Tucson Giffords Massacre Not a Tragedy (with new 2013 comments.)

My response to libertarian Brandon Christensen on “Unconditional surrender” will come later. Right now, I have to address the liberal media orgy prompted by the shooting in Tucson. Enemies first, friends later.

I pride myself on my equanimity. I am seldom “appalled” by anything. Right now I am almost sickened by the tsunami of liberal verbiage though. I am not going to dial down my anger, on the contrary.

First things first, a reminder: Poverty, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, sexual orientation prejudice, and inequality did not cause Jared Laughner to commit mass murder. Even a poor education can hardly be blamed. The man is a high-school drop-out like thousands of others who don’t shoot anyone ever. Lack of educational opportunity hardly played a role either: Although he failed to graduate from high-school, Laughner was accepted in community college (exactly like me, I must ad). Neither is Obamacare going to help stave off this kind of horror in the future. Laughner might have benefited from psychiatric care but neither he nor his parents sought it. Hence, he was not “denied care.” Tough luck!

The Left is hysterically blaming Sarah Palin and conservative media for creating a climate conducive to the kind of violence illustrated in Tucson. This is absurd at least for two reasons. First, if a climate of hostility toward politicians could cause acts of violence, President Bush would have been assassinated one hundred times at least. Nothing since the Obama inauguration has come close to the level and volume of hatred spewed at Pres. G. W. Bush for five or six years running. Or is one to believe that only right-wing hatred is effective? Second, it stands to reason that conservative incitement, if it were conducive to action, should have made another victim than Rep. Giffords, or rather, hundreds of more attractive targets would have been more logical. Rep. Giffords is a moderate Democrat, one who has notably made statements in support of gun control among others, in addition to statements in support of Obamacare, of course. She was never a very visible member of Congress. She was not a leader in the Obamacare swindle. Attempting to kill her in particular made no sense in any conceivable mental world (of course). If I were a right-wing extremist bent on assassinating an elected member of the Democratic Party, I could come up with a list of at least one hundred who should take precedence over Rep. Giffords. I hasten to add that I am not and I will not. My side will prevail with persuasion, by shedding light on the other side’s lies, and through constitutional means.

If the targeted victim had been a conservative Republican, I would express the same disbelief about any causality running from political opinions expressed in any media to the criminal acts of a mad person.

The purpose of the current liberal media raging attack and of several politicians’ fascist proposals is not to save lives in the future. It’s to censor and eventually to shut off the rational, factual, well-worded arguments conservatives are making against government’s massive invasion of civil society and against the abandonment of constitutional principles in our country. Don’t be fooled. Liberals hate reason. Also, be attentive: Liberals are so excited by the destructive potential of this event they will soon begin proffering outright lies and some will get caught.

The Tucson massacre is not a tragedy as I have pointed out on Facebook. A tragedy has meaning; that’s why we remember it. That’s why it’s an important kind of literature. The Tucson massacre is not a tragedy. It has no meaning although it’s understandable that victims’ relatives should attempt to scratch meaning out of the meaninglessness of a devastating event.

The only valid public debate this horrifying crime should trigger ought to be about the incarceration of the mentally ill. In this society, we are slow to put away people who may be dangerous. There are good historical reasons for this bias that are worth discussing. They will not be discussed because doing so would contribute nothing to the salvage of the sinking liberal ship.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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21 Responses to Tucson Giffords Massacre Not a Tragedy (with new 2013 comments.)

  1. schwindt says:

    You say, “The only valid public debate this horrifying crime should trigger ought to be about the incarceration of the mentally ill. ”

    Some might say this horrifying crime should trigger a valid public debate about gun control.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Sure thing but the constitutionality of gun ownership is so solidly established that such a debate could only be at the edges. In this case, I can’t imagine any constitutional gun control disposition that would had made a difference. This guy was never diagnosed, never treated, there was no sign on him to justify deny him a weapon. If you mean general gun restrictions, I did not think of that because I believe that train has left the station for this generation.

      • David says:

        Can someone please answer me this: why is it that after an event such as this shooting happens, the first things that people want to control are guns and speech? Because obviously this nut-job was influenced by someone else’s “hate speech” (which is an ironic term in and of itself) and went out to some “you’ve been pre-approved” gun shop and walks out with a gun to go shoot some people. Sometimes people do senseless things for no apparent reason! They don’t have to be instigated by others! They don’t have to be told to do it by others! They can do it on their OWN! no help needed. If he didn’t have a gun, he probably would’ve just pulled a chef’s knife out of his kitchen and done the same thing. Ought we restrict the use of kitchen knives? The M.O. of the nutcase shouldn’t be the focus. How about gathering evidence and leaving the nutcase to rot in a prison cell for the rest of his life? Guns aren’t the problem….irrational and/or immoral people are! Food for thought…if other people had been carrying weapons, would he have killed/wounded as many as he did? I think not.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Good point not mentioned in the media.

  2. katatak's rainbow says:

    “Nothing since the Obama inauguration has come close to the level and volume of hatred spewed at Pres. G. W. Bush for five or six years running.”
    Show me the part where Bush was called the N-word.
    Or, let’s look at the comparison:
    https://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&biw=1366&bih=640&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=obama+coon&btnG=
    https://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&biw=1366&bih=640&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=bush+coon&btnG=
    Typing “Obama coon” into Google Images yields a treasure trove of racist imagery. Typing “Bush coon” into Google Images gets you pictures of cats.

    “Attempting to kill her in particular made no sense in any conceivable mental world (of course).”
    On the contrary, there are plenty of people who accept or condone violence against powerful women.

    “If the targeted victim had been a conservative Republican, I would express the same disbelief about any causality running from political opinions expressed in any media to the criminal acts of a mad person.”
    Right. Because there’s no way that genocide, the Homestead Act, whites living on Dead Indian Land, Manifest Destiny, the War in Mexico, the War in the Philippines, the War in Vietnam, the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan, America’s arms dealing, gun violence, gun laws, gun clubs, gun culture, gun nuts, gun heroes in Hollywood films, Dirty Harry, the relationship between the gun and the slave trade, fear of slave uprisings, slave patrols, the Klan, lynchings, the NYPD, police brutality, the War on Drugs, racial profiling, the mass incarceration of black men, serial killings, school shootings, the gun industry, or Congress could have anything to do with the violence of a white man against a person who was not a white man. Nope!

    Finally, I have to take issue with your statement that the Giffords massacre is not a tragedy. I disagree that the violence was meaningless ; as I said above, I see it as one more iteration of a pattern that’s been happening since colonial days, rather than the act of one “irrational and/or immoral” person. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about defining a tragedy as “loss that is meaningful”. I would consider the death of both your wives, or the loss of both your child and your sister’s children, would be a tragedy: grief that is nearly unimaginable, a blow nobody could have prepared for. In that sense, I do consider the Giffords massacre a tragedy.

    • Katak: Before you give us reading assignments, I ask that yous say briefly why we should do them.

      I would like to start with the assertion that Obama has been called the “N” word. Of course, he has. It would be surprising if he had not. There are probably several million morons in this country who can be counted on, including some Democrats. So, tell us why you emphasize the obvious.

      Your assertion that Bush was never called that is extraordinary. It makes me wonder whether he was not, in fact, called that. See above about morons. Bush has been called a liar millions of time. In my book: “liar” is much worse than “nigger.”

      The Congresswoman who was shot was not a “powerful woman” by any description. You write about the murder spree as if we did not know anything after a year. We know the culprit. We have seen is picture. It’s pretty obvious he is not an ideologue from either side of the political spectrum but a poor lost soul who should have been locked up long ago.

      Whey are you so separated from simple reality?

      “Manifest Destiny” ???

      Please, tell us in general terms where you live so we understand you better.
      My guess would be that you are a foreigner who was denied a visa into the US. I can stand to be corrected though. I won’t cry.

    • Katak: Another one of your statements drew my interest: Tell us about the relationship between guns and slavery that you mention. Do you mean: no guns nos slavery? I am genuinely curious.

  3. katatak's rainbow says:

    Jacques:
    I’m actually a native-born American citizen, and I’ve never lived outside the country.

    With regards to Gabby Giffords being a powerful woman: she is a federal-level lawmaker in one of the richest and most militarily dominant countries in the world. If you do not agree that this makes her powerful, fine: I accept that we have different definitions of things, cf. what makes a tragedy. I never claimed that Jared Lee Loughner was a political ideologue or that he was opposed to women in positions of power, only that many people are; that there are, in fact, conceivable mental worlds where attempting to kill her makes sense.

    I know I also get annoyed when people leave links in comments without summarizing them, so I summed up the Google Images links in my first comment.
    Perhaps this is just another point where we diverge, but I view the n-word as being much, much more serious than “liar”. A liar is someone who does; i.e., if you call someone a liar, you are attacking their actions. If you call someone the n-word, you are attacking who they are; plus, there are additional connotations to that word. I’m going to quote from “N*gger and Caricatures” by Dr. David Pilgrim and Dr. Philip Middleton (the article’s floating around the Internet somewhere, for you or anyone else who’d like to read it in its entirety):
    “The word nigger carries with it much of the hatred and repulsion directed toward Africans and African Americans. Historically, nigger defined, limited, and mocked African Americans. It was a term of exclusion, a verbal justification for discrimination. Whether used as a noun, verb, or adjective, it reinforced the stereotype of the lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless parasite. No other American ethnophaulism carried so much purposeful venom.”
    The reason I, as you say, “state the obvious” is to draw attention to the fact that Obama has been, in my opinion, subjected to quite a lot of vitriol that has absolutely nothing to do with his actions as president, unlike (as far as I can perceive) Bush, who was mostly slammed because of the choices he made. While (as our friend Google tells us) the words “Bush is a n—–” can be found on the Internet, and therefore also likely in real life, it’s more common for him to be called a “n——lover” than the n-word proper. Actions again, instead of personhood.

    In the interests of not making this comment any longer, I’ll discuss the gun-slavery connection in a separate comment. Peace.

  4. Katakak : Yes, I used your foreign-sounding name to toy with you. I am very ashamed. (You have to admit though that suggesting you had been denied a visa was pretty clever!) Your dignified rejoinder deserves a serious response.

    First, I am glad that you know that the murderer was not necessarily a conservative. Also:

    “… there are, in fact, conceivable mental worlds where attempting to kill her makes sense.”

    Agreed

    “The word nigger carries with it much of the hatred and repulsion directed toward Africans and African Americans. Historically, nigger defined, limited, and mocked African Americans. It was a term of exclusion, a verbal justification for discrimination. Whether used as a noun, verb, or adjective, it reinforced the stereotype of the lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless parasite. No other American ethnophaulism carried so much purposeful venom.”

    I think you are living in your mind at a different time than now. The “n’ word has lost all meaning, all resonance. This, for different reasons the first of which is rap and other kinds of popular songs performed by black performers. The fact that the word “liar” describes behavior rather than a state of being is precisely what makes it a worse insult. Your system of preferences is alien to me.

    I agree with you on the “vitriol” but for a very short time at the beginning of the Obama presidency only. Many people, including me, obviously thought he was a nobody who had been elected only because he was black. The fact that he received a Nobel Prize for exactly nothing strengthened the impression that he was earning things for being black (without a trace of Negro lingo as Harry Reid said.) Incidentally, he could have had the common decency to decline the Nobel. Let me repeat myself: Barack Obama, when he was elected, was a man of extraordinarily thin achievements. And, incidentally, he was never a “professor,” (the way I was, for example.)

    This blank slate was soon written open with the advent of Obamacare. (Although I suspect it was mostly a Pelosi job, I think the president was involved.) Now, there was concrete reason for vitriol: The confiscation of 15% of the economy against the expressed wish of the majority, with a bill that no one had read before it was voted on and signed into law.

    There is no need to go over the litany of his other achievements, I suppose.

    I just want to say that only perfect fools dislike Barack Obama because of his race. There are hundreds of reasons to dislike him because of his policies. Personally, I believe the man is so sure of himself and of the righteousness of all his causes that he is constantly skating on the edge of fascism. He is not Hitler but he could easily be Juan Peron. I don’t know if that’s “vitriol.” It’s thought through by a mature man who is generally cool-headed.

    And yes, I understand the seeming paradox. You cannot be a nobody and deserve all that opprobrium. I think I misjudged him at the beginning or he has grown into his office. He is not a nobody, or not anymore. He is a man well worth resiting by all legal means available.

    And, by the way, how do you like his foreign assassination policies?

    I am awaiting with impatience your essay on guns and slavery. If you want to make it an essay, I will be glad to put it up under your name (or under any name you chose)

  5. katatak's rainbow says:

    On the links between the gun and the slave trade:
    (This is based on the book The Black Experience in America by Norman Coombs.)
    When the slave trade between Europeans and Africans began, it was part of a larger system of exports and imports. Europeans imported gold, slaves, and salt; Africans imported cloth, guns, and rum. Over time, the system shrank until Europeans only imported slaves, and Africans only imported guns. This created a catch-22 for African rulers: if you don’t sell slaves, you won’t get guns. If you don’t get guns, you have no way to protect yourself from your slaving neighbors. If you can’t protect yourself from them, you’ll be attacked and your people sold into slavery.
    I don’t like speculating about what would happened if X or Y never occurred, and so I’ll leave your second question to other commenters.

  6. katatak's rainbow says:

    Hahaha, really? Jacques, I like your style!
    Personally, I think Obama’s assassination policies are despicable.

  7. “Over time, the system shrank…” Why would it?

    I see a little magic here. “Sytems” don’t shrink by themselves. There are to be reasons. (The argumentation necessity of ideologues is not a good reason.)

    Africans without guns did not enslave other Africans? American Indians did not enslave one another until they had guns? The Ancient Greeks did not enslave other Greeks they vainquished in battle armed with just bronze weapons? Did the word “Slav” arise only after guns came into common usage in and around what are now the Balkans and Turkey.

    Why not an essay ” the tall ships” and slavery” or, better, “the compass and slavery.” ?

  8. I just noticed: Europeans imported salt? From Africa? Strange!

  9. katatak's rainbow says:

    The reason behind this is the discovery of the Americas’ gold: among others, there was a gold rush in Minas Gerais (“General Mines”) in Brazil in the 1690s. Now the issue wasn’t getting access to gold; it was getting miners to extract it. Put simply, the desire for African laborers was greater than the desire for African gold. It was more cost-effective to enslave miners to get the gold out than it was to trade for it. (Source: The History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade by James Rawley and Stephen Behrendt)

    Whoops! Jacques, you caught me in an error – it was not salt that Europeans bought but spices in general, which themselves were traded from India.

    • Whoops! Jacques, you caught me in an error – it was not salt that Europeans bought but spices in general, which themselves were traded from India.

      Oh god. Make it stop! Make it stop!

      • katatak's rainbow says:

        “As well as enslaved people, British traders took other products, including gold, ivory and spices, from Africa.” (Black Presence: Asian and Black History in Britain, 1500-1850; British National Archives)

        I have kept a civil tone throughout this discussion and attempted to reply with facts rather than inanity; I’d appreciate if you could do the same.

      • And, one more thing: There were not Britain , and therefore, no “British” traders in 1690. Your source does not seem well informed even on easy topics.

  10. katatak's rainbow says:

    And the link between the gun and the slave trade only holds true for the transatlantic slave trade.

  11. Katatak: I A civil tone” ? Me too. I don’t know what you mean. Are you sure you refer to me?

    I don’t think your quote is still right. No spices from Africa except perhaps a variety of (cheap) black pepper
    (“malaguetta”).

    And, yes, as I had suggested, there is no more relationship between guns and slavery than there is between slavery and swords, or even, between rocks and slavery, with one exception: It was large number of guns that put an end to slavery in North America.

  12. katatak's rainbow says:

    Jacques:
    I was addressing Brandon.

    Malaguetta: correct. Thus the name for the Liberian coast as the Pepper Coast or Grain Coast. That Britain did not exist at that point I fully concede, but given that the source is the British government’s official archives, it’s likely that they’re using “British” as shorthand, sort of like “Greek” in lieu of “Athenian”.

    I say that specifically, there was a relationship between guns and the transatlantic slave trade. I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough in my initial post. I talked about the “trap” that many African leaders found themselves in; they were either slavers or enslaved. There was no way to stay neutral. “By 1780, many African monarchies looked on muskets as necessary for self-defense, knowing that they could only be obtained by trading slaves.” (The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870 by Hugh Thomas). In addition, weapons were required to arm slave forts. Gunsmiths in the English Midlands made most of the guns brought to Africa, and it has been argued that the gun industry in Darlaston and Wednesbury in England was funded by the African slave trade. (Black Presence, British National Archives).

    • Katak: It seems to me that you are treating an interesting (and politically convenient) hypothesis as fact. If I read the book of reference, would I find any factual evidence at all in support of the notion of a “trap” whereas Africans (on the coast I am guessing) had only a choice between being slavers or becoming enslaved? (“Any evidence”)

      I understand the limitations of historical research ( in part from experience) so, I would not be very demanding of the putative evidence. My guess is that I would find none, (zero). I don’t mind being corrected. It’s just that I am old enough to smell the nature of an argument without reading the whole book that contains it.

      In a broader and more serious sens, some of the thing you say, I don’t remember from reading either I. Wallerstein ‘s The Modern World System, or the monumental 18th century De Raynal’s Philosophycal and Political History…of The Two Indies.

      I note with interest that you don’t comment on an essential statement about the relationship between guns and slavery that I take pleasure in repeating: It was millions of guns that abruptly dismantled slavery in the Unites States.

      Don’t mind Brandon: He is sometimes too lively in his self-expression but he has wonderful intellectual qualities. (Why, his own uncle once took him behind the shed because of the way he talked to me.) I highly recommend that you visit the blog he co-manages: Notes On Liberty. You will find in it some of the most clear-headed libertarian thinking.

      PS I am not a good libertarian myself. The libertarians at Notes On Liberty only tolerate me like a dear old eccentric uncle one loves to hate occasionally.

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