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I just had a friend in Washington DC claim that the left is just as responsible for this as the right. That the teabaggers talk a good game, but are really harmless.

I am not going to insult you guys here and get into that. But there is already chatter on social media sites that this shooter was mentally ill, and therefore Sarah Palin and her ilk can hardly be held responsible for this.

In fact, I've seen that said here this afternoon. I feel a rant coming on. Come over the fold and let me tell you about my crazy uncle and Sarah Palin.

"Don't jump to conclusions" a fellow Kossack said here today responding to a tip jar on the breaking news diary of today's tragedy in Tuscon.

After all, this could be a guy who escaped from a mental institution. Some whacko who just got up, broke out of a mental institution with a gun and started blowing people away.

Okay? Ignore all of the Palin dog whistles with targets and maps and rhetoric. Ignore the fundraisers designed to take out the competition with an M16. Ignore the previous threats and vandalism of political offices.

Instead, think of the mentally ill person with a gun, in the mental institution who breaks out. He runs towards any random political rally, with sirens blaring, manhunts ensuing, complete with bloodhounds and tunnels. But be sure you don't jump to any conclusions.

The mentally ill just shoot people for no reason every day, right? They break out of "hospitals" and just shoot people. Mentally ill people do that. Yea, sure they do. But I have a question, where exactly are those hospitals where the mentally ill are locked up? Seriously, where are they?

I have someone in my family with schizophrenia. Paranoid Schizophrenia. You know, the voices. Let's call him my Crazy Uncle. If you can point me to one of those hospitals where I can lock Crazy Uncle up and forget about him, boy I'd sure appreciate it. It would be a great relief to know he is safe, and out of our hair. He's been driving our family to exhaustion for years.

For my Crazy Uncle, the voices, though, usually come from somewhere. When another family member had wisdom teeth removed, Crazy Uncle called all the area dentists, feeling like the patient was bleeding to death from the pits left behind by the teeth. Totally embarrassing for us to get our teeth cleaned around town after that.

When another one of us flew in an airplane, Crazy Uncle tried to follow planes in his car to be close to the family member who was leaving. It was based in panic. Crazy Uncle was feeling like the flying person would never be seen again. The police officer who pulled him over didn't think it was very funny when Crazy Uncle told him he was chasing airplanes with his car.

Our Crazy Uncle was always difficult to care for. He was independent enough to live on his own, yet he required numerous stays in the psychiatric ward of the local hospital, where by the way, he never even tried to "break out of" because he could simply sign himself out. Getting him in the hospital was way tougher. He had to be a danger to himself or others.

Calling the town dentists is weird, but isn't dangerous. His crazy driving with the airplanes, however, was grounds enough for us to get him a two-week stay in the local psych ward. It was supposed to be a longer stay, but he got his meds stabilized in the hospital, and then signed himself out early.

He teetered between home and homelessness his whole adult life, because you see, you really can't find a hospital that locks up mentally ill people anymore. They usually find a home under a bridge somewhere and wander among us, dirty and muttering. Exhausted families feel guilty, but really, have no other way to continue to care for someone like this.

Back to my point.

If we look into the alleged shooter's rants and mutterings, he may seem to us to be mentally ill. He probably is.

But I am wondering how mental illness excuses the responsibility of Sarah Palin and her ilk for this. How does it excuse the "Second Amendment Remedy" crowd and Glenn Beck from full responsibility for this?

Aren't they actually talking right to my Crazy Uncle? Isn't it him they want to whip up into a paranoid frenzy? Isn't it him they want to act out their death wishes on those they fear or hate or envy?

My Crazy Uncle can't work. He can't hold down a job. He stays home every day with his old A.M. radio and television. He wants to smoke cigarettes, but curses the government for making them so expensive. Plus he can't even smoke in his public housing anymore. The government. It is the government that makes his life so hard.

And that Obama? My Crazy Uncle hears he wants to have death panels and he's a Kenyan. Yea. That's what my old Crazy Uncle hears. He has coffee with his friends at the Mall every morning. They tell him things they read on the computer. They whine. They complain and Crazy Uncle sucks it all in. The voices run over again and again in his head.

I'm pretty sure my Crazy Uncle doesn't have a gun hidden somewhere in his dresser. But I don't know what he does every day. I don't think anyone of us would really know what he has access to. Sometimes he is really with it, and not everyone realizes how paranoid he can get. I don't know if he could apply for a gun license and get one. He probably could. Maybe he just wants it for protection. But that's today.

Tomorrow could be a bad day. Tomorrow he could forget to take his meds. He could hear something at the Mall. Maybe his friend from the Mall invites him to protest at a political rally against the Obamacare woman who supports death panels.

His friends have gotten Beck's gold. They talk about revolution. They talk about the lies and the corruption and all their money going to support, you know, the blacks and the Muslims. My crazy uncle gets whipped up, the voices run over and over.

And the unspeakable happens. People are dead, my Crazy Uncle gets shot by police, but Palin and her 'Second Amendment Remedy' crowd look down at their hands and smile.

They are clean, manicured and sparkle with diamonds.

My uncle may be real or not. He may be my neighbor's uncle, or your uncle. He may be the guy living next door to you. He's probably never killed anyone or talked about killing anyone. But do you know how he fills up his days? No. Does he have paranoia that is fueled by the kind of stuff Palin and Beck pedal? I'll bet he hears dog whistles way better than most do.

Footnote: This is my rant about the "mentally ill" part of this excuse for Sarah Palin and company. I also believe there are people who are full of hate and use her rhetoric, and the "Second Amendment Remedy" as permission to act on the hatred and use it as an excuse to kill people.

The argument that a mental patient did this simply because they are mentally ill really irks me to no end. It perpetuates a dangerous misconception about mentally ill people. I have news for those who use this argument: Far more mentally ill people are killed every day by a lack of health care than break out of institutions with guns and kill policians and kids.

UPDATE: Arizona and its treatment (or not) of mentally ill people

Originally posted to the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:41 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  agree... from several posts (25+ / 0-)

    on the net -What do Sarah Palin and  Charles Manson have in common? Both never killed anyone.

    and from Shannyn Moore on twitter:
    Osama Bin Laden didn't fly planes...he incited others to do it. #justsayin #it'sterrorism

  •  Absolutely.. (11+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.  In my daughter's in-laws family, there is a "crazy uncle".  He smokes a lot.  Can't work.  His parents take care of him but they are in their 80's.  

    To believe that the kind of rhetoric coming out of the Palin's and Beck's of this world doesn't really mean anything, well now that is crazy.  Of course folks like your crazy uncle and my daughter's brother in law - are not able to process and thoughtfully think through the hateful language.  And being paranoid and crazy, they might act on it if the opportunity arises.

  •  you know? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    I wrote a pretty good rant once. It's still there, and I'm thinking of taking it down because of what happened today. If someone had read that and gone onto pull something like Laughner, I'd feel responsible, psychological state notwithstanding.

    Thank god nobody reads my stuff.

    22 December 2010: Democrats have one good day in two years, and what will it cost us?

    by papicek on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:54:36 PM PST

    •  Always write with the crazy uncle (9+ / 0-)

      audience in mind.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:58:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you're right... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flatford39, the girl, worldlotus, BusyinCA

        and it's done. Gone. Replaced with a short message.

        22 December 2010: Democrats have one good day in two years, and what will it cost us?

        by papicek on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:09:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have something that (9+ / 0-)

          Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sharon Angle and the bunch of them will never have - a conscience.

          You just held it up to the world, and now we can watch them eat themselves up with jealousy.

          That's why they hate us. Did you know that? That's why they need all the money and all the power. They are trying to make up for what they lack.

          Empathy. A conscience. Compassion.

          You are a noble person papicek, the richest person in town. :)

          Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

          by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:13:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Just went to your link (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          papicek, worldlotus

          I didn't read your diary, but it seems like people liked it, and really really liked it.

          Not sure what you said, but I am glad to see that not only did you write, but you considered what you wrote.

          I saw a lot of people today call for McCain to be shot instead. I saw a lot of people today name-call and reduce themselves to exactly what we can't stand in the right.

          Anger is good and natural. But the bullies here want us to act out their disorder for them. They want crazy uncles to act it out for them. They want to drag us down to their level.

          When we act it out, they get to relieve themselves of their hate, and anger but still keep their hands clean.

          That's why I posted the diary. They are using a twisted dynamic called "projection" on everyone. Some are acting on it and doing exactly what they want, killing. Hating. Name-Calling. Threatening. All the stuff they feel inside, but don't want to 'show.'

          Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

          by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:21:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I particularly treasure... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            the girl

            the "dayum!" I elicited from buhdydharma.

            It was an angry call to action, and I think better off gone.

            22 December 2010: Democrats have one good day in two years, and what will it cost us?

            by papicek on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:39:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It seemed something nagged you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              before you posted. Maybe that was why.

              Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

              by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:52:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  it arose from anger... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                the girl

                and I can really write sometimes. I could probably rock as a political speechwriter in certain circles. The post read like a speech, I realized afterwards. MB and some others tweeted it, and it generated more buzz than anything else I've ever posted, and I have at least one other post I'm proud of.

                That piece, however, was an angry rallying crie de coeur from someone who has a bit of talent. On some levels, I haven't seen a pure rant on this site to match it.

                22 December 2010: Democrats have one good day in two years, and what will it cost us?

                by papicek on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:23:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Is your diary the one Markos is getting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      pounded for right now on Twitter? The wingnuts are claiming he pulled it if so. He's saying no.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 08:35:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sure wish someone would post the evidence (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, bnasley, the girl

    that the mentally ill commit violent acts against others at a higher rate than those viewed as sane.

    Bring Our JOBS and Troops Home NOW!

    by Marie on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:59:26 PM PST

    •  Agreed. It's no more true than for the general (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, Matt Z, bnasley, the girl

      population, from what I know. It's just a convenient excuse for ideologically-driven violence from any quarter.  Some people are sane AND violent, and are motivated by their and their leaders and heroes' hate, pure and simple.

      Classic example is, of course, Byron Williams, the self admitted Glenn Beck-inspired would-be Tides Foundation/ACLU shooter who just through dumb luck got pulled over by the cops before he could commit carnage.  Fortunately, the police had guns to shoot back and prevent a massacre.  Williams was quite "sane," I'm sure.  I think the same was true of Scott Roeder, Eric Rudolph, and Timothy McVeigh, as well.  

      [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

      by Vtdblue on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:16:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is ALWAYS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, the girl

      a background check on criminals to see if they're mentally ill once the story hits the media. Funny, but I never see anyone running background checks for mental illness for people who run into houses to save someone from a fire.

      I seriously doubt having mental illness caused the shooter to pull the trigger. More likely, it was because he was a right-wing asshole.

      I'm mentally ill and while I understand people's knee-jerk reaction to blame mental illness (it's a catch-all explanation for shit that HAS no rational explanation and that's GOT to be comforting on some level) I don't have to agree with it or like it.

      Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

      by Matt Z on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:20:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had to get off Facebook today (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flatford39, Matt Z, bnasley, Eddie L

        with so much of the mentally-ill excuse being thrown around. I got so frustrated. Intelligent people who are left-leaning automatically accepting the 'mental illness' crap.

        I stood up against it and the guy I mention at the top of the page actually messaged me and asked me for an apology, saying I was unfair.

        I hope he isn't waiting by his computer for it.

        It is an honor, instead, to be here with you Matt Z.

        Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

        by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:25:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cool! Thanks! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tobendaro, bnasley, the girl

          It's gotten to the point where I hardly even care anymore. It's infuriating but I don't see it ever changing. The bias against people who suffer from mental illness has only gotten worse over the years, even lefties trying to explain right-wing buttholes. Heck, I'VE been guilty in the past of calling Republicans crazy or at least reccing comments that did and I know better. It's just so friggin hard-wired into society that there is simply something wrong with a bad guy's brain. It's sure as heck a lot easier than looking inward and questioning WHY the political climate in this country is so toxic that crap like this happens. It's much easier (and more comforting) to blame it on a "lone nut".

          Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

          by Matt Z on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:34:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I said it below (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z, laker

            I think of Palin/Beck et al as "disordered" and my Crazy Uncle as mentally ill.

            There's a big difference. Palin and Beck have a choice in their behavior, they can be different, but they don't want to be.

            My Crazy Uncle can't be different.

            Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

            by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:51:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Just hoping that people (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bagman, Matt Z, worldlotus, laker

    will call this out if they see this argument. I am sick of the excuse that those calling for violence and using violent rhetoric are not responsible for this.

    The Second Amendment Remedy/Revolution/Beck/Palin/Limbaugh crowd know exactly what they are doing.

    Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

    by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:06:08 PM PST

  •  the girl, great post-so very well said! (nt) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, bnasley, the girl
    •  Just a rant, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, bnasley, laker

      maybe when we hear that mentally ill b.s., we can remind people that the mentally ill actually need our protection more, and that people like Palin and Beck are targeting these people most because they feed that paranoia that mentally ill have to fight with every day. Shame on Palin and her ilk.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:27:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Define mental illness in terms of Timothy McVeigh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, the girl

    Is murdering hundreds of people, including dozens of toddlers, the act of a sane person? Under what circumstances?

    We have this odd approach to "motive" when discussing crime and punishment in this country. Somehow, if somebody acts with political motivation -- as, for instance, Eric Rudolph or Timothy McVeigh did -- these acts are neither seen in a political context nor viewed as those of somebody who is disassociated from reality.

    I would be shocked if anybody on the right said anything, anything about the level of rhetoric and the number of imbalanced people who are motivated to act. Not when allegedly sane mainstream politicians use gunsights and discuss 'Second amendment remedies'. It's a strange world where the combination of events that leads to a disaster is divided up into "counts" and "doesn't count" when it comes to assessing causation.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:29:46 PM PST

    •  The way I look at McVeigh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheCrank, Matt Z, laker

      is through the vision of Alice Miller.

      McVeigh was bullied (did you see Rachel Maddow's piece on him? It was a great explanation of him). When kids are bullied, they take their anger out on themselves or others, according to Miller.

      Some commit suicide. Some bomb toddlers. Some shoot up schools. Some cut themselves. Some turn to drugs and alcohol.

      Sometimes they don't. Miller says this happens when they have the benefit of someone who shows they care about the child, even in a small way. Maybe a teacher or an aunt who gives them a hug and tells them they don't deserve to be abused or bullied.

      In my non-professional opinion, the mentally ill person is not necessarily angry, nor does the mentally ill person hurt themselves or others. Sometimes they do dangerous things, but only because they aren't thinking right.

      Heck, anyone suffering from depression is technically suffering from a mental illness, right? Leaving offerings in the woods, racing airplanes and walking around naked could be symptoms of a mental illness, but I don't think they were anything Tim McVeigh did.

      Tim McVeigh, Hitler had tough childhoods, yet they didn't put their anger in the right place. If they did, maybe things wouldn't have turned out as they did. I don't think disordered people and mentally ill people are the same. Disordered people have a choice in their behavior, mentally ill people don't. I'd call Palin and Beck disordered, but my Uncle in the piece is mentally ill. Just my opinion though.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:47:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary girl...Good diary. appreciated your (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, bnasley, the girl

    words. Thank you.

    It's important to keep moving matter what.

    by flatford39 on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:42:36 PM PST

  •  The right is very selective (8+ / 0-)

    in this.  I've never heard anyone call the sanity of the 9/11 hijackers into question as an excuse for their behavior.  Yet Timothy McVeigh was a "nut," that "you can't guard against."  I may be wrong, but I don't believe that McVeigh ever put forth an insanity defense, "nut" being of course rightwing speak for mentally ill or insane.
    The fact is, our society, every society, will always have mentally ill individuals in it.  Most are a far greater threat to themselves than they will ever be to anyone else.
    If I have a TV and/or radio show, and I use it to tell people "You know folks, the people in charge of our government are taking us in the wrong direction.  I want you to be sure to vote this next election.  What's more, I want you to be sure your neighbors are registered and they vote.  Because I want the members of this party tossed out of power," and some mentally ill person hears that and takes it as a license to go kill somebody, by no reasonable person's judgement do I share in that mentally ill individual's culpability.
    But if I use that same program to compare politicians with whom I disagree to the Khmer Rouge, if I use words like "eliminate" and the "second amendment solution," if I urge my listeners to "take up arms," and prepare for the "war" for the "soul of America," and some mentally ill person hears that as a call to shoot somebody, by no reasonable person's judgement am I without some culpability in that person's actions.

    It's no crime to be poor. But they're working on it.

    by jazzmaniac on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:43:31 PM PST

  •  I think about the movie "Hotel Rwanda." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, the girl

    The radio voices incited some people to kill others.  Don't tell me they aren't culpable too. For a lot of people, just telling people to do something gives it validity, like if someone else is pushing it then it must be ok to do.

  •  The Right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, the girl

    commanding an army of impressionable, damaged people who will do their bidding.  The Right wing is wholley responsible for this tragedy.  Americans better wake up and look at what is comming soon to a location nearby.  Violence and death.  It is what the right wing has been planning for many years.
      My son has schizophrenia and thank gods he does not watch much tv or news.  These kooks could really get him going.  I read some of the stuff the shooter had out there and it is eeriely similar to some of the things Ben says.  Dear God.

    Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in...

    by tobendaro on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:13:25 PM PST

    •  I am in the habit of seeing things (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tobendaro, Matt Z

      through a paranoid person's perspective. Probably because I am hypersensitive to things that could set my family member off. I want to avoid them at all costs.

      Palin, Beck, et al have disturbed me a lot by what they say, because I understand how things like fear can set someone off.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:43:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, the girl

    you've posted a very astute diary that helps settle my swirling emotions today.

  •  Listening to KO's special comment now (0+ / 0-)

    and thinking, it's just too late. You can't take this back and fix it. The apologies are fake. The retractions and erasures are fake.

    The damage is done.

    Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

    by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:53:51 PM PST

  •  euphenasia is what the right wing wants (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    Either that or a culture that values family above all and will sacrifice without limitation to care for their ill kin. But, that isn't the country we live in. I wish it was, but it's not. The proof is in the homeless people begging for change, swinging swords at cops, and running around with such paranoia.

    But no government. No way no how should they get involved in the general well being of their citizens and have programs to help deal with the inevitable conditions of being human some experience during this thing we call life. The government has no business protecting it's citizens from other potentially dangerous citizens. Nope.

    That's why Sara Palin, Glenn Beck, Bill Oreilly, Rush Limbaugh and all the others pulled that trigger today. All 15+ times that gun was fired, the trigger was pulled by them.

    "What do you think goes wrong with people showering with homosexuals? Do you think it's the spray makes it catching? ... We don't get ourselves dry-cleaned."

    by stevema14420 on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:56:32 PM PST

    •  They can't have empathy (0+ / 0-)

      compassion and values, so they want money, power and fame and hate those qualities they can't have.

      They want to drive us away because we remind them of people they will never be, and they hate us.

      I have an ex husband who mocked my 8-year-old's food drive the other day. Who does something like that?

      Someone who is so jealous because a child has a quality he lacks, so he must destroy the goodness of a child.

      It's sick. It's twisted and it's very very dangerous.

      You are right, they all killed these people.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:02:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I really wish we would have lost AZ-8 last Nov. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the girl

    Congresswoman Giffords might very well still die. All for a temporary job with crappy hours, some horrific bosses (Tea Party constituents of AZ-8), and low pay considering her skill set.

    "What do you think goes wrong with people showering with homosexuals? Do you think it's the spray makes it catching? ... We don't get ourselves dry-cleaned."

    by stevema14420 on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:03:18 PM PST

    •  I haven't had time to look it up (0+ / 0-)

      do you know who the other targeted winner was? I believe there were two winners with Palin targets. She was one.

      Not to throw shoes is the crime. Not to be outraged is the crime.

      by the girl on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:26:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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