Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Never let a crisis go to waste (the "heated rhetoric" edition)

Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column for Sports Illustrated.com wanders off the sports reservation with his take on the Tucson shootings and is representative of a quite a number of people who are talking out of their asses with respect to this tragedy. He doesn't blame "heated rhetoric" for the shooting except that he kind of does.

I'm not blaming guns, I'm not blaming the right or the left. Time will sort out all of the issues about why Jared Loughner apparently targeted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for death. Whatever the reason for Loughner's actions, I don't know how we can continue to listen to the incredible public fury we hear in politics and the political media without it having serious consequences for society.

Well, the consequences don't get much more serious than the assassination of a publicly-elected official, now do they? He tries to weasel his way around it but he is establishing a causal thread between "heated rhetoric" and the shooting. So, if that is the case, we would like to know precisely what heated rhetoric it was that caused the shooting? We would like specifics from King and others, not pious yet meaningless generalities when talking about something this serious and tragic.

To continue with this line of non-reasoning makes one look foolish and worse, for a journalist, lazy... lazy for attempting to sound important and judicious when all you are doing is inviting unsavory results.

Unsavory results like...

Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress.

Brady told CNN that he wants federal lawmakers and officials to have the same protections against threat currently provided to the president. His call comes one day after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot, along with 19 other people, at a public event in Tucson. A suspect is currently in custody.

"The president is a federal official," Brady told CNN in a telephone interview. "You can't do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge."

Forgive us for thinking that there are already laws on the books protecting people, both public and private, from violent threats but we're curious as to specifically what would be in this legislation that would've prevented the shooting on Saturday?

But is that what this is really about? Representative Brady shed some light with respect to the motives behind his proposed legislation... shut up, he explained.

"The rhetoric is just ramped up so negatively, so high, that we have got to shut this down," Brady said.
(italics, ours)

Charmed, we're sure. You give some people enough leeway to flap their gums on the finer merits of free speech and you go from protecting public officials to losing an election and losing control of the narrative regarding a raft of unpopular legislative "accomplishments".

Pure and simple, this is nothing more than an attempt to tamp down dissent which sadly was so popular as recently as 3 years ago. Perhaps en vogue is the more appropriate term but no matter, something as volatile as dissent and rhetoric needs to be minded and regulated by the ruling class according to some.

On a related note, Sam, over at Left Coast Rebel wonders how it is that he got through the day without shooting someone.
For example, I woke up this morning and turned on the local news, but only to hear about a statewide effort to stop texting and driving. Quote the news anchor, “Police are targeting those that text and drive.” Whoa, I think to myself. “Target?” That’s some pretty strong rhetoric. Add to that the report on how those that text and drive put other drivers at risk and I must admit, I need to muster all my self control to keep from shooting anyone I see texting and driving.

Also, B-Daddy chimes in with examples of hypocrisy on the part of those wishing to point fingers with regard to placing blame for the Tucson shootings.

We have a feeling we're just getting warmed up on this subject. This whole thing does not appear to be going away anytime soon so heeding the call made by the President himself out on the campaign trial we're going to be breaking out our (rhetorical) guns against a bunch of mere knife-wielding punks.


drozz said...

peter king. the only time i read any of his works is when drew blasts him on mondays over on KSK.

peter king is the kind of guy who treats every word that he writes as a revelation. this is the kind of guy that, until a few weeks ago, didn't know what a keg stand was.

and your analysis is dead on of what he said. just another lazy coward.

there is no connection between what happenned on saturday to "the heated political rhetoric" that supposedly exists. none.

Dean said...

I haven't caught Drew much at KSK of late. More of his stuff at DS, especially his Thursday column.

B-Daddy said...

Dean, thanks for the link. They are punks. BTW, we have always had "heated" political rhetoric in this country. It was never an excuse for violence in decades past.

Harrison said...

Has the negativity ever been zero? Political cartoons from the 1700s-1900s were pretty brutal and make today's satire seem tame by comparison.

steve said...

While I believe that this guy was a nut, I also think believing that heated rhetoric never has consequences is also nuts. It is just part of the price we pay for freedom of speech. Suppressing free speech to avoid an assassination every 50-100 years would be much worse.


Road Dawg said...

This bandwagon was too juicy not to jump. Mark Penn was quoted all day from the Chris Matthews show saying Obama needed a similar situation as Clinton's Oklahoma City.

Predictable, disgusting and sad.

Dean said...

Steve, I think generally speaking, we are in violent agreement with respect to the freedom of speech issue as it applies here. However, I don't think this nut has anything to do with freedom of speech.

The real battle is with those that want to make this a freedom of speech issue.

'Dawg, what was attributed to Penn was disgusting.

Harrison, you are right. This is a day at the beach compared to the slings and arrows that were cast about in years past and which will be on display on these very pages tomorrow and also which you, my friend, will be featured.