in crosshairs, and Gabrielle Giffords was one of those in the crosshairs.”

Yellin noted that Palin had “posted a statement on Facebook saying that ‘my sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.  On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families and for peace and justice.'”  Yellin continued: “And I should point out that Republican leaders in Washington have said that this is not a partisan issue, this is about violence, as have some tea party groups.  But clearly this is a moment to talk about our political rhetoric.”

“It certainly is,” Blitzer agreed.  “But the question is, is there any evidence that the suspected shooter in this particular case was a Sarah Palin fan, read Sarah Palin’s website, was a member on Facebook, watched her tweets, or anything like that?”

“None at all,” Yellin responded.  “And there is no evidence that this was even inspired by rage over health care, broadly.  So there is no overt connection between Sarah Palin, health care, and the [shootings].”

Indeed, there is no “overt” or any other sort of connection between Loughner and Palin. If such evidence came to light, it would certainly be news.  But without that evidence, and after a brief caveat, the CNN group went back to discussing the theory that Loughner acted out of rage inspired by Palin and other Republicans.  Conclusions were jumped to all around.

Glenn Reynolds spots this item at the New York Times:

Another former high school classmate said that Mr. Loughner may have met Representative Giffords, who was shot in the head outside the Safeway supermarket, several years ago.

“As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,” the former classmate, Caitie Parker, wrote in a series of Twitter feeds Saturday. “I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He became very reclusive.”

“He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in ’07, asked her a question & he told me she was ‘stupid & unintelligent,’ ” she wrote.

As Glenn adds, “So: ‘Quite liberal,’ and didn’t like Giffords in 2007, before anyone had heard of Sarah Palin or the Tea Party. But it’s their fault.”

Patterico adds, “And let’s not forget about the left’s long and storied history of violent political rhetoric.”

Or to put it another way, “If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.”