Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords

In the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, make no mistake: we have a mere taste of the deep river of know-nothing sewage that flows just under the American surface that is about to gush into view with the Far Right having having made their takeover of one house of our Congress a reality. This is the "Second Amendment remedy" they've been rooting for. The shooter may be nuts. Who pushed him? Who created the climate where these actions were thinkable?

In the 1970s and 80s I was a Far Right instigator, a leader of the (then new) anti-abortion movement. I describe why I left this movement in my book Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back. My late father Francis Schaeffer has been called the father of the Religious Right. I -- following the Evangelical "holy tradition" of North Korea-style nepotism -- was for a time his sidekick. Together we helped set the table for the feast of reactionary hate America is dining on today as the White Far Right/Neoconservative War Machine and the Religious non-reality-based anti-modern Permanent American Lynch Mob hits America in the mouth for daring to elect our first black president and other "liberals."

Who is the Republican Far Right and what do they want? To understand our Republican future -- check out our recent Republican past. These are the "patriots" who gave us:

  • Two non-stop wars that needlessly killed over 5,000 Americans

  • Replaced our military with a mercenary killers-for-hire dirty world of "contractors" that now outnumber our men and women in every American military operation

  • Destroyed our economy by deregulating business and the banks

  • Launched an anti-gay "gays-choose-to-be-gay" mythology on America leading to the further oppression of gay men and women

  • Put secretive Far Right religious operatives including the "C-Street" ("Family") in positions of influence through members of congress who are in their pockets

  • Aided and abetted the death to gays legislation in Uganda

  • Tried to launch a race and religion war in America by stirring up hate against the Muslim minority

  • Have tried to turn non-Latino Americans into a Latino-fearing xenophobic anti-immigrant mob

  • Created the climate wherein abortion providers were first labeled "baby killers" then murdered

  • Lied about the President, saying he isn't American, is a Muslim, is the Antichrist

  • Unleashed a plague of guns on America feeding one murder spree after another

  • Struck down over a century of legal rulings limiting the buying and selling of elections by corporations, giving us a "new" and "improved" system of unlimited secret contributions to eviscerate even the pretense of actual democracy and finally hand America over to the super wealthy -- maybe forever

  • Run candidates for Congress who are calling for the violent overthrow of the American Government should they fail at the ballot box

  • Supported anti-science, anti-education biblical mythology

  • Backed candidates who want to force rape victims to carry their pregnancies to term

  • Fought people fighting global warming and plunged us into an irrevocable date with global death while reaping short term profits for the coal and oil industry

  • Put the American future in hock to Far Right Zionists forever by backing the settlers in the State of Isreal and by trying to undermine peace iniatives

  • Put America in hock to Far Right Evangelicals who are rooting for the "return of Christ" and the Apocalypse...

  • And with the Tea Party Republicans in Congress now you haven't seen anything yet.
    To change the way things are we need to understand why at any given moment about a third of our population doesn't care about what is true -- or even fact-based -- but instead live life informed by self-reinforcing beliefs which are proudly non-fact-based and rooted in deep-seated resentment that can't be cured because what is resented never actually happened.

    Stop the flood of putrid moral failure that is about to engulf us. Get into the "minds" of the killers, into the heads sort of people who saw Sarah Palin's cross hairs targeting an American congresswoman and decided to pull an actual trigger. "Listen to the killer's "thoughts" of the sort of person who gunned down cops in Pittsburgh because he said that since Obama was elected "the government" would take away his guns...

    I hope Obama fails... watch Fox News, put a Psalm 109 bumper sticker on my car calling for the death of the President, carry a loaded weapon to a political rally to show them we will keep our Second Amendment options open, put enemies in the crosshairs of a rifle scope on Facebook, Obama isn't a real American, he's Muslim, He's a communist, like Hitler, like Stalin, Death Panels, watch Fox News, government takeover of health care, watch Fox News, return to the gold standard, watch Fox News, buy gold, the Fed is evil, the United Nations is evil, Jesus will come back soon, the gays chose to be that way, the gays want to take over America, watch Fox News, we're here to take back our country, Obama is a white racist, there will be Second Amendment remedies, government is the problem, there is no global warming, watch Fox News, if Obama is elected he'll take our guns, watch Fox News, Jesus is coming back, watch Fox News, Obama hates America, watch Fox News, Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, buy guns, watch Fox News, buy more guns, Jesus is coming back, one world government is on the way, stand with Israel, Jesus is coming back, global warming is a conspiracy to take our freedoms away, stop those Mexican immigrants now, send them back, watch Fox News, say no to citizenship for immigrant's children, even ones born here, buy guns, buy gold, kill a judge, kill a liberal, kill a congresswoman...

    And the Far Right/Fox News reaction?

    Ooops! This has nothing to do with us!

    Take down the Facebook page that put the victim in the rifle cross hairs!

    This is a tragedy!

    Call for prayers for the victims!

    We were just kidding!... Until the next time that is...


    Bad Catholic said...

    I don't think your post is really fair. This kid was obviously an unbalanced mentally ill individual. From information coming out this morning, he appears to be an anarchist neo-nazi, if there is such a thing.

    The brutal truth is that there are nuts everywhere, regardless of politics. I serve as the Traffic Court Judge in our little town. I was a felony prosecutor for almost ten years and was never afraid of a defendant. Since becoming the traffic judge, several times I have asked the police to walk me to my car because of Defendants who were going ballistic because I found them guilty of speeding or running a stop sign. Surprisingly, some of the most violent people I have encountered are senior citizens who think they are going to lose their drivers license. Crazies are everywhere.

    I think that you are right that some of the right wing rhetoric needs to be wratcheted down. I also think that some of the things which come out of Fundamentalist pulpits needs to be wratcheted down.

    Let's face it - America is a violent society. This is because we still have the Frontier mentality. We are nation based upon guns and self-sufficiency. In fact, Protestant fundamentalism is pretty much a Frontier Religion - all I need is me, Jesus, and a Bible and don't want anybody to tell me what to think.

    While I agree that Sarah Palin had a poor choice of words about being "locked and loaded, etc." This tragedy is not the fault of the religious right or the Republican Party or the Tea Party or Sarah Palin. Someone crazy who has access to guns will latch ahold to any reason to act out. If wasn't neo-Nazi stuff it would be something else.

    dcouch said...

    Thanks, Frank. Giffords is one of only two, that Sarah Palin "targetted," who managed to win reelection. The "second amendment remedy" has been repeated over and over like a bad commercial. The commercial had literal consequences.

    Kathleen Valentine said...

    Thank you, Frank. As always, you got it perfectly. The shooter may have been crazy but crazy people don't go on shooting rampages without some belief that they are in the right to do so. This guy got plenty of encouragement.

    Frank Schaeffer said...

    "Fair"? ask that 9 year old about fair. Will Glenn Beck, Palin et al bring her back? Why make excuses for the rabid right? They have all the blame they deserve and then some. Where were they protesting their followers bringing loaded assault weapons to political rallies? Did tyhey condemn the NRA for sending out the fliers that led to the deaths of police officers in PA when another "deranged" man shot the cops saying he feared Obama would take away his weapons, just as the NRA flyer had claimed? Deranged, but who pushed the deranged person in that direction? When is enough enough?

    Jerry Critter said...

    At one time we had mental health facilities to help people like Loughner. They were taken off the streets and treated. Then along came Ronald Reagan. He destroyed the mental health system in this country. We are now paying the price. The crazies vote and kill.

    Chuck said...

    It was reported the perpetrator was a liberal.

    He read the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

    Trying to link right-wing conservatives with this horrific act makes you guilty of the crimes you accuse them of. Bulletin - Sarah Palin shot no one.

    Perhaps previous generations made mistakes, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt. I believe your father was just trying to do his best. When you reach the point of complete perfection, then you have the right to be critical.

    In the meantime, I implore you to forgive him.

    Denise Oliver-Velez said...

    Thank you. They are the bow of bigotry. Kids like the one who did the deed are simply the arrows shot forth to do their dirty-work.

    Michael said...

    Under the guise of "free speech" Palin but out a strong suggestion, this makes her just as blame worthy as if she provided the directions to the representatives home. This man was rejected by the Army as mentally unstable and even suspended from the community college he was attending because of his mental instability...yet, he was able to purchase a weapon? Going back to Palin & Co., under *normal* circumstances, wouldn't putting someone's mug on a picture with crosshairs and then suggesting that everyone "take aim" might be called instigation? How on earth do you justify this? If this were a Republican and the shooter was a Muslim...well, I could see a rendition flight in order.

    Frank, thanks for the coverage. Your'e the man.

    Plum St. Chili said...

    I agree. You have it exactly right. As Sheriff Dupnick said: Words have consequences. Thank you.

    swiftjetpilotsfortruth said...

    This is a mere bump on the right wing rethuglifundie madness that consumes 'conservatives.' Their decades of failed policies drive their Psychotic Thinking, but is not at the bottom of the abyss that is their souls/hearts. That is a place none of them have the courage or integrity to enter and heal. It is far easier to blame the others, those outside their bubble of truthiness. Those others are responsible, and need to be destroyed, eliminated, killed, erased from earth. And afterward, all can be blessed by their particular brand of jesus. Amen!!!

    morb320 said...

    @ Chuck--You wouldn't be as focused on trying to identify the nut that shot/killed these people as being a liberal vs being a member of the rw, if you had one ounce of compassion for those who lost their lives or were injured as a result of his actions.

    Furthermore, I'm not buying your, or anyone else's, justifications for this act of violence. Sure, the guy has had mental issues, but not one politician on the left has been as active in promoting violent solutions to political problems as rw politicians and mouthpieces. If you're a member of the rw, I have one question for you: Where was your voice screaming against all of the violent rhetoric, actions, and imagery that were being presented to the American public as being legitimate means to solve political problems in a democracy?

    I'll answer this rhetorical question. You were giving silent consent to the perpetrators. Now, you're here chastizing Mr. Schaeffer and giving him unsolicited advice. I recognize you very well. You're the same type that stood by while I lived the first 18 years of my life under segregation in this country, and you said nothing as the dogs were unleashed, lives were threatened, lives were taken, and hatred and violence were accepted as reasonable ways to keep your fellow Americans living in a state of apartheid in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    I am not listening to any of the after the fact explanations, justifications, and/or "condolences." Those who love their country and act in its best interests never entertain the thought of using violence to influence public opinion and win elections, and anyone who endorses this kind of behavior and begins to backpedal when that behavior bears negative consequences, is showing clearly that he/she knows deep down inside that he/she contributed to, or supported, the behavior and is now searching for some way to distance him/herself from the negative consequences associated with having done it.

    As for your claim of Mr. Schaeffer trying to link this to the rw, I want to remind you of Congressman John Lewis' warning to Palin and McCain in 2008 during the presidential campaign. Congressman Lewis told them that should violence be the result of Palin's extreme rhetoric, that they both would be as guilty as the person(s) that pulled the trigger. McCain demanded and apology from Congressman Lewis, but he didn't receive it. Congressman Lewis was right not to apologize to McCain because Congressman Lewis had firsthand experience in dealing with the effects of extreme rhetoric. The trigger has now been pulled, and Mr. Schaeffer is correct. The right owns this.

    It has been my experience that it is easier for someone who hasn't been a target of violence to dismiss, or justify, the behavior because they have no skin in the game, but it's a dangerous game to play because no one knows when he/she could become a member of the next group that is targeted.

    Chuck said...

    @morb320 - How do you conclude I have no passion for the victims of this act? You claim you “recognize me very well”. You have not judged me correctly. How can you make such an assertion?

    You asked, “Where was your voice screaming…”. I submit that screaming is part of the problem. We make too much of our right of free speech and have too long ignored our solemn obligation to listen. You yourself said “I am not listening…” and that is a big part of the problem.

    We need to listen more to one another.

    Morrison said...

    The shooter was an atheist, Frank.

    And the rhetoric of the atheists, with dozens and dozens of websites calling believers, with people like Dawkins decrying the "notorious Jewish Lobby" in TGD, (the congresswoman was Jewish) and haters like Sam Harris blaming the Jews for their own victimhood CANNOT BE IGNORED.

    As far as the Endless Wars go, OBAMA has not stopped them.

    Morrison said...

    morb, if compassion was just the issue here, why did Frank start out with blaming the "far right"?

    He didn't start out with compassion.

    And he wasn't even right, the shooter was an atheist liberal,

    Morrison said...

    More Americans died in Afghanistan in 2010 that in any year of the war, and Obama has even reneged on his "end date".

    fwallbank said...

    I agree with you, Frank. I think that the hatred by the Right, for anything Obama wants to do, finds a place to shout it on FOX News. Stopping ObamaCare, and now repealing it has been their monotonous voice for too long, and they have created anger among many people by lying about ObamaCare and making people afraid of it. Congressmen on the Right publicly say there's no place for guns at Tea Party rallys - or any political rally - but privately want to win at any cost. Violence is encouraged by the Right on FOX news, just by telling lies. Gabrielle Giffords was concerned about the violence done to her offices during the Health Care debate. There is a definite connection between the lies on the Right & the violence done to Gabrielle & those unfortunate enough to have been in close proximity last Saturday.

    dcouch said...

    The assassin's writings are clearly attributable to right wing beliefs. Check out NY Times profile.

    Mr. Loughner states, “No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver.” He also argues that “the current government officials are in power for their currency” and he uses his videos to display text about becoming a treasurer of “a new money system.”

    The position, for instance, that currency not backed by a gold or silver standard is worthless is a hallmark of the far right and the militia movement, said Mark Potok, who directs research on hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    “That idea is linked closely to the belief among militia supporters that the Federal Reserve is a completely private entity engaged in ripping off the American people,” Mr. Potok said.

    But Mr. Loughner also posits in his Web postings the idea that the government is seeking to control people through rules and structure of grammar and language.

    Morrison said...

    He also said, about the currency, that he "isn't going to trust in any God", beause he wanted "in god we Trust", off the money.

    Thats atheistis lefty propaganda.

    And speaking of hate, thee is a lot of it being stirred up here against conservatives and religion in general.

    After all, thats what the New Atheists are all about..."religion the root of all eviL" and similar slogans.

    Who all are ya kidding?

    Except yourselves.

    Morrison said...

    That about controlling controlling society through Grammar and Language is right from the athiest leftists Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault.

    Morrison said...

    Frank, ask your new idol Obama when he is going to end the Useless Wars!

    Frank Schaeffer said...

    Thanks for the comments, even one's I disagree with here. One point: the right and ONLY the right has steadily supported America's insane gun "laws." Who in their right mind thinks its a good idea to allow someone to carry a hand gun with a 30 round clip? Whoever the killer is or was motivated by, right, left, whatever, why did he have that kind of weapon? Answer: NRA. Who lets the NRA do this, their base. Who is that "base"? Not the left. I own two guns, single shot ten gauge shot gun, single shot .22. Both are used from time to time (rarely) re woodchucks decimating my garden. I don't carry them to political rallies to make a "point" as did some Tea Party folks last summer. I don't think I should have the right to carry a handgun in public as one can in AZ. I don't feel my freedom depends on the "right" to own a weapon with a 30 round clip. Forget the politics for a moment. Gun laws in America are off the rails. Let's start there. How about freedom FROM the sorts of weapons that no one hunts with, that you don't need for home protection, that are only "good" for one thing: MURDER? How about freedom from the NRA?

    Bad Catholic said...

    As someone who has practiced criminal law for twenty years (as a Prosecutor, Defense Attorney and Judge), I have to agree with Mr. Schaeffer that nobody needs an assault rifle or a clip that holds 30 rounds.

    Although I consider myself a conservative, the ONLY thing these types of weapons are for are to kill people. Unless you are involved in a military operation, you don't need a weapon like this.

    However, the biggest culprit in the Arizona tragedy now appears to be a failure in the mental health system in this country. It now takes an act of Congress to get someone involuntarily committed to the mental hospital. Even then, I have seen involuntarily committed persons be almost immediately released from the State Hospital due to budget shortfalls. No matter how violent or deranged, etc... they will usually just give them some "Happy Pills" declare the patient stable and shove them right out the door.

    I hate to say it, but 100 years ago, this kid would have probably been locked up in an insane asylum after his outbursts in class, etc. Now we have gone to the 180 degree opposite extreme and we will not involuntarily commit anybody for any behavior until they actually kill some people.

    My profession has a great deal to do with this state of affairs. We have pushed individual rights to ridiculous extremes so that now everybody is so afraid of lawsuits that they will not take any action when confronted with an obviously disturbed individual.

    Morrison said...

    Frank, if you are so concerned about violence...tell us when OBAMA IS GOING TO END THOSE NEEDLESS WARS?

    Frank Schaeffer said...

    Good point Morrison, having had a Marine shot at in those wars, I'm with you! When Mr. President?

    Dr. President said...

    @Morrison he's ending them, Morrison. You're just choosing to ignore it and act like the far-left version of an extremist.

    Morrison said...

    BS, "doctor".

    He has even called off the so called exit date.

    Man oh man...are you that stupid?

    nycgirlupstate said...

    Thank you, Frank. I've been so sad and angry (but not surprised) since the shooting and it helps to know that there are people who "get it."
    And to morb320 thank you for your comment. I feel exactly the same way.

    Fr. John Whiteford said...

    Now that we know that the gunman was a kook, who if anything, was a liberal, will you be issuing an apology to Sarah Palin for blaming her for inspiring him to do it?

    My father had a gun when he was about 8 years old. They kept a loaded shotgun by the door. This was fairly normal in 1930's America, and yet when Al Capone had several gangsters shot it was such a noteworthy exception that it warranted an entry in the encyclopedia (See "St. Valentine's day massacre"). The problem is not with the guns, or political rhetoric, the problem is the nihilistic culture that liberals have promoted for the past 60 years. We have sown to the wind, and we are reaping the whirlwind.

    Who needs a 30 round clip? How about the mom and pop jewelry store owner in Houston who recently saved his wife, and his livelihood in a shootout with illegal alien thugs who tried to rob him? If he had only a ten round clip, he would be dead. Criminals don't tend to care about gun laws. Honest people do. Why handicap the honest people?

    The actual influences of the Arizona Shooter

    The progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated primer, 2000-2010

    Pam said...

    @Morrison and everyone else who has tried to shift the blame for the two needless wars from Bush to Obama: 1) President Obama ended the Iraq war in August of 2010...only MSNBC was on hand as the troops left the country under the protective cover of darkness and there was barely a blip on Faux News. 2) President Obama is working hard to also end the war in Afghanistan, but people who really study/understand know that the situation there is very different. Bush's BFF Karsai is very corrupt but he's all we've got right now. Afghanistan borders Pakinstan (where bin Laden is--remember him?) and Pakistan has nukes. We must be VERY VERY careful with Afghanistan.
    So enough with the uninformed RW sound bites...

    Pam said...

    @Fr John Whiteford: that "the shooter was a liberal" is a totally false right-wing talking point that is being repeated verbatim by all of your people. There is even an email from the head of the AZ TeaParty that specifically instructed you to "say" that he was a liberal. The AZ Secretary of State posted the shooter's last voter registration that shows him to be a registered Republican.
    There is NOTHING TRUE that you can post that shows that Democratic or Progressive elected officials, political candidates, party leaders, or talk show hosts EVER called for any kind of violence against fellow Americans they disagree with. That is the difference. There are "fringe groups" on both sides. But the far-right Republican and Tea Party LEADERS and ELECTED OFFICIALS and Rush, Beck, Hannity, Palin, Bachmann, West, Angle, et al have verbalized violence and called for armed resistance against our duly elected government officials.

    Fr. John Whiteford said...

    @Pam: You don't know what you are talking about. The guy was a registered independent who did not vote in the last election. And I posted an entire
    catalogue of violent leftist rhetoric and violent actions, that is thoroughly documented. I provide documented facts. You make assertions. That is the way it usually goes with liberals

    Fr. John Whiteford said...

    Guess who said "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"? Hint, It's the Chicago way.

    Fr. John Whiteford said...

    Guess whose chief of staff "was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Dead! ... Dead! ... Dead!' and plunging the knife into the table after every name."