Rick Moran has a thoughtful post on the Pittsburgh shootings, attempts to blame them on conservatives, and some conservatives’ overheated rhetoric about President Obama:
A whole cottage industry has grown up on the left in finding motivations for these tragically sick individuals that always seem to track back to at least one of the following:
1. Talk radio
2. Conservative “hate speech”
3. “The Gun Culture”
4. Conservatives are mentally ill
5. Opposing liberals is the same as wanting them dead
The right’s favorite whipping boys are much different:
1. Sick society
2. Violence on TV and movies
3. Poor parenting
4. No conceal carry laws
5. God has disappeared from public life
I won’t entirely dismiss Dave Neiwart’s thesis that, in this case, scare tactics by the NRA and some conservative commentators that Obama was going to confiscate weapons may have affected this obviously sick individual in a way that played to his paranoia. But there is no evidence and none likely to emerge that this was the catalyst that set him off on that day at that time. The broad brush strokes of motivation used by most of the left on this incident are ridiculously simple minded and fails to take into account that in dealing with a diseased mind, there is no telling what will be the trigger that causes him to abandon all reason and attack police officers.
…[Obama] seeks a fundamental restructuring of the relationship between citizen and government that will fall far short of socialism and reflects the same liberal goals that have been the hallmark of the movement since the New Left became ascendant in the 1970’s. America has a leveling tradition that dates back to colonial times – long before the world became aware of the concept of “socialism.” The social democracy that Obama is seeking will accomplish this “leveling” at the expense of a truly free market while limiting the individual citizen’s choices in everything from education to health care.
But conservatives have either ignorantly or deliberately misconstrued Obama’s true intent and have engaged in their own version of BDS. My worry is twofold; that such wild talk enables sickos on the radical right – emboldens them – and makes them believe that killing the president would be doing the world a favor and make them popular. (The FBI and the Warren Commission believed that the atmosphere of Kennedy hate in Dallas played a large role in JFK’s assassination.) The second point is that talk of gun grabbing, dictatorship, canceling elections (or using ACORN to mount a nationwide, massive vote stealing campaign), and even violence has, as a consequence, an unknown effect on the mentally ill that walk our streets. In this sense, it is nothing specific. Instead, it is the permeation of the air waves, the internet, and other media that surrounds the nutcases and speaks to them in ways that it doesn’t speak to normal people.
Fools like Charles Blow don’t get it. Even long time observers of the far right nuts like Neiwart draw too simple a conclusion regarding the effect of this kind of wild talk.
But it doesn’t seem to matter to conservatives who use gross exaggeration and hyperbole to describe what Obama has been doing. Sticking to the facts of Obama’s disregard for tradition and our first principles will get us a lot farther in debate than referring to Obama as a communist. And eschewing the violent language and monumental distortions coming from some on talk radio but especially the internet might serve to lower the temperature and give liberals something else to talk about besides falsely identifying conservatives as the motivating factor in every massacre that will occur over the next four years.
Meanwhile, a Daily Kos diarist resigns from the site because of Markos’s twittering on the issue (which results in one irony-challenged Kos Kid calling for his death).
I don’t believe Poplawski’s hero Alex Jones – who has spent the last seven-and-a-half years arguing that a Republican president carried out the 9/11 attacks – is a mainstream conservative in any sense of the word. But when right-leaning personalities give Jones a forum (I’m looking at you, Andrew Napolitano) or appear on his show (like Obama Nation author Jerome Corsi), they should definitely be called on it. (That applies to Jones’s left-wing and “libertarian” enablers, too.) I think Jones has every right to rant and rave and expound upon his paranoid worldview, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us are obligated to respect him.