70 comments on “The Power of the Tongue

  1. As I said on another site, Sarah Palin has never called for the death of anyone. The people on this and other sites screaming it is all the fault of Palin and others connected to the Tea Party and just projecting their own hate on the ones they hate. The only place I hear a call of violence is from the Progressives. Unions, New Black Panthers, colleges and universities, PETA, Green Peace, Weather Underground, I could go on and on with names of organizations that incite violence. Not one is a conservative group. This is all about mental illness and nothing else.

    • I don’t know what universe you like yousemitegirl. Since coming on the scene, Sarah Palin has stoked and fanned the flames of hate and division that cause horrors like this to happen. The media also plays a part because they encourage and give a platform to Hatemongers like Palinl, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Savage, O’Reilly and the rest of them who knowingly and willingly tell lies to gin up their gullible listeners as they make a fortune doing so.

      • @Mike,
        Do you even have ANY evidence that this young man listened to any of those people??? The only thing I know for sure (from his own sites) is that he listened to heavy music. Is that to blame too?

  2. I am sorry for this tragic incident. Surely the right to bear arms should not be more important than the right to live in relative safety. I wish that there will be less of such incidents instead of more.

    • In Genesee county (Where I live), we had 70 murders last year. 62, by last count were in Flint alone and 51 of them were in an area 1/10 the size of all Flint. How do you explain this if the guns are the problem??? I live in a VERY peaceful corner of Genesee County and I have 5 guns in my house alone. Including my neighbors on both sides, we have 10 guns that I know of.

  3. @ Yosemitegirl: Defend it all you want, but it is an undeniable fact that Sarah Palin put Mrs. Giffords name on a graphic with gun crosshairs. I happily concede to your ability to debate the extent to which Palin’s activities led to Gifford being nearly assassinated, but there is no debate that Palin is responsible for the offending graphic and rhetoric in the first place.

  4. I’m amazed at the rhetoric being thrown around on this site by highly intelligent, normally rational people. We know NOTHING of this kid’s motives or influences. Yet, somehow Sarah Palin’s to blame? Rush and Hannity? Do all of you rush to judge Muslims as being connected to extremists if they commit a crime? Was the Flint Slasher the result of extremist rhetoric? Would Kieth Oberman be responsible if some nut-job killed Bush? How about Bill Maher? How about Michael Moore? Please people, your making an irrational leap. If the evidence shows a connection between Palin and this kid, so be it. In the meantime, your really reaching to blame someone you already hate.

    • Dude, are you SERIOUS?!?! A congresslady is listed with cross hairs. She gets shot. Can you NOT make the connection?! Typical conservative. Can’t see the trees from the forest. Better yet: can’t see the trees OR the forest. Just whatever Fox News says is there.

      • First off Mike, I’m a registered Democrat who voted for Obama (Andre will vouch for this), but thanks for assuming. Secondly, your drawing a correlation between two things you have NO, and I mean zero, evidence of being connected. It just sounds right in your world. Thirdly, “targeted districts” is a term used by both sides (I can give you proof if you need it). Have you never heard of other military terms like “battleground states” or “Obama’s Army”? Finally, I listen to several news sources, including Fox News so I don’t end up in a echo chamber where my views are just reinforced. BTW, it’s also why I come here. (Besides, Andre a great writer.)

      • Why would she leave it up for people like you to site? Politically, it only works for your side. What is your PROOF of any connections?

  5. I’m not going to make this about wingnuts, per se. I think there IS something to be said about how people use language (the ultimate point in this post) and how language has power. Words DO have an ability to define people, inform them, scare them, encourage them, agitate them, sooth them, mobilize them, etc. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: words have consequences. That’s certainly a topic worth debating.

    But after taking a step back from THAT conversation for a second, I think a bigger story (that hasn’t been covered here) is how we deal with people that are mentally unstable and how they are able to access guns.

    From what I’ve been reading, people thought this kid was a nutcase from day one. But it doesn’t appear that ‘the powers that be’ did much to prevent a menacing threat. They didn’t even bother to address it; much less take it seriously. This is an unnerving reality; and a reality that puts the rest of us at risk when people with mental illness and access to guns snap like this. This is V. Tech and Columbine all over again.

    Mental health treatment and – quite frankly – removal from society needs to happen pro-actively rather than after a person had committed another mass killing. That may not be the politcally correct position to have, but I’d rather that happen than to watch a weekend trip to a shopping center turn into Russian roulettewith somebody’s life.

    • “From what I’ve been reading, people thought this kid was a nutcase from day one. But it doesn’t appear that ‘the powers that be’ did much to prevent a menacing threat. They didn’t even bother to address it; much less take it seriously. ”

      Great point. Shame on the people who saw this kid go south mentally and did not step in to give him what help they could. Forget the political talk. The blood of those poor victims are on the hands of the people who looked the other way.

  6. My heart goes out to all those affected by this terrible tragedy but, it annoys me to no end that this incident has been turned into such political fodder. This man is mentally ill, possibly a schizophrenic acting out in a state of delusional psychosis. To assign any relevance or credibility to him is useless because he lives in another world and it is only there, in his personal la-la land, that any of this can make sense. While the political rhetoric can and must most certainly be toned down in this country, please don’t use incidents like this to add even more fuel to the fire. The tone of media writers and bloggers on many sites that I’ve viewed has gone way beyond normal to where I’m wondering if there isn’t a general psychosis going on lately.

    • At the heart of it, I agree with you Kari. I think it’s normal to assume that since this shooting happened at a political event, it’s politically motivated. I won’t argue with anyone who thinks as such. But I think the much bigger picture should be looked at. The guy has mental issues. Does that mean he’s not guilty by reason of insanity? I wouldn’t go that far. He still had the whewithal to wherewithal to load the gun, travel to the location, and fire it…even if his shots were fired indiscriminately. But there is something deeply troubled about this kid that may have been intercepted with help. But it wasn’t. People are dead because of it.

  7. This kid had some serious mental health problems, way beyond any politics, this wasn’t about politics, this kid was severely delusional, and believed all of his irrational thoughts. The fact he thought the government was using mind control on him is not funny especially when he’s being 100% serious. In his head he truly believed his irrational thoughts. People around him who recognized this (cause he couldn’t) needed to get him psychological help. But it’s too late and we must learn from this, these people can become a danger too society if not properly treated, do not take it as a joke. Seeking Mental Health therapy can help these individuals, obviously people around him were concerned but that’s all, they were only concerns and no one ever took action. He had pictures of his guns on myspace, he had teachers complaining about his odd behavior. What else needed to happen?!

  8. F*** all those bastards who spew their hate speech and try to shield themselves the 1st ammemdment. They’re as guilty of killing those people as that nutcase.

    • F**K the 1st amendment!!! Who needs it anyway when I can have people like you to tell what I should think and say.

  9. Seriously people, what ever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? If there ends up being a connection between talk radio or Sarah Palin, then fine. But, for now, it seems like you just blaming someone you already hate with no evidence there’s any connection. I have to go now to pay my gas bill which went up most likely because of Jews and then I’ll see if I can find the black guy who stole my lawnmower. I didn’t see him take it, but one just moved into my neighborhood, so I know it’s him. I mean, he moves in, my lawnmower vanishes. Anyone who can’t see the connection is blind! (sarcasm)

    • Innocent until proven guilty?! Tell that to the 20 people this assclown shot. Tell that to the parents of that poor 9 year old. Tell that to the poor congresswoman who was shot in the head. When you go out and shoot people in plane view of others and in broad daylight, the guilt is proven right then and there. I hope your not a defense attorney. You’d argue this losers innocents and cash in the checks.

      • Nice strawman. It’s not the killer I’m defending. It’s Talk radio, Sarah Palin, Gun Owners, etc. that I’m defending until proven guilty. BTW, nice attempt to hold up dead people to validate your prejudice. My sympathies for those poor families and victims doesn’t justify pointing a finger at people who may not have been involved in any way. I’m glad your not on a jury.

    • Anon: I think he’s referring to the connection between this shooting and Sarah Palin.

  10. HipCon,

    I agree that empirical evidence is not currently in place to directly tie this shooting to Palin, Bachmann, Beck, Limbaugh, Savage, or any other wingnuts.

    But the thing of it all: the message of toning down the inciteful rhetoric was just as pertinent on Friday, Jan. 7 as it was on Saturday, Jan. 8. When a person uses terms like “death panels”, “second ammendment remedies”, or when you see crosshairs and bulls eyes on signs, you surely can’t dismiss that. I don’t think ANYBODY will ever freely admit that they shot up a building because they were motivated by something they heard from Palin. But that doesn’t mean it won’t (or hasn’t) happened.

    To err on the side of caution, it should be in the interest of people who have widely followed platforms not to EVER use that kind of language.

    We’ve been talking about the right wingnuts for the most part in this disucssion. But let’s clear on something: leftists are not exempt here. I hear some of their language and I take note of some of their antics. If you don’t think that a lefty has some of those same violent ideas lurking around in their head, you’re mistaken. It’s just that the right is getting the most play now because they have the dominant voice of opposition.

  11. I love the approach you took on this post, Andre. It’s above and beyond what I’ve been exposed to. All over the web, on TV, etc. people are doing the same exact thing. People on the left are trying to tie this to the GOP/TEA Party. Meanwhile, the GOP/TEA party are scurrying to cover themselves. Nobody truly knows the guy’s motivations, but that doesn’t matter. Everything is just another opportunity to take a shot at the “enemies” on the other side of the aisle. Forget the victims. Forget the chance to have true discourse about mental illness. Let’s just villify one another.

  12. Hey Dre,
    I don’t have any problem calling people out on incendiary language. I fact, I believe that’s the proper function of free speech. People on the right called out President Obama for saying, “They bring a knife to the fight, we’ll bring a gun.” That’s the way it should be. No new laws or censorship. I just feel that these articles are written in advance and they (the Left Stream Media) are waiting with baited breath for an event to hitch it to. In this instance, they put the cart before the horse. Unfortunately, one day they’ll actually have the event and the nut they’re looking for and the free speech of people like me will suffer. It’s not the censoring that I have such a problem with, it’s WHO get’s to do the censoring. Imagine that I get to decide. It’s a little like me being able to remove any arguments here that I find offensive, based on an arguable premise.

  13. Wow! Good discussion, everyone! =)

    I guess my only question would be: would Congresswoman Gifford had been victimized like this if the crosshair site (or any other inflammatory things like it) existed?

    • Good question Caitlin. Honestly, I don’t know. But I DO know that many, MANY people in this country are ill-informed about political issues and that they get their “information” from various news sources and outlets that report along partisan lines. Those outlets – in an effort to keep people’s attention – have to sensationalize things, often by heightening the tone and language of the message/information they’re disseminating. It’s in that sensationalism where the problem lies.

    • So, does he REALLY expect me to believe that he’ll tell Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage to kill all that noise they’re making?! Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

    • One more thing, WTF is Ailes talking about? “…the Democrat Party had a targeted map with targets on it for the Palin district.” Since when has Sarah Palin been a district representative? Lie much, Roger?

  14. Sarah Palin is not the sole cause of this act of terrorism. I place the blame with the entire Tea Party leadership. Not one of these people spoke out against the repeated use of violent imagery and rhetoric used in their campaigns or at their rallies.

    Here are but a few examples:
    Sarah Palin’s infamous “Target” map and “don’t retreat-reload” hyperbole.

    Jessie Kelly’s “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

    Sharron Angle’s “Second Ammendment Remedy” comments.

    Joyce Kaufman’s “If ballots don’t work, bullets will” speeches.

    And the endless signs at Tea Party demonstrations reading “I didn’t bring my gun- this time” or “We came unarmed (this time)” and even “Warning if Brown can’t stop it- a browning (symbol of a gun) can” or “I’ve got your trigger right here, it’s called the Second Amendment”.

    But worst of all were the openly armed Tea Party demonstrators!

    Anyone seeing these things and not realizing that it most definitely could lead to an act of violence is either blinded by their own political zealotry or as psychotic as the man who pulled the trigger.

    • Abso-freaking-lutely. Anybody who can’t see that is a fool or worse: a partisan nut.

  15. HMMMM, you don’t agree with me……so your “blinded by their own zealotry”, “psychotic”, “a fool” or “a partison nut”. It’s good to see at least you guys aren’t involved in any effort to dehumanize people to a point where it’s OK to hate, or even hurt them. Hate and fear walk hand in hand. Tell me, why is so foul when Tea Partiers do it, but OK when you do it? Sure, your justified in your own minds, but if you rape my sister because I raped yours….aren’t we both still rapists?

    “He who seeks revenge, should dig two graves”-one for his own honor.

    • Um, excuse me thehc. Who said it was OK “when we do it”? If I see Democratic political figures using the same language that I’ve heard from Tea Partiers lately, then I’ll write a comment just as condeming. But of course, I shouldn’t expect people who support the Tea Party to see things logically.

      • Um, excuse me Lizzie, but I was quoting YOU. I don’t belong to, or support the Tea Party except that I agree with them that we are far too far in debt. If you would condemn the Dems for the same thing, then I applaud you. I don’t engage in name-calling and I’m not a big fan of people who try to vilify a group that they disagree with by portraying them with some stereotype created by their detractors. How would you like it if whatever group your in was defined by your worst element? Should we define blacks that way? Gays? Terrell is right, why waste your time on me? I just want a fair and civil discussion without stereotypes and name-calling.

  16. I’m sitting here wondering how long it will be before someone shoots Sarah Palin, given the level of hatred the left generates against her, and if any of you will feel partly to blame.

  17. Yeah, give me a break. PETA dumping red paint on fur coats is the same as shooting a politician in the head. Those EVIL liberal extremists!


  18. There’s no way anyone can deny that the dolts in the Tea Party and the Republican party have been encouraging violence. It’s not like this is the first time somebody has said or done something in the interest of “taking the country back” Even accepting “cross-hairs” as a metaphor, if someone is “destroying America” or trying to form “death panels” or trying to “enslave (white) people” – how the fuck do you think people will respond? That said, trying to absolve conservatives of culpability is laughable on its face.

    The same conservative assholes arguing about how gangsta rap contributes to inner-city violence will act like muted retards when the question of how hateful rhetoric translates into what we saw in Arizona. At least a long to gangsta rap has dope beats.

    This goes back to the whole notion, discussed here in several posts, that we need to rethink the notion of “free speech.” Or, rather, mainstream whites need to rethink the notion of “free speech.” At the very least, even if there’re only 10 people in a theater and you know one is an undiagnosed schizophrenic, you can’t yell “fire!” Which is to say, no matter what they (now claim they) intended, they had to know that there is at least 1 person who would do what Loughner did. And if they didn’t, they need a mental evaluation themselves.

    • @ABD,
      I’m not sure I agree with you that Gangsta Rap OR talk radio is to blame for violent people being violent. (it most likely contributes, but we have to ask ourselves if it’s worth losing our freedom of expression to get rid of it.) But at least your consistant in your logic and I understand it.

      • Just pointing out the double standards, bro. They’ll say that rap is harmful, but the shit some of those neo-con Teabaggers say is A-OK. My ass, it is.

  19. I meant to say “At least a lot of gangsta rap has dope beats” My typing fingers get itchy when I get angry (which is everyday it seems).

    • Lol, I have the same problem.
      “Not grinding your teeth makes it easier to listen.”

  20. Hey Dre,
    How’s about you and me actually attending one of these Tea Party Rallies? I’ve been to two but only for a few minutes at each. We could film it and take pics for your blog and I could get your perspective and see if there is any racism and how you are treated. Call me at my office or respond here.

    • Are any of you shocked by this? This bitch won’t own up to anything she’s ever done. She’s probably looking at her kids denying that she had them.

  21. From Sarah Palin’s own mouth: “And they claim that political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated?”

    So you really want to compare now and then? Back in the day, it was acceptable to own slaves. Are we really supposed to be OK with limited progress, Sarah? God this woman is unbelievable.

    • Naw, dude. My favorite line was “When we say take up arms, we’re talking about our votes.”

      Excuse me while I puke out my guts from laughing and crying simulataenously.

    • I’ve seen some hideous things in politics. But Sarah Palin’s “Don’t Retreat, Reload [on the excuses]” speech was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And I lived through George W. Bush.

  22. I’m still baffled. Isn’t this the same kind of language that your all complaining about? Aren’t you all encouraging “hate speech” against Sarah Palin? I don’t much like or respect the woman at all, but it seems hypocritical to complain about it and then engage in it. (Like calling her a “bitch”) Am I missing something?

    • Please thehc, do us and yourself a favor…work as Sarah Palin’s political advisor. Your lovefest with this loon is as obvious as it is sickening. But maybe you can talk some sense into her. Based on your responses however, I’m not holding my breath.

    • When one of us says “It’s time to take Sarah Palin out” and then watch somebody try to kill her, then yes, we’ll all be just as bad as Palin. Give me a break.

    • Hi Megan,
      While I try not to hate anyone for their opinions, this guy is getting on my nerves. Doesn’t his religion teach decency and respect? Much more of a mystery is how he gets people to follow him. Unfortunately, nothing unites people more than someone, or in this case, some group, to mutually hate.

    • I agree with you 100%. I would never push for legislation banning him from his free speech (which is what Arizona is doing), but I can’t wrap my head around this kind of hatred. I’m at a loss for words.

  23. Guys, I don’t know how/why thehc is being turned into a bad guy here. If you follow his comments on a lot of political posts, he’s far from the right wingnut you’re painting him as. In fact, in this conversation, he’s about as rational as they come. Palin was irresponsible with her rhetoric. Others are as well. But the blame game isn’t the way to go. The shooter is emotionally and mentally unstable. Until he indicates that his action was motivated by something he heard, this is all conjecture, at best. Plus the name calling, insult hurling, and language I’ve heard here is no better than what we’re accusing people like Palin of doing.

    • Like I said, the minute somebody winds up dead because of something I said, I’ll give you that point.

    • Thank you KC,
      I’m not used to being defended. I’ve tried my best to be civil and simply ask questions. I’ve haven’t called anyone here any names. I’m no fan of Sarah, in fact, If I were devoted to being a Democrat, I would be praying right now that she wins the nomination in 2012 instead of tearing her down. She wouldn’t have a chance of winning since she can’t even pretend to be a centralist and the far right candidates always lose. I don’t think most people even know why they hate her so much. Sure, she says dumb things, but so does Joe Biden (like telling a paraplegic to stand and take a bow). I don’t hate him and my sister is a paraplegic. I can’t, and probably never will, understand how to hate someone so much that didn’t really do anything to you. Maybe that’s why I can’t hate all Republicans, or all Democrats, or all of any group. There’s too many of them that didn’t do anything to me. The fact that I disagree with them is, to me, an opportunity to hear another point of view. The biggest danger we all face, in my opinion, is that one day we’ll only hear one side, and that side will know it.

  24. “Each individual is accountable for his actions…” except when he’s a Muslim, in which case all 1 billion Muslims are monolithically to blame.

  25. So when you yell fire in a crowded theater, that’s ok. On personal responsibility, obviously Palin accepts none. Her shrill defense of the absurd only heightens the strengthening opinion held by many that she is a moral and ethical light weight.

  26. Naw, dude. My favorite line was “When we say take up arms, we’re talking about our votes.”
    So Sarah, just telling to people to vote has gone out of style? You need to use weapons metaphors? Got it.

  27. “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them.” – Sarah Palin

    Really? So why was it in any way relevant that Barack Obama was “palling around with terrorists”? If the acts of the radical left began and ended with them alone, why was Palin so insistent in the campaign on linking Obama to the Weather Underground – even though he’d met them decades after their crimes?

  28. So now, the lamestream media is after Sarah Palin for her word choice in her speech. Gosh, is this even a surprise anymore?

    I’m shocked that you haven’t tried to take your shots, Andre. I was sure you’d be salivating at the mouth.

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