Monday morning punditry.
President Obama calls for a moment of silence Monday at 11 a.m. EST.
When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?
The problem here doesn’t lie with the activists like most of those who populate the Tea Parties, ordinary citizens who are doing what citizens are supposed to do — engaging in a conversation about the direction of the country. Rather, the problem would seem to rest with the political leaders who pander to the margins of the margins, employing whatever words seem likely to win them contributions or TV time, with little regard for the consequences.
Consider the comments of Sharron Angle, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully ran against Harry Reid for the Senate in Nevada last year. She talked about "domestic enemies" in the Congress and said, "I hope we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies." Then there’s Rick Barber, a Republican who lost his primary in a Congressional race in Alabama, but not before airing an ad in which someone dressed as George Washington listened to an attack on the Obama agenda and gravely proclaimed, "Gather your armies."
In fact, much of the message among Republicans last year, as they sought to exploit the Tea Party phenomenon, centered — like the Tea Party moniker itself — on this imagery of armed revolution. Popular spokespeople like Ms. Palin routinely drop words like "tyranny" and "socialism" when describing the president and his allies, as if blind to the idea that Americans legitimately faced with either enemy would almost certainly take up arms.
It’s not that such leaders are necessarily trying to incite violence or hysteria; in fact, they’re not. It’s more that they are so caught up in a culture of hyperbole, so amused with their own verbal flourishes and the ensuing applause, that — like the bloggers and TV hosts to which they cater — they seem to lose their hold on the power of words.
Despite the gratuitous reference to a Daily Kos diary within Bai's piece, the story is about Palin and the Republicans who cater to the fringe.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, who is overseeing the investigation of Saturday's mass shooting that critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), became an overnight sensation with his remarks that the "vitriol" in today's political discourse contributed to the incident and that Arizona has become "a mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
His alleged writings make him out to be a mentally disturbed outlier, not a rogue Tea Partier, who fired point-blank at the Arizona Democrat's head.
Perhaps this gross and mad act of violence, which took the life of a 9-year-old girl, a judge and others who had productive lives to lead, will shock politicians and partisan pundits into higher degree of civility, or at minimum tone down some of the divisive, corrosive rhetoric.
Presidential aspirant Sarah Palin, famous for her trademark, gun-blazing "Don't retreat, reload" phrase and crosshairs, will have to retool her rhetoric if she plans to switch from her Fox News political punditry perch to elective politics.
A young intern who had only been working for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for five days may have been instrumental in saving the congresswoman's life after she was shot in the head in Tucson Saturday.
20-year-old Daniel Hernandez was helping out at the Congress on Your Corner event and was standing just feet away from Giffords when shots rang out.
"When I heard gunshots, my first instinct was to head towards the congresswoman to make sure that she was OK," Hernandez told ABC News this morning.
Hernandez, who says he has some emergency medical knowledge and training in triage, immediately started covering and applying pressure to the congresswoman's wounds.
And another hero:
Officials said the attack could have been more devastating had not one of the victims tried to stop the suspect as he tried to replace the spent magazine on his weapon. The police did not identify the woman, who was among those shot by the gunman.
That would be Patricia Maisch.
Dissenting view on angry rhetoric from Jack Shafer:
Any call to cool "inflammatory" speech is a call to police all speech, and I can't think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power. As Jonathan Rauch wrote brilliantly in Harper's in 1995, "The vocabulary of hate is potentially as rich as your dictionary, and all you do by banning language used by cretins is to let them decide what the rest of us may say." Rauch added, "Trap the racists and anti-Semites, and you lay a trap for me too. Hunt for them with eradication in your mind, and you have brought dissent itself within your sights."
Sounds very off-key today.
Back then [in 2009, a Giffords protester accidentally dropped his gun], the amazing thing about the incident in the supermarket parking lot was that the guy with a handgun in his armpit was not arrested. Since then, Arizona has completely eliminated the whole concept of requiring a concealed weapon permit. Last year, it got 2 points out of a possible 100 in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence state score card, avoiding a zero only because its Legislature has not — so far — voted to force colleges to let people bring their guns on campuses.
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