Even a handshake and a few words really brings tragedies like this home on a personal level.
This is not to say that I supported her politically. Giffords has long been of interest to patriotic immigration reformers because her district is on the border, and because of her own artful stance. She was a "Blue Dog" and some conservatives are trying to claim her as one of their own, but Giffords was generally if surreptitiously on the wrong side of the immigration issue.
She attempted to increase border security, voted for E-Verify, and opposed the Obama administration’s lawsuit against SB 1070. However she opposed SB 1070 itself, and co-sponsored the STRIVE Act amnesty while claiming to have some reservations. (See also here, here, here and here).
But whatever our differences, like everyone at VDARE.com, I do not wish any physical harm to our opponents—to say nothing of the innocent bystanders.
This should go without saying. But, given the agenda of the Left, the Department of Homeland Security, and Main Stream Media, these simple sentiments need to be restated.
While Americans grieved, the Left did not wait until the bodies were hauled off to start using the attack to suppress the free speech of their ideological opponents. Before the names were drawn, the first smear victim was Sarah Palin.
Palin had "targeted" Giffords’ race and used a crosshairs over Giffords’ district on a website map.
After such a tragedy, this metaphor looks unfortunate. However, this is hardly fair. In 2004, the Democratic Leadership Committee issued an almost identical map with similar bulls-eyes on Republican districts they hoped to pick up in Red States, which they referred to as "behind enemy lines" .
The appalling Rep Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has taken the lead in the smear campaign. According to the Huffington Post:
"‘The climate has gotten so toxic in our political discourse, setting up for this kind of reaction for too long. It’s unfortunate to say that. I hate to say that,’ Grijalva said in an interview with The Huffington Post. ‘If you’re an opponent, you’re a deadly enemy,’ Grijalva said of the mindset among Arizona extremists. ‘Anybody who contributed to feeding this monster had better step back and realize they’re threatening our form of government.’Note that Grijalva’s true intentions come through—he does not even discuss rhetoric, he simply says he wants Palin to shut up completely.
"Grijalva said that Tea Party leader Sarah Palin should reflect on the rhetoric that she has employed. ‘She — as I mentioned, people contributing to this toxic climate — Ms. Palin needs to look at her own behavior, and if she wants to help the public discourse, the best thing she could do is to keep quiet.’
[Grijalva: Tea Party Must" Look At Their Own Behavior, Ryan Griffin, Huffington Post, January 8, 2011]
Of course, Grijalva gives no example of Palin using the words "enemies" to describe her opponents. But the same cannot be said of President Obama.
Still, had a Hispanic killed Lou Barletta or Tom Tancredo, I would not have blamed Obama. This is just the nature of political rhetoric. In one of the few sensible MSM pieces, Jack Schafer of Slate notes:
"For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such ‘inflammatory’ words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read—and even written!—vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I’ve even gotten angry, for goodness’ sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge.Of course all this assumes that the shooter is a deranged Palin supporter. However the details we have about Jared Loughner suggest that he is just a garden variety paranoid wacko—if not a leftist.
"From what I can tell, I’m not an outlier. Only the tiniest handful of people—most of whom are already behind bars, in psychiatric institutions, or on psycho-meds—can be driven to kill by political whispers or shouts. Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer."
[In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric, January 9, 2011]
There was no discernible ideology in Loughner’s MySpace page. He listed both Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto as his favorite books, along with both Ayn Rand’s We the Living and (of all things) the liberal anti-segregation novel To Kill a Mocking Bird.
Loughner posted a number of videos on YouTube which were just text, with such rantings as
"This video is my introduction to you! My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream — sadly.To say the least, Loughner has some psychological problems, along with problems with authority. But there’s nothing suggesting that he is a right-winger.
"Firstly, the current government officials are in power for their currency, but I’m informing you for your new currency! If you’re treasuerer of a new money system, then you’re responsible for the distributing of a new currency. We now know — the treasurer for a new money system, is the distributor of the new currency. As a result, the people approve a new money system which is promising new information that’s accurate, and we truly believe in a new currency. Above all, you have your new currency, listener?
"Secondly, my hope - is for you to be literate! If you’re literate in English grammar, then you comprehend English grammar. The majority of poeple, who reside in District 8, are illiterate — hilarious. I don’t control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure.
"Thirdly, I know who’s listening: Government Officials, and the People. Nearly all the people, who don’t know this accurate information of a new currency, aren’t aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn’t have happen."
[Spelling errors in original][The Crazed Internet Rantings of Jared Loughner, Dan Gibson, Tucson Citizen, January 8, 2011]
Indeed, his former friend, Catie Parker described him as just the opposite:
"He was a political radical and met Giffords once before in ‘07, asked her a question and he told me she was ‘stupid and unintelligent.’ He was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix, The Doors, Anti-Flag.... As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal and oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy."But, despite all the evidence pointing against their narrative, both the government and the MSM continue to pretend Loughner was a right-wing extremist. In the process, they have absurdly tried to tie him to the unimpeachably genteel Jared Taylor of American Renaissance. Fox News reported a leaked government alleging this—the full text as it relates to American Renaissance is as follows
[Jared Loughner, Alleged Shooter in Gabrielle Giffords Attack, Described by Classmate as "Left-Wing Pothead", James King, Phoenix New Times, January 8, 2011]
"Intervention by someone?* no direct connection - but strong suspicion is being directed at AmRen / American Renaissance. Suspect is possibly linked to this group. (through videos posted on his myspace and YouTube account.). The group’s ideology is anti government, anti immigration, anti ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti Semitic. Gabrielle Gifford is the first Jewish female elected to such a high position in the US government. She was also opposite this group’s ideology when it came to immigration debate. "[On the Memo, Laura Rozen, Politico, January 9, 2011]The inaccuracies are astounding. Giffords is misspelled as "Gifford." She is far from the first Jewish female elected to such a position with Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein being elected decades before her. And not even its enemies claim that American Renaissance is anti-Semitic, anti "ZOG", or anti-Government. The Politico interviewed Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center:
"Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, described the American Renaissance’s journal as a ‘kind of white-collar, white supremacists outlet, better described as white nationalists’ that is read by ‘pseudo intellectuals’ and ‘academic racists.’He said the group focuses on race and IQ issues, specifically that African Americans are not as intelligent as whites. The group had a debate about whether they should also concentrate on Jews, but the majority ‘was not into that,’ Potok said. ‘Jared Taylor is not an anti-Semite,’ Potok said." [DHS probing shooter’s ties to fanatical group, byMaggie Haberman, January 9, 2011.Emphasis added].The Anti Defamation League was even more skeptical of any link. The Christian Science Monitor reported:
"Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League, is skeptical about any hard connection between Loughner and American Renaissance.When Jared Taylor was able to make a statement, he made it very clear that thie claim was complete hogwash, telling Fox News, "I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term ‘ZOG.’ We have never thought in those terms. If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us."
‘The fans of American Renaissance tend to be older and they tend to be intellectuals or pseudo-intellectuals,’ says Mr. Pitcavage. ‘Based on the limited nature of [Loughner’s] internet footprint suggesting his thoughts and beliefs, there’s nothing to lead one to think he would lean that way. It’s perplexing to us that there is a notion of a substantial connection.’"
[AAmerican Renaissance: Was Jared Lee Loughner tied to anti-immigrant group? Patrick Johnson, January 9, 2011]
Taylor said that he searched for Loughner and found that he never showed up at their conferences and was not a subscriber.
The facts about what exactly this memo is will presumably come out eventually. It’s possible it was a complete fraud that duped Fox News and the other outlets. It is also possible that it came from the Fusion Center. The Politico notes:
"Earlier Sunday, officials had downplayed that there was such an official DHS memo per se. A read of the document suggests that it may be connected to Arizona’s Counter Terrorism Information Center (AcTIC) — part of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security. ’The ACTIC is still playing a major role in the investigation,’ the document states."But if the memo is genuine, it speaks volumes about both the anti-free speech agenda of government agencies, and how the tools we granted them in the name of fighting Muslim terrorists are being used against patriotic Americans—plus the blatant inaccuracies demonstrate utter incompetence as well.
The episode also shows just how unscrupulous the MSM is. Had the media outlets done any homework at all, they would have quickly found that anyone who knows Jared Taylor or is even remotely familiar with him or the American Renaissance writers knows that they do not concern themselves with Jews, or fringe ideas about the legitimacy of the Federal Government.
So far, there is no evidence that Loughner even visited American Renaissance’s website. And if he did, there is no evidence that it had anything to do with his attack on Giffords.
If one wants to look at violence surrounding American Renaissance, one only needs to look at its radical left wing opponents. As I reported in 2010, the group attempted to hold a conference in Northern Virginia, but hotel after hotel cancelled after leftists sent threats like "If you hold this conference I will go in there and shoot you." [See VDARE’s The Saga Of American Renaissance’s 2010 Conference: "Anarcho-Tyranny" In Actionfor more]
Taylor plans on holding the conference next month, but due to the threats is forced to move it to Charlotte, NC and keep the location secret.
In contrast to the attention given to American Renaissance’s non-existent connection to Loughner, this clear act of political violence did not warrant a peep in the MSM.
Were our constitutional liberties not at stake, the sheer absurdity of these smears would be amusing.
Unfortunately, both the government and the MSM have made it very clear that they are willing to exploit this terrible tragedy.
Our prayers go out to Gabrielle Giffords and the 11 other victims of Jared Loughner.
Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist.