Assigning blame

The political and cultural left is going to blame the shooting of Rep. Giffords on the Tea Party, the pro-life movement, talk radio, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, all Republicans, Pres. Bush, Pope Benedict, Catholic priests … you get the idea.

Lefties are going to say that they… those people on the righthave raised public discourse to “vitriol”… which, of course, automatically means that people will start shooting.

However, my friend The Motley Monk caught the following.

There’s one little problem with this one-sided presentation of the evidence.  What those talking heads and bloggers have not and do not want introduced into evidence is that Ms. Giffords was also named on a “Target List” posted by none other than one of their heroes, the founder of the website Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas.  On June 25, 2008, he wrote: “Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district” (italics added).

If we go back to look at the rhetoric of the left, I bet you will find far more violent imagery, even violent suggestions, than in the rhetoric on the right.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jack Hughes says:

    I honestly don’t see how the left can honestly assign blame to the right; it appears that the guy they are holding was a seriously disturbed individual who needs alot of help

  2. Augustine says:

    I think it’s deeply tasteless for a priest to be making a political point in the wake of such a tragic crime. If you don’t like the left’s take on it, turn the other cheek. At least wait to see if the poor woman survives. She needs our prayers.

  3. unsilenced says:

    I think that when violence is insinuated, no matter from what side it is coming from, it always brings violence. I don’t think we need to blame one side or the other, but to be honest we should look at what has happened with the Health Care legislation or the people that think that Obama is not a real president, etc… There has been a lot of talk about “taking back” our country, and I think that just fuels hatred even more.

    We are all Americans, and while we may disagree strongly on many issues we should accept that people are doing what is best for their country, and in this time and age, violence is not the solution.

    I don’t think we should be looking at who has been more hateful or if the left has been doing the same comments that the right has, we should just agree to stop it and start acting like civilized people. I think people should stop lying about legislation or exaggerating things, instead lets have smart arguments based on reality.

    In the mean time, I will pray the Office today for those who died and for those still in critical condition. I will pray for our country and for our elected officials. I will also pray for all the commentators in radio and television.

  4. Augustine says:

    I couldn’t agree with ‘unsilenced’ more.

  5. Gail F says:

    Oh please. The man was obviously insane — witness his rants about “the government” trying to brainwash people with grammar. Can we all admit for a moment that we know perfectly well that people who are that mentally ill can be set off by anything? The way their minds work, all sorts of things that have nothing to do with each other get linked together. A commercial for toothpaste might have set him off. This is a tragedy for all concerned, but it has nothing to do with “the political climate.”

    I am not at all disgusted by priests commenting on the politics revealed by the shooting — I am disgusted by the many people (all of them politically liberal, or at least all the ones I’ve heard) blaming these terrible, tragic deaths on other people whose politics they don’t like. The families of the dead and wounded, and the family of the raving lunatic who did the shooting, need sympathy and prayers. The shooter is INSANE. He apparently loves “Mein Kamp” and “The Communist Manifesto,” but that doesn’t make him a tool of the Left and I would never blame Democrats or Communists or Greenpeace for this shooting because of it. And it’s nobody’s fault on the Right either. The political climate in this country has been much, much worse many times in our history. The shooter is not a victim of it, he’s a victim of his brain chemistry.

  6. Randii says:

    ITA Augustine. It’s tasteless and un-Chritian IMO for a pries to be playing gotcha with this.

    We can all prayer for the victimes and their families.

    But we need to do more. To get beyond the extreme talk radio right and the extreme left who would rather teat the country down than come together and try to solve the huge problems we face.

    BTW, talk-radio in some cases is 24/7 hate speech. ASnd the anti-Catholicsm is just below the surface for many of the hosts.

    If anyome doubts how vile this can get listen to Mark Levin. A verry angy and spiteful man and his diatribes get put out on the airwaves for 3 hours each day. He is but one of many.

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    Big headline splash…and then you read down and see that the DHS (supposedly) found a damn magazine and that’s the evidence they think they have. Idiots. Anyone can pick up a magazine from anywhere. Are they kidding?? Seriously??

    The big evidence of what was really probably going on is in his recent past. He used to attend the local community college and was repeatedly thrown off the property. They told him he had to undergo mental health treatment to come back. And he didn’t. He’s a young man with a mental illness who was falling through the cracks in society, and there you have it. He bought a legal firearm, which lay in wait til he had a personal crisis, which mentally ill people sometimes have. And he went out and acted on it for any number of his own reasons, known only to him.

    People from the left often have a world of trouble realizing that a) evil things can really happen, b) there really is such a thing as mental illness which troubles an unusually high number of Americans and no one actually knows medically why this is, and c) the government can’t protect you from everything and oversteps its purpose if it tries. It certainly has no criteria for dealing with the mentally ill–in fact, the idea is laughable.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    There’s the tragedy of the dead and wounded and that’s truly sad. But the media and government is going to get as much mileage out of this as they can. They’re now printing that the 9 year old girl’s birthday was 9/11/2001, which is a coincidence, but they’ll try to make political hay out of it, 100% sure.

  9. Augustine,

    Father was pointing out that this tragedy would be politicized and that anyone conservative (political or religious) would likely be blamed, even absent of any concrete evidence.

    Father was I think, in essence, arguing for your point, that the tragedy should not be politicized.

    Take a look at today’s New York Times. Turns out Father was correct in his prediction that “those people on the right” would be blamed.

    So Father’s “political point” was that there no political point to be made, as of yet anyway.

  10. MarkJ says:

    Our response to evil should always be to pray and to strive to increase holiness in our own lives as a counter force against Satan’s workings. Where evil increases, grace increases to counter it – we have to do our part to cooperate with that grace. We are called to be Saints, most especially in times of evil. Rhetoric won’t solve the problem – interior and exterior holiness will.

  11. catholicmidwest says:

    Mark, I think that’s probably the same thing that many Catholics have said over the years. There is truth to it as far as it goes, but it shouldn’t become an excuse for doing nothing in the face of great evil. I daresay that its probably what German Catholics circa 1935-1940 said. Would you have approved of it then?? Do we have no responsibilities on this earth?

  12. Magpie says:

    I surmise that the left did it to make the right look bad. I wouldn’t put it past them.

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    I doubt it, Magpie.

    It looks like just one of those sad situations where a mentally ill person lost it in a period of crisis. Right away after the incident, you could still see the postings of this person online; maybe you still can. They’re interesting of a type, very disjointed and illogical, fantastical and somewhat paranoid. This man needed mental care help and he apparently wasn’t getting it. Most mentally ill people aren’t very dangerous at all but, depending on the illness, they can occasionally go through periods of crisis, during which they might be menacing–to themselves and sometimes to others. It generally takes a crisis to get mental help and many people are too intimidated to seek help until they absolutely have to do so.

    He probably will get some help now that’s it’s too late to save the people involved. That’s sad.

  14. Joseph-Mary says:

    I heard the sheriff of Pima County blame conservative radio for this! It is a tragedy that this sort of thing would ever happen. But it always has and always will when a mentally unstable or fanatic extremist gets it in their mind to kill. The devil is at the foundation of it after all. This does not mean we ahve to have gun control or that conservative radio should be shut down! Placing blame on others outside the sphere is a ruse to forward certain agendas. Next they will say it is the pro-lifers who are to blame or some such a thing.

    It never makes any sense when someone ‘goes off’ and shoots up a courtroom or schoolroom or bus station or political rally. But fallen human nature does give way to these instances from time to time. Genocide does not make sense nor does other ethnic cleansing nor abortion all of which takes the lives of innocent human beings. That murderer called the devil and satan —well it is his stock in trade.

  15. Joseph-Mary says:

    ps –the judge that was killed had attended Saturday morning Mass that day; he was a daily communicant. We must pray for the souls of the deceased.

  16. AnAmericanMother says:

    I would never have said a word about the politicizing of this, but for the fact that the news media pounced on the shooting before the limbs of the poor victims were quiet . . . asserting without any doubt that the Tea Party and talk radio were responsible. Shep Smith on Fox News and news reports on NPR and ABC News were among those I personally heard within hours of the incident taking place.

    And unfortunately there are those saying stuff like this: “They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said [a senior Democrat to Politico]. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.” Mark Penn says that Obama “needs an Oklahoma City” to raise his political fortunes. Meanwhile, no condemnation of making a movie about the assassination of Bush or Alec Baldwin screaming that Henry Hyde and his family should be dragged into the streets and stoned to death?

    Unfortunately decent conservatives need to push back against this sort of slander or it will become ‘the truth’.

    It’s obvious to anybody with sense (and anybody who saw his YouTube videos or MySpace page) that this guy is a complete nut case. In addition to the drug arrests that made the news yesterday, he was arrested for making threats at the community college but charges were dropped. He was eventually just barred from campus.

    If there’s anything to blame here other than the murderous loon himself, it’s that the revision of laws supposedly for the benefit of the mentally ill have made it almost impossible to protect others and themselves. The standard for committal, or even getting into outpatient treatment against his will, has become so high that those who see the warning signs (e.g. the college) don’t even bother to try to get the obviously deranged any help.

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    You know, it’s an interesting thing. People get in public and they think of things in broad brushstrokes, politics and groups and all that. And of course, as anyone who studies history can attest, this is real and fine as far as it goes, BUT it can be manipulated wildly and viciously. It’s been done many times. It has its benefits for those willing to do such things, but it ultimately never works for long.

    Meanwhile, what’s really going on is that millions upon millions of people are trying to live out their lives, each of them fully engaged in what they’re doing right now. It’s very tempting to make these broad statements and try to control all manner of things, turn peoples’ heads and appeal to their worst interests etc., but that’s not really how life works or should work.

    Anyone who lived through the 20th century and who’s read a little bit of history should know this stuff.

  18. catholicmidwest says:

    To my last post, the young man was just living out his life with mental troubles, on the micro scale of things. It really has very little to do with politics, even though his obsessions and so on sounded somewhat political. And the spill-over into the public eye ended up looking political.

    The polemics in his posts were probably just the outcome of something he heard or perceived that stuck with him for some reason, or not. His rantings sounded somewhat paranoid and that requires a target of ire. Who knows why he chose what he did? Hard telling. It always is. Something he heard somewhere that got confabulated up into his fantasies…..

    He was mentally ill, so it might take years or forever to sort it out. And probably medication to help control it biologically.

  19. Peggy R says:

    I pray for the repose of the souls killed yesterday…and for the family of this troubled killer. [John McCain’s statement also included prayers for repose of the souls of the dead. Pretty good, I thought.] The left establishment’s blaming the Right for this is unconscionable. If they want to talk about vitriolic, violent language, we might want to look at words from Barack Obama himself, talking about hitting back twice as hard, bringing a gun to the fight, getting in people’s faces, punishing enemies, etc. You can Google them for yourself.

    If indeed the Right has been vitriolic, the Left has been no less violent or vitriolic in its tone.

    I don’t think any one person or the “climate” is to blame. This guy had his own set of issues.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, I’ve been a teacher, and I’m 100% certain that the profs, teachers, neighbors, classmates, etc are darned glad they weren’t his targets, because they could just as easily have been rather than that politician. They might even feel guilty about it for a minute, but they shouldn’t. These things sometimes happen. It’s just good that some of the bystanders jumped on him before he had a chance to discharge all the ammunition he had. Bravo for those people, who are heroes. Bless the good ordinary gutsy guys always standing around to do the sensible thing, huh? That’s the real news story.

  21. Katherine says:

    The political and cultural left is going to ….

    Lefties are going to say…

    You have not even found that they have done these things and you have gone on attack mode. Shameful, Father. [That is the point of saying “going to”. Think it through. And we shall see if I am right or not.] We prayed for Judge Roll ( a devout Catholic) and the others murdered at Mass today as well as for the Congresswoman’s recovery.

    You might wnat to consider the benefits of prayer, Father. It really is a good practice and much better than using a tragic moment to attack others on your expectation of their future deeds. [And the mind of the liberal is thereby revealed.]

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    Hey Katherine,
    You’re late to the party. Maybe you didn’t see it, but the left already launched its opening salvos last night.

    [The real problem here is that those who tisking and clucking their tongues know that I am right.]

  23. benedetta says:

    Actually here is a left-leaning organization which says that this is a “rising wave of political violence” and directly cites to Sarah Palin. Fr. Z’s prediction was pretty much on the level.

    If the talking heads had real compassion they wouldn’t be standing around increasing the level of vitriolic, attack mode accusations but would rather endeavor to discern what the mentally ill man’s level of support consisted of and where the system failed to treat his illness. That would be doing our country a service and raise the level of civil discourse. Instead they wish to manipulate the tragedy for their own political ends and demonize the ideas of those they don’t agree with. What’s worse, the map showing targeted districts or accusing of being behind violence.

    No one is blaming the community college where he was enrolled for failing to refer the student for mental health treatment yet the administration there acknowledged that he seemed to be threatening to his algebra teacher. Are we next going to blame math?

    If Christian groups with left-leaning sympathies can issue press statements accusing those with differing ideals of being behind this then what could be the problem with Fr. Z raising the discussion.

  24. EXCHIEF says:

    What world do you live in? Discussing the attack on the right being waged by the media and others blaming the right for being behind the shooting does not infer, imply, or mean that Fr Z or any of us of like mind do not care about and pray for the health of all who were shot. If the media were to do its homework they would find that the shooter, Jared Less Loughner, is far more “liberal” than any known member of the Tea Party or other conservative group. I think your criticism of Fr Z is misplaced. [No, that is their M.O. They know I was right, and so they try to make the discussion about me, rather than about what I wrote. Predictable.]

  25. catholicmidwest says:

    benedetta, you said,

    “If Christian groups with left-leaning sympathies can issue press statements accusing those with differing ideals of being behind this then what could be the problem with Fr. Z raising the discussion.”

    Unfortunately, some significant part of the Catholic establishment in the US is one of those “Christian groups with left-leaning sensibilities,” and it’s a major part of their sensibility rather than religious belief, which should be. We have an defacto schism in place and that has not gone away. That’s why this thread looks like it does.
    All I have to say to that is:

    “they first came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist.
    And then they came after the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a socialist.
    And then they came for the trade unionist,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t one of those.
    And then they came for the Jews,
    but I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
    But then they came after me,
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

    Pastor Martin Niemöller
    He started out being a Nazi proponent until he realized he and Christians in general had been double-crossed. By the mid-30s he became a leading critic of Hitler and the rise of the 3rd Reich. He was arrested in 1937 and spent the war in Dachau & Sachsenhausen. He lived through it, and was liberated by the Fifth US Army in 1945. He finished his life in the US, often speaking about religious freedom in the face of government control.

  26. unsilenced says:

    I think we should look at ourselves too. I wonder, if the guy had been a radical liberal, if we wouldn’t be saying the same things about them that they are saying about Conservatives. I just wonder. I don’t think Fr. Z said anything inappropriate, I think what he said was right on point.

    I still go back to what I said originally: We should raise the level of discourse, we really sound dumb when we argue things with lies and uninformed opinions, just like liberals sound as stupid when they do the same thing.

    I wish we could have civilized arguments without calling each other names.

    I’m starting to wonder if a year of penance and sacrifice for our dear country may be needed.

  27. Elizabeth D says:

    I used to be involved in progressive politics (no more) and I met Markos Moulitsos and got to know him personally a bit and he was generous to me. Improbably enough, a great many of the experiences and friendships that led me to growth in faith and back to the Church were on his blog(s) (ultimately, my experiences included disillusionment with the moral reasoning and behavior of progressives, and in a special way the religious indifferentism–religion and religious people were accepted and valued insofar as it might help the liberal/progressive cause). Markos and others of his political kind are not violent people, they like comfort too much for that. They are just seriously, seriously desensitized to concern for the dignity of the human person (sin will do that) and deluded about the radical incompatibility of that attitude, with the peace, community and happiness they earnestly desire. Repentence and forgiveness of sins is the way to liberation which can actually make the deepest desires of their hearts possible.

  28. catholicmidwest says:


    When it comes to the man who did the shooting, he was NEITHER liberal nor conservative! He was mentally ill–ie needed to be admitted to the nearest psycho ward immediately!

    The liberal/conservative overlay is what the media/government is making of it, for their own gain. Don’t you get it?

  29. Jack Orlando says:

    ”If we go back to look at the rhetoric of the left, I bet you will find far more violent imagery, even violent suggestions, than in the rhetoric on the right.”
    – Father John Zuhlsdorf, 09.i.2011

    You win the bet, Father.

    “If the spring of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the springs of popular government in revolution are at once virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most urgent needs.

    “It has been said that terror is the principle of despotic government. Does your government therefore resemble despotism? Yes, as the sword that gleams in the hands of the heroes of liberty resembles that with which the henchmen of tyranny are armed. Let the despot govern by terror his brutalized subjects; he is right, as a despot. Subdue by terror the enemies of liberty, and you will be right, as founders of the Republic. The government of the revolution is liberty’s despotism against tyranny. Is force made only to protect crime? And is the thunderbolt not destined to strike the heads of the proud?”
    — Maximilien Robespierre, 05.ii.1794

    The more things change ….

  30. Alexis says:

    “If we go back to look at the rhetoric of the left, I bet you will find far more violent imagery, even violent suggestions, than in the rhetoric on the right.”

    Father, can you back up this assertion with any proof or facts? Or is it merely something you’ve intuited? I think it’s fair to ask. I haven’t seen any evidence supporting such a contention, but would certainly be interested in being introduced with some.

  31. irishgirl says:

    Terrible thing all around. Prayers for those killed and wounded.

  32. AnAmericanMother says:

    See my post above re the movie about assassinating Bush while he was president, and Alec Baldwin calling for the stoning of Henry Hyde and his family.

    A few more examples – just that I recall:

    “I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.”
    -John Kerry on the Bill Maher show.

    “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for…”
    and: “This is a struggle between good and evil and we’re the good?”
    and “we need to remember that the enemy here is George Bush, not each other.”
    – Howard Dean

    A Democrat committee in Florida ran an ad calling for the assassination of Donald Rumsfeld

    New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi called for Senator Schumer to “put a bullet between the president’s eyes!”

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” And “I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”
    – the President of the United States

    In an interview (I think it was with Rolling Stone), singer Rickie Lee Jones trashed President Bush with vile language that I won’t repeat, and then was asked if she would be willing to assassinate him. She responded: “If I say that, I might get arrested when I go back. And I have to go home.” She’s thinking it out carefully. “I guess the question is, would I kill anyone? And the answer is, no. But would I feel sorry if someone killed him? No, I wouldn’t. It would depend on who killed him, I guess.”

    On “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” producers superimposed the words “Snipers Wanted” over an image of Bush delivering his acceptance speech at the Republican convention.

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams said she was willing to make an exception (to her love of peace) and kill President Bush

    Charlie Brooker, a columnist for the Guardian: “On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod’s law dictates he’ll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr – where are you now that we need you?”

    If you’d like more examples, I’m sure I can think of them.

  33. digdigby says:

    Of course Father is shocked and disgusted by the acts of a psychopath with an obvious narcissistic disorder. But you would have been at the Reichstag Fire praying for a janitor with 3rd degree burns while Hitler rounded up thousands of his ‘enemies’. I’ve always suspected that people who pray like crazy all over the place for people in the news have some kind of narcissistic disorder themselves.

  34. Augustine says:

    “But you would have been at the Reichstag Fire praying for a janitor with 3rd degree burns while Hitler rounded up thousands of his ‘enemies’.”

    Unless you’re suggesting that the Obama administration attempted to kill the Congresswoman so as to enable a virtual dictatorship, I think you’re going to have to drop that analogy. Reductio ad Nazism is pretty facile.

  35. robtbrown says:

    Katherine says:

    The political and cultural left is going to ….

    Lefties are going to say…

    You have not even found that they have done these things and you have gone on attack mode. Shameful, Father. We prayed for Judge Roll ( a devout Catholic) and the others murdered at Mass today as well as for the Congresswoman’s recovery.

    Actually, it started yesterday at the sheriff’s press conference.

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Assuming it can never happen again.

  37. robtbrown says:

    unsilenced says:

    I think that when violence is insinuated, no matter from what side it is coming from, it always brings violence.

    Which of course brings us to abortion.

    I don’t think we need to blame one side or the other, but to be honest we should look at what has happened with the Health Care legislation

    Are you referring to the legislation that was passed despite the fact the opposition of the American people?

    or the people that think that Obama is not a real president, etc…

    Where have you been? The Dems said the same thing about Bush.

    There has been a lot of talk about “taking back” our country, and I think that just fuels hatred even more.

    A common phrase also used by the Dems.

    We are all Americans, and while we may disagree strongly on many issues we should accept that people are doing what is best for their country,

    Are you saying that pro abortion politicians are doing what is best for the country?

    and in this time and age, violence is not the solution.

    The history of politics has for centuries been violent. That is not going to change.

    NB: Thomas Jefferson: The Tree of Liberty needs to be watered from time to time with the Blood of Patriots and Tyrants.

  38. digdigby says:

    Comparing the Reichstag Fire I was not making a full analogy, just showing the rabidly opportunistic nature of our Leftist Media. Also, I still am as deeply unsettled by people praying for people in the news WHILE they are in the news as I am of Catholic Charismatics rolling around on a Ramada Inn Conference Room carpet full of ‘the hooey spirit’. My general attitude is you probably have someone in your immediate vicinity who can use a prayer and a VISIT while you are busy praying over some Big Story of the Day in another part of the country.

  39. Augustine says:


    Sadly I do believe that the kind of deceit perpertrated by the NSDAP from 1933-1945 can reoccurr. It’s been seen time and time again: in Russia; in Yugoslavia; in Argentina; in Iran; in Iraq.

    Nevertheless, it is hugely irresponsible and downright unjust to imply that the American left commits such crimes, without having evidence to suggest such a conclusion. By doing so, you both cheapen the evil committed by totalitarian régimes, and contribute to the hyperbolic and volatile character of political discourse in the USA today.

  40. Augustine says:

    Apologies, I meant that for digdigby too.

  41. robtbrown says:

    benedetta says:

    Actually here is a left-leaning organization which says that this is a “rising wave of political violence” and directly cites to Sarah Palin.

    Keith Olberman last night was saying almost the same thing.

  42. Peggy R says:

    AnAmericanMother came up with a pretty decent starting catalogue of Leftist violent speech. The sitting president has used violent language and characterized American citizens as “the enemy.” Scary. Hollywood-ites as well as “respected” media personalities have wished for the death of the likes of W Bush, Cheney and Limbaugh, none of whom have ever expressed anything of the kind about any one on the political Left. Look up the language at any anti-war rally during the W Bush era. It was hateful toward Bush as well as America.

    Yes, casting the blame on the tea party began immediately yesterday. I couldn’t help but note how efficiently O got out in front of this with an appropriate statement. Perhaps we owe that to the new management, Bill Daley. It is a contrast to his “shout outs” preceding any mention of the Ft. Hood massacre and his detached and delayed response to the panty bomber. I also recall that some MSM journalists thought O needed an “event” like OKC to show his leadership, connection to the people, and bla, bla. I guess the journalists meant violence that they could blame on the Right, which is what the media are doing, along with several Democrat pols.

  43. Augustine says:

    “Also, I still am as deeply unsettled by people praying for people in the news WHILE they are in the news as I am of Catholic Charismatics rolling around on a Ramada Inn Conference Room carpet full of ‘the hooey spirit’.”

    Are you suggesting that Christians ought to delay prayer until after the event? Christians pray for the present, not just the future: nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.

  44. robtbrown says:

    One final comment:

    I think the combo of the incompetence and/or lies surrounding the Iraq War and the Health Care Legislation has caused people on all sides of the political spectrum to become disgusted and distrustful of government.

  45. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    While at the MotlyMonk article, if you go to the referenced links to the DailyKos, there you will discover that the DailyKos has scrubbed their site clean as a whistle! It seems the lefties out there want to position themselves as morally immune to blame while impugning the entire right for ‘vitriol’. Nevermind the likes of Frances Fox Piven or Van Jones and others of their ilk who have recently (within the past two weeks) ACTIVELY called for and talked about the inevitable ‘violent revolution.’ Right now, with such limited info how do we know that this guy, notwithstanding the obvious mental condition, wasn’t targeting the Congresswoman for not being far left enough? She was pro gun and anti-illegal immigration, yet was a Democrat. Not too bad, as a Republican or Tea Partier might categorize her, considering other dems out there.

    Sorry, but as horrible of an incident as this for the individuals, their families and the State of Arizona and the country as a whole, the truth remains the truth. Part of the truth right now is that the the left wants to politicize this horrible event, and particularly the DailyKos does’t want anyone to see who THEY had crosshairs on Congresswoman Giffords as well! And they also don’t want anyone bringing attention to it as evidenced by their site cleaning… OOPS! TOO LATE… see this site for screen captures of what the DailyKos already deleted:

  46. catholicmidwest says:

    Hold that thought.
    I certainly hope you are correct. B

  47. Augustine says:

    On that we can definitely agree!

  48. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    Hmmmmm. Interestingly enough, some of the DailyKos links are beginning to reactivate again…

  49. digdigby says:

    Can we drop the whole thing? Its just MY impression is that you and your kind in some ICKY way combine the Cult of Celebrity and ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ with the act of prayer. 700 Club Roman Style. KILL YOUR TV.[I really don’t like ad hominem attacks in any direction. Stick to issues or don’t comment.]

  50. Brad says:

    Congrats, Katherine, for saying the snottiest thing to a priest I’ve seen in a good while:
    “You might want to consider the benefits of prayer, Father”.
    Been saving that up for a while, by the sound of it.

    But I digress. The angry left are, let us not forget, not exactly demographically described as “(worthy) communicants in a state of sanctifying grace”. Please note that I am purposefully referring to that type of grace. As such, these poor, often militantly secularized souls are the whipped playthings of their own concupiscence, vices venial and mortal, legions of demons and, as 1st John 5 yesterday clarified for us, yet again, the evil one who holds power over the whole world.

    I pray for people like that, but I don’t listen to their opinions on matters sacred or profane.

  51. Augustine says:

    “Can we drop the whole thing? Its just MY impression is that you and your kind in some ICKY way combine the Cult of Celebrity and ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ with the act of prayer. 700 Club Roman Style. KILL YOUR TV.”

    This is possibly the most uncharitable post I’ve seen here so far. The Congresswoman is a public figure. This is a tragedy which affects the public. I can’t think of any reason why the public ought not to pray for those involved!

  52. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    @Augustine’s first comment,
    I think its even more deeply tasteless to cheapen the name of Augustine and twist scripture to your own damnation (ie. “turn the other cheek”) by your comments. It is a given, a base truth, that the devesation wrought in this horrible and senseless act demands prayer. In case you missed it, however, it is also the truth that the left is actively attacking the right, thus politicizing this tragic event. Anyone on the side of truth would recognize this, see it as unjust, and at the VERY LEAST, recognize it as such. A Christian embraces the truth, as it lights our path. Perhaps, you could best aide the situation by limiting your contribution to prayers.

  53. Augustine says:

    If you read my comment, I make no excuses for any of those who use tragedy as a political tool, whether leftists or clerics.

  54. Barnabas says:

    Isn’t the right calling out the left for politicizing a national tragedy (or the left calling out the right) just another case of the pot calling the kettle black? I’ve seen both sides doing it with the Tucson Massacre. The left is blaming Palin, etc. I’ve heard a number of Tea Partiers say that this is a “natural result” of her voting for the health care bill. Just go to a newspaper’s website and look at reader comments on the issue (I know not always a reliable barometer of opinion, but there are plenty of crazies on the left and right). Both sides are completely out of line.
    I met Congresswoman Giffords once when I was on Capitol Hill. Politics (and abortion) aside, she’s one of the nicest, genuine public servants I’ve come across. I pray for her and all the victims of this tragedy.

  55. Augustine says:

    I’d like to echo Barnabas’s words.

  56. brianvzn says:

    In a nation where the slaughter of infants in the womb is legal, we all have blood on our hands. Nothing is more shocking or terrible than abortion. When will everyone wake up and realize that if infants dont have safety in their own mothers’ wombs, our country will never be safe.

  57. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    You miss the point. Fr. Z. is calling it as it is. His post is in reaction to what is already evident in the MSM. The ‘lefties’ are using this event and actively politicizing it. You seem to suggest that to recognize this and call it out is tantamount to reciprocal ‘political tool’ manipulation. Hogwash. You really ought to stick with prayer.

  58. catholicmidwest says:

    People can pray for whomever they want. How can anyone stop them? Guard them 24/7 and keep them standing up in perpetuity? That’s not the issue here. However….

    When I was a little kid, and I didn’t want to eat my spinach, my mom used to say that I should think about all the little starving kids in China, and that was supposed to get me to eat my spinach. But it never worked to my mom’s dismay, because I could tell the difference between some far-off global concept involving a class of people who may or may not even exist, and my concrete dinner plate….

    This is sort of similar. You can vaguely pray for someone like this that you’ve only heard about in the newspaper, in a sort of wishful way, but it is prone to sensationalism and emotion, when it’s put like this situation is. As opposed to praying for people about real things for real reasons. I see digdigby’s point; this is sort of lying laying flowers on Michael Jackson’s curb or visiting Graceland. I’m not sure I agree; but I am aware of the dangers of politicizing prayers, or using them as some sort of remote token for “smoothing the waters” and making myself feel safer in some way. Spiritual thumb-sucking is always interesting though…….

    [And of course, the TV part–it is the agent of the 15 minutes of fame, isn’t it??? I agree with the KILL YOUR TV part but I hate TV anyway, so that’s probably irrelevant to this discussion.]

  59. catholicmidwest says:

    And of course, we had to get around to abortion, whether it’s part of the argument or not, right, BrianVZN? This is a Catholic blog, after all.

    Probably both sides are going to pile on, yes. And they’re all out for gain–a pox on all their houses. As if the actual event wasn’t tragic enough. Good gravy. What a mess.

  60. Augustine says:


    I don’t think the good Father is entirely apolitical, and his commentary is hardly academic.

  61. markomalley says:

    Of course, we should refer to this article in the Politico (hardly a right wing rag):

    (on page 2):

    One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did.

    “They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”

    Looks like they are again following the advice of the Former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel:

    “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

  62. brianvzn says:

    Any violent act pales in comparison to abortion. And if abortion is legal, evil spreads throughout the land, and we are all guilty because we allow it to continue to be legal.

  63. catholicmidwest says:

    Yeah, Brian, but what exactly precisely does it have to do with this instance of violence???? The shooter didn’t get an abortion. No. He was a guy. Right?

  64. digdigby says:


    Thanks for speaking clearer (and more charitably) than I can! You said what I meant but couldn’t communicate. As the London sanitation worker said after ‘cleaning up’ the orgy of offerings for ‘The People’s Princess’ – you have no idea how roses stink when left to die in cellophane.

  65. catholicmidwest says:

    LOL, I’ll bet. Good point.

  66. William says:

    As a former (escaped) school teacher, I can tell you conclusively that this poor, unfortunate, misguided young man is a product of our government schools. (By all means, homeschool your offspring.) Indeed, the NEA, and its fifty-state tentacle unions, need answer to this and so, s0 much else. I mean, hey, like, look; anybody can play the blame game!

  67. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    @ Barnabas
    Your post reminds me of an actual event that happened to me. I was talking with my mother-in-law about a third party. During our conversation it came to my mind that we should not be talking about this indivicual like we were, and I suggested that we end our conversation because it wasn’t right. She seemed a little taken aback but ended the conversation. A little while later, I realized how much I had irritated her when she nailed me, and called me out for doing the very same thing in another conversation – She said delightfully, “Well we shouldn’t talk bout other now should we?” I was immediately humbled to say the least. But then it occurred to me. Although she had done so in a spirit of retribution, SHE WAS RIGHT! It was the truth that she spoke. So my point is, it doesn’t matter if one side had done it before. In this instance of politicization, what the lefties are doing is wrong, despite previous occurrances performed by the “right”. To say otherwise, or to use the cliche of “the pot calling the kettle black” is to say that there isn’t anyone capable of recognizing the truth of the matter because we’re all guilty. Again, hogwash.

  68. brianvzn says:

    Who is behind evil? Satan. All violence is evil. Abortion is the greatest evil in the land. The power of Satan in this country in enourmous, therefore we see these acts of violence. My point is that we will not have any chance of peace in this country unless abortion is made illegal. Abortion makes Satan stronger, which in turn makes his grip on our country stronger. Does that make any sense to you?

  69. catholicmidwest says:

    So, let me get this clearly. Satan alone is behind all evil, and this event was solely his fault because abortion exists. Is that right? Moreover, nothing has meaning unless it’s compared to abortion. Right?

    I hate to tell you, but I remember when the supreme court passed the abortion thing in 1973. Before that, there was plenty of evil. Hell, the 2nd world war was before that, and the Russian revolution before that.

    Don’t get me wrong. Abortion is bad, in its own right. But it’s not responsible for everything bad that happens. I don’t know who told you that, but they were wrong, dead wrong. You shouldn’t believe such simplistic nonsense. It’s bad for your mind.

  70. brianvzn says:

    I think you may want to reconsider calling yourself a Catholic if you do not believe Satan is behind all evil.

    And I think abortion is a bit more than “bad”. Compare the number of deaths in WWII to the numner of deaths caused by abortion and get back to me.

  71. catholicmidwest says:

    But, Brian, that has nothing specific and particular to do with this event. It’s another topic entirely. Can’t you see that?

    Now if you wanted to talk about people becoming hardened to the plight of helpless children in doctor’s offices, or people becoming used to pre-marital sex, or varieties of birth control or something like that, maybe it would have some merit. But this was a guy with a mental illness and a GLOCK. Get a grip.

  72. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    @ Augustine
    Give me an example of someone who IS apolitical. If you were to name +Jesus Christ+ himself, I could show you at least a few Jewish high priests of his time and a plethora of modern day liberation theologians who would say he was a political dissident. Why is it they sought his life again? Even in this situaiton of our Lord, the truth remained the truth. Perhaps you should ask yourself, “Quid est Veritas.” Its the truth we should strive for here. If by academics, fine. If by the Truth (and truth) revealed by God through His Church even better! His commentaries in general are far more in line with the truth that many of those fly by the seat of their pants bloggers and posters out there, particularly those with a “lefty” bend.

  73. brianvzn says:

    I have to leave this post. Maybe I am not using the right words to get my point across. I will drown my sorrows in Mystic Monk Coffee

  74. benedetta says:

    What is so despicable about Fr. Z’s pointing out that organized msm outlets are promoting disinformation about this story? It is the truth that left-leaning outlets and organizations are currently running with the story that accuses nearly anyone whose views they dislike of actually inciting this kind of violence. Some organizations are even doing both, raising the level of vitriol through accusing, and in the same breath, exhorting us to prayer.

  75. wanda says:

    You’re right, Fr. Z. The first public appearance by a spokesperson blamed the Tea Party by name.
    A Senator from AZ did as well. I know it was the first few horriying hours, but they just started letting the suppositions fly. They had no clue as to the facts, they started slinging vitriol against the Right.

  76. Caroline says:

    Irish girl…I’m with you. Terrible thing requiring a lot of prayer. It’s so symptomatic of how far our culture has strayed from God.

    Father…I’m a life long tea drinker…Maybe I need to switch to coffee. : )

  77. Microtouch says:

    The mail bomber was a right wing nut until they found Al Gore’s book in his cave. The NY car bomber was mad at obama-care, the fact that he was a muslem extremist meant nothing. The media and leftists even try to score for votes at funerals. Father is correct in what he wrote though he was merely stating the obvious.

  78. JMody says:

    Well, Father, you really thumped the hornet’s nest here. I have two questions that might be suited for a QUAERITUR, but I’ll put them here to keep things going:
    1. What we call “the Left” today subscribes to many ideas from socialist, Marxist, or Communist theory. Holy Mother Church USED to roundly condemn this ideology for clear reasons, and since saying precisely NOTHING about it in the V-II docs, has said nothing ever since. Why is this, and how can we inform our fellows that this is a condemnable ideology, and that we ought to oppose it no matter which party puts it forward?

    2. I live near the incident, and our bishop (Kicanas) sent a letter from the Holy Land where he is currently traveling regarding this ATROCITY (“tragedy” seems to imply a certain accidental nature for which a deliberate act doesn’t quite qualify) and asked the faithful to pray for almost everyone EXCEPT the guilty party/parties. WHY IS IT that we no longer pray for things like a just punishment (including the death penalty, if warranted) and for the REPENTANCE of the criminal?

  79. Kerry says:

    Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, responding to (I believe) Keith Olbermann (Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”) wrote this, “If you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Sarah Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting — which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie — or you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. So which is it?” Which is it indeed? And I do not think Father Z. needs any suggesting that he “try prayer”. Anyone who cooks as much as he does get many opportunities for prayer. Heh.

    The responsibility for these crimes lies with the perpetrator and no one else!! If not, them may I please be awarded great shares of credit for another’s acts of charity, mercy, forebearance, prudence, courage…?

  80. Katherine says:

    What is so despicable about Fr. Z’s pointing out that organized msm outlets are…

    Except he didn’t. He used the future tense. He decided to go on the attack before he was even aware of any actual misdeed. [That’s because I know liberals so well. This was an easy prediction. And it sure does bring out true colors.] He may have been very confident that his soothsaying of the future would come true. I am actually someone who has confidence that if people would not abandon prayer in order to announce the future sins of others, some expected future unfortunate acts might not happen.

  81. Dave N. says:

    IMO, saddest day for this blog since the bit about the woman attacked by the killer whale–or maybe ever.

    “If we go back to look at the rhetoric of the left, I bet you will find far more violent imagery, even violent suggestions, than in the rhetoric on the right.”

    Even my kids know they can’t get away with the “Well they were doing it worse…” routine. Violent rhetoric is violent rhetoric and should be condemned wherever it arises, whether with Markos Moulitsas or Sarah Palin. What Sarah Palin did graphically would have gotten her expelled from virtually school in the country. There’s no defense. [Who called it a defense?]

  82. ckdexterhaven says:

    Katherine, not that I’m in a position of authority or anything, but you realize your nasty comments are directed at a man chosen by God, a priest? Telling Father to try prayer is insulting to me as a reader on here.

    Sarah Palin’s crosshairs graphic? Please. Only an insane person would see her graphic and think it was inciting violence. That’s just boilerplate campaign stuff.

    On a local level, Former Representative in AZ 5, Harry Mitchell planted a story in the Arizona Republic this morning blaming right wingers for him not having town halls this year. Mitchell, a pro abortion Catholic voted against his district, and was defeated in November. How does this tie into Father Z’s point? Well, ol’ Harry blamed the right for the violence, yet he himself ran an ad with is opponent, JD Hayworth in crosshairs!

    Well, don’t try to contact me tomorrow between 12 and 3, I’ll be listening to Rush, along with my 4 kids.

  83. S. Murphy says:

    The Kos writer who said Giffords was dead to him for voting against Pelosi for minority leadrer posted again saying that he, and he alone, took down his post; it wasn’t scrubbed by Moulitsas or any other site admin.
    There’s some rhetoric that doesn’t add anything to the level of national discourse, but then, if his truck was really attacked as he describes, I don’t blame him for the way he feels about it. It’s personal. I don’t think the expression ‘X is dead to me,’ is fairly construed as violent rhetoric.,-The-Victims,-and-Rep.-Gabrielle-Giffords

    Bottom line; some nut committed a crime, and it’s his fault, not that of Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Tea Baggers, Carpetbaggers, Bishops, Jews, New York Yankees, Kossacks or Star Wars Sith fanboys.

  84. benedetta says:

    Katherine: Actually Fr. Z said “the left is going to…” and I took that to mean, this is what is happening. I certainly did not take it to mean that he was predicting anything as it had already been happening and based on what he excerpted in his post he obviously was well aware that this is what is going down, as in right now, currently. Perhaps I wouldn’t see it as so irresponsible and certainly destructive to our level of civil discourse if there was definitive proof that established that Sarah Palin triggered this mentally ill man’s violent rampage. Shouldn’t we be discussing what happened in his immediate social network such that it failed him? Shouldn’t we be discussing how an obviously mentally ill person acquired a weapon? And how about the community college? Clearly the staff there admits that he was viewed as threatening. Shouldn’t that organization have intervened? All those would serve our country’s immediate needs in this rather than polarizing against whomever we decide to demonize out of disrespect for their honest views.
    I see a credibility problem with left-leaning supposedly pacifist type Christian organizations issuing press statements naming Sarah Palin, accusing various views with which they don’t agree as being part of “a wave of political violence” and then at the same time telling people to pray.

  85. S. Murphy says:

    But who knows? Maybe it was the Masons.


  86. Barnabas says:


    I think you missed my point. Both sides are politicizing this particular event and are wrong for doing so. On this page, the vast majority of comments are only attacking those on the political left (and there’s plenty to attack them for). Not a single person is calling out the right for their earlier threats on Giffords, et. al., or for the “serves her right” reaction (because of her vote on health care) that’s popping up extremist circles (see reader comments on various news stories, especially on Yahoo). In addition, Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, wrote yesterday, “We need to push back harder with the simple truth. The shooter was a liberal lunatic. Emphasis on both words.” (I got a lot going on…that’s the best quote I could dig out, but I’ve seen worse from the right) We still know little about the shooter. Neither side should be making these kinds of comments.

    I agree the left is wrong in politicizing this. They’re even calling for stricter gun control–something that Congresswoman Giffords had opposed. Before and after yesterday’s shooting, members of the right, left, and center made reckless comments. All should be subject to scrutiny, not just the left.

  87. AnAmericanMother says:


    Truth is still a defense. The graphic posted on Palin’s website is a USGS surveyor’s mark – note that the cross extends outside the circle, which is not true of any scope or target that I’m aware of.

    On the other hand, the Democratic Leadership Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee actually used bullseye targets, labelled the map “behind enemy lines,” and when you hover over the map a picture of the individual congressman with “TARGETED REPUBLICAN” in large letters appears in a popup. I guess we should be grateful that the target graphic didn’t appear on the congressman’s forehead?

    For Democrats to wax apoplectic over a fairly innocuous map when they have been labelling “targeted republicans” as the “enemy” for years . . . not to mention Rahm Emanuel stabbing a knife into a table and yelling, “Dead! Dead! Dead!” with reference to his political enemies . . . is ridiculous. It’s not a question of “they were doing it too” — they are the only ones doing it. It’s called “projection” – or “accuse your opponents of doing what you have been doing for years”.

  88. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    @S. Murphy
    I knew someone would look too far into the source for the screen captures… I provided the source to The Motley Monk when I discovered that the link to the original article was no longer working… (THE ARTICLE WAS GONE FOR SEVERAL HOURS TODAY) unfortunately, in addition to the removed and then reposted article of June 25, 2008 other speculation and screen captures of a “BlueBoy” were also included on the amended link. This was not the subject of which The Motley Monk was citing or speaking. The amended link was there simply to provide the cited materials while the original source was down?/removed? It was placed among OTHERS gathered as screen capture on that particluar site. Hope that clears things up…

  89. JMody says:

    Has everyone forgotten that this suspect claimed to be inspired by the Communist Manifesto, and Mein Kampf, and Animal Farm? There are no pundits blaming Orwell, or Hitler, or Marx — why? He also claimed to like Brave New World – blame Huxley? To Kill a Mockingbird — maybe it was the movie, so we should blame Gregory Peck? One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Jack Nicholson as unindicted co-conspirator?

    As the ESPN guys say in the pre-game shows — C’mon, Man!

  90. benedetta says:

    Barnabas: No one here is making the sort of statements you are quoting and it is grossly unfair to say that because certain people here object to grossly irresponsible statements from msm pundits and talking heads and columnists with media platform, accusing public officials of responsibility they would also condone the extremist crazies you have managed to dig up. At the same time just a cursory glance at the current headlines shows that apparently the mentally ill man (the “shooter” as you call him) was actually known to be quite liberal and left-leaning in his own politics — which for someone struggling with that degree of mental illness must have been quite incoherent indeed. Yet I highly doubt that even the demonized Rush or Palin or Beck would go around laying this at the liberals’ feet. I think the shame is with the left wing pundits and talking heads and media groups and pr people who made a choice to play this out to portray average tea party supporters and the like as somehow complicit and thereby demonize them in the msm world (as if they weren’t already). I wouldn’t defend Palin’s use of the target map nor would I defend the liberal msm’s own personal list keeping of favorite targets.

  91. MaryW says:

    I’m in Father Z’s corner on this one. AnAmericanMother and catholicmidwest thank you both for your clear, concise and logical analyses of this tragedy and its aftermath. The real tragedy is that this tormented young man did not receive the help he so needed. Many officials and the media are shamefully using this tragedy to score political points.

  92. Barnabas says:


    I apologize for making such a sweeping statement. It was meant in response to a comment on a previous post I had made, where I said that the left criticizing the right on this matter, or vice versa, was a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I was called out on that comment. To clarify: we need to hold both sides accountable to what they say. I just find it hard to admonish the left while turning a blind eye to the right for doing the same thing.
    I won’t make any predictions on how Beck, Palin, et. al. will handle this, but you could be right. I imagine more practical right wing pundits will be following in Fr. Z’s footsteps. That said, I have about as little good to say about the Tea Party as I do about the president.

  93. Barnabas says:

    *scratch that last sentence. I got carried away. Apologies for not editing better.

  94. MaranathaMaranatha says:

    @ Barnabas
    No, I got your point. And your still wrong. Listen carefully as I explain this. I am making a distinction here for this particular case. Both sides are not politicizing this horrible catasrophe. Only the lefties are. In this particular case, the ‘righties’ are indeed in the right. Believe it or not, like it or not. The righties are just pointing that out that the lefties are using this instance for their own political gain. The left is wrong to do so. As I commented to Augustine: “You seem to suggest that to recognize this and call it out is tantamount to reciprocal ‘political tool’ manipulation. Hogwash.”

    And to reiterate and further fill out the distinction I make:
    “So my point is, it doesn’t matter if one side had done it before. In this instance of politicization, what the lefties are doing is wrong, despite previous occurrances performed by the “right”. To say otherwise, or to use the cliche of “the pot calling the kettle black” is to say that there isn’t anyone capable of recognizing the truth of the matter because we’re all guilty. Again, hogwash.”

    In other words… the truth – that the left attacking the right for causing or pushing or nudging some psychologically febrile guy to the point of violence is using this horrible event for their own political gain and is indeed WRONG for them to do so, if not wholly expected. And the right, in its own defense of the values they hold, have a right and duty before God even, to say that this is wrong; and in doing so DO NOT UTILIZE THIS EVENT FOR THEIR OWN POlITICAL GAIN, but do so in their own defense. This is INDEPENDENT of all previous sins, malignations, digs, crossings, and jibes made by the right.

    Again. That both sides are using it for their own political gain is hogwash. Its more than plainly obvious the lefties are controlling the rhetoric and the righties are on the DEFENSE.

  95. catholicmidwest says:

    I’m looking at name calling and incredible carnage every where I look! Wow. There are a lot of people that need to check into the happy hotel tonight.

  96. Barnabas says:

    I will concede that the what the left is doing is far worse and far more blatant in exploitation of yesterday’s tragedy. It took a few articles on Dems planning to introduce gun control bills in the House to convince me. Though, I still have a hard time turning a blind eye to the right, but that might be my cynicism when it comes to politics. I will admit bias because I’ve never had a good experience with Tea Party activists…and politics didn’t even come up in those occasions (I work in the tourism industry in DC. I wish everyone could be as kind and compassionate as the March for Lifers).

    Anyway, here’s something that I think we can agree on. I feel like I need a shower from pulling a link from the Huffington Post, but Westboro Baptist Church is already planning to picket the funerals of yesterday’s victims. That by far is rubbing salt to a wound.

  97. catholicmidwest says:

    Actually, I’m just kidding, but I amazed at the size of this whole mess. In one day, it blew up bigger than the muslim army shooter who killed all those people in Texas. Remember that?

    I agree with you too, MM. It’s very one-sided, and you know, and Fr Z is right. And, all the point-grabbing by the left is at the expense of people who are dead, dying or heading for years of medical care. It’s pretty disgusting, if you want to know the truth.

  98. catholicmidwest says:

    I wonder how much elbow grease it took for the HuffPost to find a denomination of tasteless idiots like that?

  99. kelleyb says:

    I read a vile prediction today. The writer was seeing (hoping for) a future where all tea party folk and conservatives would be in jail. She is hoping for this to occur soon. It rattled me. I believe we all need to ground ourselves in prayer ( I know I need more prayer), and check to see that what we write is not hysterical or hate filled, but factual and loving. Father Z’s post is not hateful…unfortunately, it is truthful.

  100. catholicmidwest says:

    Major columnist, Kelly, or just some other wingnut?

  101. Ralph says:

    This is my community. The little girl will be buried following a Mass at my children’s school parish. I know the history and background of the area .

    So, I would like for everyone to keep some things in mind. First, this district just finished a pretty nasty election. Emotions are still a bit raw . Our sheriff made some comments in light of that history . He was wrong in what he said . But keep in mind he is 74 years old . He was a close friend of Judge Roll who was murdered. He was a friend of Congresswoman Giffords.

    I am not defending the politics. I have never voted for Dupnik. But I can feel compassion for him.

    Please remember the victims in your prayers. The senseless random way they were killed reminds us to be ready for judgement at all times .

    I also ask you to pray for the murderer. He needs Jesus.

  102. pjthom81 says:


    If Conservatives are going to be accused of causing this through “rhetoric” can’t we ask them if they, the Liberals, had anything to do with this since they’ve been working to cheapen the value of human life since 1973? Perhaps after we bring this to their attention they will be more inclined to consider the individual merits of this case.

  103. AnAmericanMother says:


    One major difference between this and Major Hassan – the left saw no opportunity to use that incident to flog their political horse — in fact, there was a concerted effort to ignore the jihadist in the living room.

    The chorus from the media was, “Don’t rush to judgment” – some politically correct general even opined that the “real tragedy” would be if the incident “hurt our diversity” (a bunch of your soldiers are dead, and that’s not “real”? Classic example of what Bill Mauldin called a ‘peacetime soldier’.) And once it became crystal clear that the guy sat at the feet of a murderous imam and was a dedicated jihadist — then the leftist media had no further use for the story and dropped it.

    Once the media realize they can’t get any more mileage out of attributing this to Palin and the Tea Party, they’ll drop this too.

  104. kelleyb says:

    Does it make a difference who said it. It was said. I shouldn’t have related it. I just poured gas on the flames. I do need to pray more and let the Lord handle this.

  105. TJerome says:

    Father Z,

    You may wish to check out “Katherine.” She may be the same Katherine who has a blog “Catholics for OBama.” If so she’s a hardcore lefty and twists Catholics beliefs to suit her political agenda. She repeated has said ObamaCare doesn’t promote or fund abortions when clearly it does.

    The left already, for example, Paul Krugman, resident , unhinged lefty at the New York Times aka Hell’s Bible has already blamed the political right, Palin, etc., even though the shooter is described by associates as a leftist, registered Democrat, and Obama supporter.

  106. catholicmidwest says:

    Yes, kelley, of course it does. If it’s a major columnist more people see it and it has more credibility. If just some nut in a combox says it, well a nut can say anything. See the difference?

  107. catholicmidwest says:

    So which was it?

  108. frjim4321 says:

    It’s true that many of the talking heads and pundits such as Beck, Palin, Limbaugh and their clones work hard to faciliate their audience members’ comfort with their bigotry, but this is in the service of a the highest good for them: Ratings. The hatemongering networks expend much more money on sales than they do on content. At any rate, this tragedy is less about politics than it is about mental health policies. It is likely that the evil was perpetrated by a schizophrenic who was not propertly treated. I do NOT mean that the perpetrator is not deserving of just punishment, or that his mental health status is an excuse for this evil. A lesson here is we have to do a better job treating mental illness.

  109. Peggy R says:

    I recall a couple years ago, I think in advance of O going to Notre Dame, that the Left was calling for an end to “divisive” talk and seeking “common ground” and that rhetoric needed to be toned down. And we were talking about abortion, the murder of unborn children. The Left has little tolerance for divergent points of view. I think Fr Z did a post on that.

    And if the people’s emotions are pretty high b/c of the actions of government, Fed in particular, well, O and the Dems who’ve been running the federal govt have done nothing to reduce tensions. They’ve fueled them, by pushing and pushing against the will of the people. I am not excusing any individual crossing the line into violence, but I’m talking about the Left’s criticism of the Right and citizens who’ve never protested anything before coming out and speaking up these past 2 years. There is absolute denial on the Left that the Leftist policies and lack of fiscal restraint emanating from Washington are not what the people want, in spite of the recent election results. If The People were left to live their lives, they’d come back in from the protests and live those lives. I think the American people have become ever more vigilant and aware of what’s going on in our country since 9-11. Passengers tackle terrorists on airlines now. We call our congressmembers and protest taxes, spending and usurpartion of our liberties. The problem for the Left is that the Silent Majority is no longer silent.

  110. catholicmidwest says:

    For once, we agree.

  111. catholicmidwest says:

    This tragedy is about a man with a mental illness who fell through the cracks and didn’t get proper treatment until he had killed people. That’s the real news.

    That and the heroism of the people who interrupted him. There were three people brave enough to take him to the ground, disarm him and hold him down. Those people are heroes. If they hadn’t acted, many more would have been killed.

  112. frjim4321 says:

    Agree re: news also about the heros.

  113. cirrus says:

    A prayer before logging onto the internet:
    Almighty and eternal God,
    who created us in Thy image
    and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,
    especially in the divine person of Thy Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
    grant, we beseech Thee,
    that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor,
    during our journeys through the internet
    we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee
    and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.
    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  114. PostCatholic says:

    Does it matter? I mean, if you do “go back to look at the rhetoric of the left” and find plenty of violent imagery I wouldn’t be surprised. My grandmother had a helpful saying in matters like these: “Two wrongs do not make a right.”

    So–is the political discourse over-heated and nasty in this country? Is incivility in conversing with people with whom one disagrees out of hand? Does it matter if it comes from the left or the right? Are such vitriolic and violent images and speech in our media, left and right leaning, dangerous in a country full of mentally unstable people with easy access to firearms?

    The question is whether small wrongs lead to larger wrongs. As a moralist, don’t you have anything to say about that?

  115. S. Murphy says:

    CatholicMidwest – it took minimal elbow grease for HuffPo to find that denomination. Westboro Baptist is the outfit that’s been picketing military funerals, rejoicing at servicemembers’ deaths, claiming that the Lord is punishing us for not being homophobic enough. They’re poster-jerks for how HuffPo sees Christians who hold to traditional morality; although it’s hard to see anything Christian in them at all. They’re Old Testament quoting extreme Calvinists. Everybody who’s not them is going to hell, and can’t do anything about it, but they really, really, deeply need to tell us all about it.

    Anyway – completely agree with you and FrJim that this is about one poor, sick guy. And three brave folks who stopped him. a couple other heroes, too – a 20 year old who gave Gifford immediate first aid, and the 70is man who gave his life to save his wife’s.

  116. cwillia1 says:

    It is one thing to employ hunting metaphors in political discourse and it is another thing to claim that certain people who use such metaphors are responsible for someone’s violent death. I will admit that Palin is a polarizing figure who turns off people that need to be persuaded, but it is the people who blame Palin for this madman’s actions who are dangerously irresponsible.

    I do see some disturbing parallels – albeit on a very small scale – to the period leading up to the Spanish Civil War. Specifically a democratically elected left with a radical and anti-democratic agenda together with a rhetoric on the right that views a constitutional government as the enemy of freedom, tradition and the constitution itself.

  117. kelleyb says:

    Good Morning
    It was not a Major news person, I was rattled that any one would write such a thin and have others agree. Like I said last night. I shouldn’t have posted it…It just fans the flames, I apologize.

  118. robtbrown says:

    I’m surprised that some don’t see the link to abortion. Abortion is an act of violence, which especially de-sensitizes people to it because it is antiseptic. (NB: the phrase culture of death used by JPII in Evangelium Vitae). And the American culture is especially aggressive. It doesn’t take much of an effort to see examples in movies, music, and video games.

    Further, we live in an unstructured society, where people are trained to consider the slightest impulse–sexual or aggressive–to be legitimate. There is very little ethos that suppresses behavior that society once forbade.

    And we have another problem. Unstable people that were once kept off the street are now free to roam.

  119. robtbrown says:

    TJerome says:

    Father Z,

    You may wish to check out “Katherine.” She may be the same Katherine who has a blog “Catholics for OBama.” If so she’s a hardcore lefty and twists Catholics beliefs to suit her political agenda. She repeated has said ObamaCare doesn’t promote or fund abortions when clearly it does.

    I wonder whether she’s the same Katherine who used to post on the Catholic Online Forum and who maintained that adulterer and serial liar FDR was a saint.

    Re Obamacare: My guess is that abortion will be slipped into the coverage, either via regulations or considering it a pre-existing condition.

  120. Glen M says:

    Lefties never cease to amaze me. Someone comes onto a priest’s blog entitled, “What Does The Prayer Really Say?” and tell him to pray better. Hopefully by now everyone has noticed Father Z’s prediction was accurate mainly because the Left is so predictable.

  121. Legisperitus says:

    For the record, a high school classmate of the gunman was quoted as saying that the guy used to ramble on about certain topics including religion and “he wasn’t big on religion.”

  122. TJerome says:

    robtbrown, she may be. In my view, she’s a Democratic operative masquerading as a Catholic to sow dissension in the ranks. Too bad, she’s found Father Z’s website.

  123. Father Z,
    I am a great fan , but … Let me express my disappointment in this post-
    I understand your wanting to circumvent the idea of blame for this act falling to the conservative right; however, your article didn’t include one statement of compassion for the victims of this horrific event. I searched for some other posting … sure I must have missed it in a previous article, but found nothing. As a representative of my Catholic faith, I would have expected kindness and consideration to come first—especially when the harm to those involved was so vast.

  124. ckdexterhaven says:

    So FrJim4321- (and Catholic Midwest- since you agree with him)
    What does Rush Limbaugh say that makes his listeners “comfortable with their bigotry”
    What bigotry do Rush Limbaugh listeners have?
    I can’t speak for Glenn Beck, b/c I have never heard him. But I anxiously await your reasoned answer. With exact quotations.

  125. SimonsDad says:

    The spontaneous left-right blame in the Tuscon murders appears to overshadow a true blessing; Evil was apparently stopped by a prepared and armed citizen. For all the talk about this group or that group, the moral actions of a single individual are what matter. You must be prepared to immediately and individually act for the good of yourself and others!

    Are you prepared to defend the innocent? Are you in a state of grace? If not, your first response will be to flee rather than to “risk” your soul. Do you personally every-day-carry basic emergency equipment? Yes, that could include a Beretta under your biretta! To be willfully ill-prepared is not good.

  126. TJerome says:

    If one would like to see vitriol at the highest level, see the following:

    ** Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”
    ** Obama to His Followers: “Get in Their Faces!”
    ** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”
    ** Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard”
    ** Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“
    ** Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”
    ** Obama to lib supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.”
    ** Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”
    ** Obama to democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.”

    It’s truly unbelievable that a man such as this was ever elected President. These statements alone disqualify him.

  127. Dave N. says:

    “Truth is still a defense. The graphic posted on Palin’s website is a USGS surveyor’s mark – note that the cross extends outside the circle, which is not true of any scope or target that I’m aware of.”

    Sara Palin is a hunter–perhaps America’s most famous hunter. She hunts and kills things with guns on TV for money. I think it’s naive to assume her followers would have interpreted her graphics as USGS surveyor’s marks–unless you can show that the majority of them are professional surveyors.

    The point remains that speech inciting violence needs to be critiqued as such by people of goodwill in this country–whatever its source.

  128. TJerome says:

    Particularly a sitting president’s. Go to Michelle Malkin’s website. She has a whole collection of leftist hatred to review. It makes the right pale by comparison

  129. Nerinab says:

    kelleyb said:

    The writer was seeing (hoping for) a future where all tea party folk and conservatives would be in jail.

    The following link might be the column to which she was referring:

  130. AnAmericanMother says:


    I’m a hunter, and I sure hope you’re not going to suggest that I have any confusion between animals and humans or any doubts about the Fifth Commandment. If I thought you were serious and not just indulging in rhetorical hyperbole, that might irritate me a little . . . .

    Anybody who’s a shooter (even if not a hunter), or anybody who’s done any hiking or backwoods navigation with the aid of USGS maps, or anybody who’s worked for a general or highway construction company (in my case, all three), will recognize that mark as (a) not a target or a scope reticle; and (b) a chart/map mark. And, really, “her followers” being middle America types, are more likely to recognize it too.

    But that’s not really the main point here. It’s nonsensical to assert that a map posted on Palin’s website over a year ago had anything to do with this madman’s activities. There’s no evidence that he was a Palin “follower” (what evidence we have is quite to the contrary). Given his predilections (such as they were – crazy people are crazy and need no logical motivation), it’s more likely that he saw the Daily Kos “target” that was placed on Giffords – with a bullseye graphic and the use of the term “bullseye”:

    Daily Kos “bullseye” on Giffords

    But it is now emerging that Loughner had been stalking Giffords since 2007. Palin hadn’t even been heard of then outside Alaska. And that interview is in Mother Jones of all places — hardly a source for conservative conspiratorial thinking . . . .

    Instead of trying to seek motives for crazy people (and incidentally suppressing speech radicals don’t agree with, which is the apparent plan here), we might more profitably ask why nobody sought a warrant on this guy for stalking or terroristic threats. Apparently he had made numerous death threats before he carried this one out — it remains to be seen whether those threats were all reported to law enforcement.

    That is where you stop deranged homicidal lunatics — not by handwringing and breastbeating over the use of military metaphors in political campaigns (including of course the use of the word “campaign”).

  131. TJerome says:

    Amen, American Mother for your common sense, sense of proportion, and defense of the American way. Unfortunately most of the mainstream media (Democratic Party auxiliary) rarely exhibits those traits!!!

  132. You know Obama could have just fired the lady,, there was no reason to have her killed. But what else do you expect from someone who thinks killing people is just a matter of personal choice? It sure looks like Obama didn’t take the poor woman’s choice to live into consideration.

  133. Sara Palin is a hunter–perhaps America’s most famous hunter. She hunts and kills things with guns on TV for money. I think it’s naive to assume her followers would have interpreted her graphics as USGS surveyor’s marks–unless you can show that the majority of them are professional surveyors.

    I agree. Regardless of the true origin of the crosshairs used in the graphic, they were intended to convey the idea that “these areas are in our sights and being targeted”. However, to make the leap that such standard political rhetoric is an advocacy for violence is nonsensical. Believe it or not, even hunters have enough sense to not shoot their political opponents, and can tell the difference between rhetoric and marching orders.

    The point remains that speech inciting violence needs to be critiqued as such by people of goodwill in this country–whatever its source.

    This is all well and good, but there are laws that already cover direct calls for violence. Everything else must be allowed, or else any strong statement of disagreement can be claimed to be an incitement of violence. Example: “Obama is wrong about healthcare, and must be stopped.” is an open-ended statement…how does one stop him? Such a statement could incite an insane person to make an attempt on the President’s life (God forbid that happen), seeing violent action as the only way to “stop” him from advancing his agenda.

    When talking about the actions of someone who is crazy, anything can incite violence. Anything can be a trigger. (oops…is that “vitriolic rhetoric”, since it uses gun imagery?) To blame one thing, especially without evidence, is foolish. To do so in order to advance one’s political agenda is sickening and reprehensible, and a disservice to those injured and killed (and the heroes who prevented it from being worse).

  134. PostCatholic says:

    I really wonder at people whose political compass is polished so much more highly than their moral compass.

    Let me, as a liberal, say there’s little difference between the rhetoric of Hannity and Maddow or Limbaugh and Olbermann. And I’ll also say I hold none of these people directly responsible for this, or the Tennessee Valley shooting, or the Wichita abortion shooting, or any other politically motivated violence by a deranged individual.

    What all of these “infotainers” are about is a base appeal to emotion by the use of strong language instead of reasoned debate. Any attempt to weigh one side or the other as somehow more or less culpable of “vitriolic speech” is to me an attempt to deflect being the first to accept a share in our societal culpability.

    I’m a former Catholic, and former Catholic seminarian, and one element of the baby I’m not ready to throw out with the bathwater is the idea of concupiscence. It seems to me that when we use violent language, when we vilify our opponents in strong terms, when we do not admit the inherent worth and dignity of each person even when they’re wrong, that then we are on a dangerous slope that leads to even worse problems. It’s not any one person’s particular sin, for instance, that our society is so ordered that people starve or die of exposure on our city streets; but it is a wrong which our participation in society either fosters or seeks to correct.

    We know that the United States has a very high incidence of severe mental illness in comparison to other nations. We know that it is difficult to access treatment for these illnesses for a variety of reasons. We are told by clinicians that people sick with these illnesses are very susceptible to what the media this week is calling “vitriole.” Given all of that, what is wrong with demanding our pundits, liberal and conservative, tone down their rhetoric and behave in a culture of respect and tolerance? Hatred of an opponent seems to me to make much harder the possibility of conversion and expiation. Why defend irresponsible and immoral conduct? Why not demand a new climate of debate and have the courage of our convictions that reason will prevail to our advantage?

    I know this thread is getting old, but this is not my attempt to have the last word. I really want to understand the mindset that conservatives have. So if, Rev. Zuhlsdorf, you have a response to this or if your followers do, I sincerely am listening in good faith.

  135. benedetta says:

    PostCatholic: Well there is no reason why not demand all that you stand for, toning down rhetoric and behaving in a culture of respect and tolerance. And I for one would say that in addition to demanding it of our pundits, we should also demand that this be taught in the home, in families, in schools through character formation, in parishes and places of worship of all faiths, in local newspaper, college and university, because it is in these environments, not sitting in front of the tv or computer, in which a culture of respect and tolerance is built. Just the whole concept that what people debate amounts to “rhetoric” is in and of itself a polite sort of dig, isn’t it?
    From my perspective, the greatest bullies, the least tolerant I encounter are those who are raised in no particular or lukewarm faith, and in homes which lack traditional values, who are quick with the sarcasm, are devoid of any sort of concept of innocence or goodness, and self-absorbed. Further, just for attempting to state a case for the pro-life position in an academic environment (secular liberal arts college) for me meant to my horror, shock and incomprehension, the experience of having both peers and professions shouting at me, alternating jeering with anger.
    Pro lifers have for years asked precisely the question you posit right now, well, why not err on the side of life? Even an atheist friend of the Holy Father concurs. The reply is always that this is far too much to ask of one another, that it isn’t possible (which harkens to the arguments in favor of slavery, actually), that we should not dictate our religion to others, that the government must stay out of people’s private decisions. So I guess if you want the culture to grow, less ironic, more innocent, more open, more respectful, more tolerant, well, I think you are going to have to ask more people than just the pundits to get on board and to lead by example.

  136. Supertradmum says:

    POTUS is going down to Arizona. He will make this into a platform for whatever he wants. I wish the members of the Right were smarter and would avoid any situation in language or action which would be interpreted by the nutsies on the Left as violence. Sarah Palin has done much to bring pro-life issues to the forefront, but she is not presidential material and does not always speak in a professional manner. In my mind, the entire group of people in the political arena have lost the manners of days past. A democracy and a republic should be places where people can disagree without hatred or super-nastiness. That Father Z was a prophet in the Left’s response reveals his own perspicacity, but also the predictability of our pathetic television media commentators on the Left, who thrive on demonization of the Right. If an attempt like this is made on POTUS, who should stay out of Arizona right now, we shall be under martial law pretty quickly….

    And, now we see that this young man was preoccupied with death and had an occult shrine in his backyard. Why doesn’t the Left talk about that, and the young man’s very troubled past with drugs, etc.? The Left picks and chooses information for its own benefit, not for the sake of truth.

  137. AnAmericanMother says:


    I don’t think you can have listened very much to any of those folks if you think they are equivalents. I find Hannity to be a rather dull witted fellow who talks over his callers and guests but has very little to say, certainly not the sort of obscene and violent rhetoric employed by Maddow and Olbermann. Limbaugh isn’t that stupid – he’s very good at what he does.

    It’s the same old story of projection – the overwhelming majority of obscene, violent, demeaning incitement comes from the left, not fringe private citizens but newscasters and politicians in positions of authority. You can see that by reading back up this thread. There really isn’t anything comparable from the right – people have to cite anonymous comments on websites (not this one) and ambiguous language or graphics that they claim are “vitriolic”. Nothing like calling for individuals and their families to be dragged out into the street and murdered, or calling other Americans “the enemy” as the president did, or falsely accusing their political opponents of being terrorists or members of the KKK.

    The reason is not that conservatives are any more virtuous than liberals, of course, but that conservatives are pilloried, hounded, and sometimes fired for every passing comment that could conceivably be considered “hateful” or “divisive” or “bigoted” or whatever, while liberals are by and large given a pass. So conservatives have to watch what they say, while liberals can let it all hang out (and they do).

    And as for political speech “setting off” the mentally ill — regardless of our sympathy and desire to help the unfortunate, stifling free speech – especially political speech which was the original purpose of the First Amendment – is not the answer.

    To the extent there is an answer, there needs to be earlier intervention in cases like this. The necessary laws are already on the books. If the community college had followed through, if law enforcement had investigated his earlier death threats, if his family had agreed to an intervention, then he would have received some sort of treatment and, more importantly, would have been unable to purchase a firearm with any of that on his record. But everybody dropped the ball.

    And, of course, since somebody as deranged as this perpetrator can be set off by anything from an ad for soap to psychic messages from his neighbor’s dog (remember “Son of Sam”?) we would never get to the end of it. Like the “speech codes” at universities; aside from the fact that they are unconstitutional, they wind up merely being used as a club to silence those with whom the administration disagrees.

  138. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z,
    Thanks for being so brave as to bring this up…and group should be followed by has, not have.


    As to your statistic which states that America has more mental illness than other countries, there are reasons for that. Firstly, other countries do not consider some of the behavior we see as mental illness as such. There exists different criteria among psychologists and psychiatrists in Europe, for example, than here. Secondly, we do not have real statistics for such countries as China, Russia, and other countries which are not open with their medical, and therefore, mental illness statistics. Thirdly, in some countries, violent behavior is not seen as part of mental illness. Can you imagine statistics in Muslim countries, such as Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, even Saudi Arabia, as considering their home-grown terrorists as mentally unstable? The comparison is neither just not accurate. Also, although this particular assassin seems to be insane and has caused trouble elsewhere. America is apt to call “evil” insanity, when in reality, one can be sane and perfectly evil-although the theologians argue this point; some stating that the more evil one becomes, the more one loses one’s ability for rational thought and behavior . I tend to agree with that stance. But, when one chooses the path to evil, one can be very sane, and still want the darkness.

  139. AnAmericanMother says:


    The political climate today is so much nicer and more refined than in the days of the Cleveland-Blaine presidential race — or Jefferson — or John Peter Zenger — or John Wilkes. Or have you ever looked at some of Thomas Nast’s grittier cartoons? He makes Ted Rall look like a women’s temperance meeting . . . and of course he was much more effective because he could actually draw.

    Why, we haven’t had a Know-Nothing riot or a reference to “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion” in over 125 years!

    Seriously, politics is a rough game and always has been. I don’t like it any more than you do, but when this much power and money are at stake, people are going to push the envelope. We can call them on it as much as possible, but it can’t be eliminated without changing the hearts of the people. That’s where the change has to come from, not from imposing penalties because that always turns into just another political weapon.

  140. benedetta says:

    Also I wonder if anyone has taken a look at the “music video” that the culprit favorited on youtube? Filled with pierced, tattooed and wildhaired men screaming about bodies hitting the floor, it can only be described as satanic and designed to engender fear and violent reaction in the listener, not to mention the whole tatoo and piercing culture it celebrates. I wonder whether we will hear from anyone that this extremely commercially lucrative media industry ought to be toned down? At least one researcher quoted had the courage to note the correlation between this sort of media and actual violence and destruction. I look forward to hearing our President touch on this aspect of American youth culture and initiating a national dialogue in the coming weeks and months as to whether we ought to be more discerning as to what types of “artistic expressions” we permit into our households.

  141. AnAmericanMother says:


    Exactly what I meant about changing people’s hearts. You said it better.

  142. Supertradmum says:


    Thank you for your good comments. I only have one thing I would like to clarify. The community college cannot by law do anything but dismiss a student for bad behavior, and possibly inform the police of a problem person. Threats or bad behavior are, in themselves, not illegal, although scary and inappropriate. Sadly, educational institutions have their hands tied by the legal system. We had two episodes last term in my building, and I was involved in one, and the students were “warned”, but could not be expelled until, first, the Dean had a personal meeting with each student, which she did, and secondly, the threats were determined as dangerous to those in the classroom, which they were not. In both cases, the students removed themselves from the classrooms. But, basically, as a teacher, I can only phone the police if something violent actually happens, not because of threats. One teacher, who broke up a gang fight in the classroom, had to wait a long time for the police to come. She was alone and only had other students to help her. Our community college has no full-time security, because of cuts in the state budget. Sadly, teachers do the best they can in a bad political climate full of the fear of law-suits. As to following up, beyond informing the police of threats or weird behavior, there is nothing the educational institution at the college level can actually do, but expel the student.

    At universities and colleges which have dorms, there are doctors and psychologists on staff to deal more directly with things, but this is not true for most “day colleges”, such as community colleges.

  143. AnAmericanMother says:


    I wish it were possible for conservatives to “avoid any situation in language or action which would be interpreted by the nutsies on the Left as violence,” but it can’t be done so long as the nutsies control the narrative.

    Nothing is so innocuous that it cannot be twisted into something sinister if only one side has a voice. Remember the guy who got fired because he used the word “niggardly” in a memo and somebody interpreted that as a racial slur?

  144. Supertradmum says:

    PS. Easily, half of my students have tattoos and piercings. And, I have had a warlock or witch in my classes at least once a year. This type of stuff is no longer “marginal”.

  145. Supertradmum says:


    You are correct as to people twisting things for their own benefit. However, we have a wonderful language and a heritage of wit and humor, both of which are missing in the present arena. What ever happened to the clever riposte, or the type of wit seen in such men as Thomas More, Benjamin Disraeli, etc. And, of course, American politics, as you have justly pointed out, have been on the rough side. Can we “blame” Jackson?

  146. AnAmericanMother says:


    Our messages crossed. Our legal situation here must be a little different, because “terroristic threats” and “stalking” are both felonies under Georgia law, and it wouldn’t make any difference if the crime were committed on a community college campus or elsewhere. An actual gang fight would be aggravated assault anywhere, I would think the D.A. would be very interested in that.

    Obviously the school policies will control what can be done to a student as far as expelling or removing from class, but I wouldn’t think that would affect reporting a felony to law enforcement. The story is still not nailed down completely, but it appears that the school attempted to have the perp’s parents sign a consent to mental health treatment and they refused (and they have now refused to allow the FBI to search their property). It also appears that multiple individuals, not just school officials or students, reported death threats from this individual, and law enforcement assured them that he was in treatment even though he wasn’t, and didn’t seek a warrant.

    I think there will be a few heads rolling over this — we had a similar situation here in the most dysfunctional county in the state (Fulton) when a career felon was mistakenly released after committing aggravated assault and robbery and went on to kill a state patrolman the next week when stopped while driving a carjacked vehicle. It would be comical to see the judges, jail personnel, prosecutors and law enforcement all pointing the finger at each other, except that a fine young man, husband and parent is dead. And that of course is the problem when the system doesn’t do its job, little problems become great big problems in a hurry.

    I hope somebody in your jurisdiction can use this situation to good effect in getting your school more options to dealing with violent and deranged students.

  147. AnAmericanMother says:

    Oh, sorry, I forgot about Andy. There was a wild man for you.

    I will say that even though he may have been the ultimate loose cannon in politics, at least he had the raw animal courage to put his life on the line. When he was shot in the chest in that duel with the man who insulted his wife (and carried the bullet, which lodged in the pericardium, to his grave), somebody asked him how he managed to calmly aim, fire, and kill his man with a bullet next to his heart. His answer, “I should have killed him, sir, had he shot me through the brain!” gives me cold chills at two hundred years’ remove.

  148. Supertradmum says:

    Me, too, as a teacher, one considers leaving the field for safer places. I had someone stalking me and so did my son.

    According to my lawyer and law enforcement, nothing could be done unless these people put a foot on my property, which they did not. If they were driving by, or following us around at college, nothing was done. We even had internet involvement with one of the persons, but my lawyer said to “ignore it”. This was not a death threat, but gross language and lying. The severely disruptive in-class behavior of the other student was dealt with, with a warning. Thankfully, the student removed himself from my class.

    As to felonies, especially death threats, once the college gives the information over to the police, and expels the student, there is nothing to be done unless the teacher wants to take the student to court. Most part-time teachers are not in a financial position to do such a thing. As to parents, most of my students do not live at home and their parents may not even be in the same city. I do not know what parent involvement is in your state, but basically here, over 18, the student’s parents are not involved, unless the student lives at home. I do not know of a college institution which has taken a student to court for a death-threat to a teacher in this area. Weird behavior is much more difficult to pin-down, but if my class is disturbed by a student’s behavior, I can get the student removed from my class.

    I agree with the Arizona case that the law enforcement should have followed up the treatment bit, but the community college does not have authority in these areas. In the assault case, of the two students fighting in class, the students were expelled. I do not know who would bring charges against them for fighting in the classroom. The teacher was traumatized by the event. I do not know if she is back.

  149. AnAmericanMother says:

    You may be seeing some folks who used to go to trade school rather than community college, or who never went past high school. One thing I’ve noticed is that more people go to college now, and the SAT scores keep going down.

    And I’ve been in law or law enforcement for, oh, 35-40 years now, and while there are more piercings than there used to be, we have NEVER had any shortage of tattoos. I will say that the Wiccans are a lot less secretive than they used to be, although they’ve always been around. The real ones are still pretty private and by and large are on the fringe – menial jobs, not much contact with others. Many young kids are wannabes rather than the real thing – they wear the paraphernalia and claim the name but just get bogus stuff off the internet. Sometimes they’re harmless and just going through a phase, but every so often a violent nutcase gets involved in that stuff and the results aren’t pretty.

    I do think it’s insane for it to be treated as a valid religion by government though, all it does is encourage them.

  150. AnAmericanMother says:

    My hat is off to you. It takes real dedication to try to teach when your hands are tied by egg-walking administrations, indifferent parents, and kids who don’t want to learn and want to disrupt or worse.

    It’s a shame that the administration and parents won’t back up the teachers. If I did something dumb at school, I got punished by the assistant principal (I never got the paddle but it was always hanging there as an Awful Warning) and I got punished again when I got home. Apparently those dear dead days are beyond recall.

  151. Supertradmum says:

    I have taught in four different community colleges off and on since 1999 in this state. Many of my students are “at risk” students, that is, those who come from families who never had anyone go through college and are minorities. The minority students are not church-going, nor are most of the other kids. Some of my students are wealthy, and can get their basics done cheaply before transferring to the big universities or private colleges in the area. Sadly, the gangs have been in our area for over twenty years. We get the gangs from Chicago. Now, there are Latino gangs in the area, as well. The fights are over turf.

  152. Supertradmum says:

    Some people may think this is old news, but S. Palin’s commentary today is rather eloquent. I put the link here:

    I see that she has thought out the problem and has the courage and sense to respond. I do not think she is presidential material, but she has exhibited a great deal of reflection and historical perspective, as well as political moxy herein.

  153. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m really beginning to wonder if all of us who have been saying that she “isn’t presidential material” are just repeating a judgment we made early on without considering subsequent events.

    I didn’t think she was either, but after viewing this response as well as some of her earlier and very well thought out comments, and considering the unending succession of full scale attacks she has withstood, I’m willing to rethink my position.

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