BBC BLOGS - See Also
« Previous | Main | Next »

Media reaction: Motivation behind Giffords shooting

Clare Spencer | 11:58 UK time, Monday, 10 January 2011

Photographs of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords are set amid flowers and candles outside the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona


Commentators react to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords especially concerning the preceding political debate.

Alexander Cockburn argues in the First Post that the incident could have been predicted:

"In the relentless escalation in violent political rhetoric across the past couple of years, it's been a pretty safe bet that sooner or later someone on the right would try to shoot a Democrat, the preferred target being President Barack Obama. But Obama doesn't sit in a parking lot outside a Safeway supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, minus bodyguards, chatting to all and sundry."

E.J. Dionne Jr. says in the Washington Post that it is the responsibility of parties to control their followers:

"Liberals were rightly pressed in the 1960s to condemn violence on the left. Now, conservative leaders must take on their fringe when it uses language that intimates threats of bloodshed. That means more than just highly general statements praising civility."

Bernie Goldberg says in AOL News that opinion columnists should stop playing connect-the-dots to work out what influenced the gunman:

"The terrible tragedy in Arizona should not be one more tiresome liberal vs. conservative debate. But that's what some liberals have turned it into. Without a shred of evidence that the gunman was influenced by Palin, Beck, O'Reilly, Limbaugh or the tea partiers, the opportunists on the Left are fretting about the vitriol in our national conversation allegedly brought on by these supposed right-wing villains.
"But what the conservative-bashers are really doing is simply taking a page out of the Rahm Emanuel playbook. They're not going to let this crisis, or any other, go to waste."

The Washington Post editorial highlights flaws in the argument that the shooting was due to the language of political debate:

"It is as noxious to associate Saturday's shooting with conservative campaign rhetoric, even that which is over the top, as it would be to claim that violence is the doing of those who labelled Tea Partyers un-American (as Democratic leaders did during the health-care debate) or of those who accuse senators of being unpatriotic (as a liberal newspaper columnist recently did). If a lunatic attacks a businessman, are we to blame Obama for vilifying the Chamber of Commerce? Was the attack on an Arkansas recruiting station the fault of antiwar liberal Democrats? Of course not. The impulse to blame political opponents for tragedy and to convert human misery into a political weapon - both of which were played out on Twitter and the Internet by liberals as diverse as Paul Krugman, Jane Fonda and the Daily Kos crowd - is deeply regrettable. But it has unfortunately become par for the course."

Gail Collins asks in the New York Times to use this shooting as a reason to discuss gun ownership:

"[T]he amazing thing about the reaction to the Giffords shooting is that virtually all the discussion about how to prevent a recurrence has been focusing on improving the tone of our political discourse. That would certainly be great. But you do not hear much about the fact that Jared Loughner came to Giffords's sweet gathering with a semiautomatic weapon that he was able to buy legally because the law restricting their sale expired in 2004 and Congress did not have the guts to face up to the National Rifle Association and extend it... [W]e should be able to find a way to accommodate the strong desire in many parts of the country for easy access to firearms with sane regulation of the kinds of weapons that make it easiest for crazy people to create mass slaughter."

Links in full

Gail Collins | New York Times | A Right to Bear Glocks?
E.J. Dionne Jr. | Washington Post | Gabby Giffords, a tragic prophet
Bernie Goldberg | AOL News | The Rush to Blame the Right for Giffords' Shooting
Alexander Cockburn | First Post | Republican chickens come home to roost in Tucson
Washington Post | Right turn

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.