This is how you destroy civilization.
A Federal Judge and a 9 year old girl shot dead along with at least three other people. A Congresswoman shot in the head, her life hanging on the brink. Six others gravely wounded. All this wrought by an avowed lone wolf right wing terrorist whose delusions sound suspiciously familiar. I have not been the only person who has argued that it was only a matter of time before some fool succeeded in committing this sort of atrocity. Even a cursory examination of what Jared Lee Loughner has recently posted to the web makes it clear who he has been listening to that worked him up so; he has a little knowledge of the Constitution and Federalism, but he mixes it up with paranoia about the CIA and mind control. He is outraged that the currency is not backed by gold or silver and mentions God and is fixated on grammar and literacy. He hates immigrants. Most of what he writes is barely coherent and reads like the rantings of someone suffering from paranoid schizophrenia; however, the same could be said for Sarah Palin. Speaking of Sarah, apparently she scrubbed this image from her webpage but I found it at this article about how Jesse Kelly used eliminationist rhetoric in his campaign against Congresswoman Giffords.
While it may seem that this was the act of a lone nut, I wish to make it clear that this was the act of a “lone wolf” terrorist, a radical who has been inspired to commit a violent act in support of a political group or faction he is not affiliated with in any official way. This is exactly the kind of terrorism advocated by White Supremacists such as Alex Curtis and Tom Metzger for over a decade; far right blogs and forums are filled with encouragement for those who would do violence. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and their ilk have been using their national platforms to amplify the rhetoric of the far right wing and there are so many examples that I wouldn’t even know where to start to link. That Palin and Kelly have tried to scrub evidence of their drawing a crosshairs on Representative Giffords may not prove that they still possess a conscience but perhaps that they still have a rudimentary sense of shame. If that is the case, there may still be hope for them, but I doubt it.
I am having a difficult time keeping cool about this. That supermarket is 10 minutes away from some people that I consider part of my extended family; it is actually six years to the day since I was last in Tuscon at their home. The lies, distortions, and hyperbolic rhetoric of right wingers may not have made Jared Lee Loughner pull the trigger but they told him where to point his gun. The cowardice of modern fascists is without limit; the only difference between the assassination of Salman Taseer in Pakistan on Tuesday and today’s terrorism in Tuscon is that the Muslim terrorist didn’t kill a child.
This news should chill every American to their bloody marrow and be a fresh slap of wake the fuck up for all of us. Anyone who is cheering for this guy is an enemy of not only the United States of America but of civilization itself; that is not an emotional exaggeration but a considered response. The nation is very unsettled at the moment and there are more desperate people at the fringes than ever before who will cling to all sorts of madness to justify their misfortune and excuse their actions; it is a moment where demagogues are most dangerous. We must be vigilant.