U.S.: Politics and violence

Written by  //  January 21, 2011  //  David/Terry Jones, Politics, U.S.  //  Comments Off on U.S.: Politics and violence

Spotlight From Glenn Beck Brings a CUNY Professor Threats
(NYT) On his daily radio and television shows, Glenn Beck has elevated once-obscure conservative thinkers onto best-seller lists. Recently, he has elevated a 78-year-old liberal academic to celebrity of a different sort, in a way that some say is endangering her life.
20 January
Myth of the Hero Gunslinger
(NYT) At least two recent studies show that more guns equals more carnage to innocents. One survey by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that guns did not protect those who had them from being shot in an assault — just the opposite. Epidemiologists at Penn looked at hundreds of muggings and assaults. What they found was that those with guns were four times more likely to be shot when confronted by an armed assailant than those without guns. The unarmed person, in other words, is safer.
13 January
Obama and Palin, a Tale of Two Speeches
Wednesday was bookended by two remarkable — and remarkably different — political performances that demonstrated the vast expanse of America’s political landscape.
The day began at 5 a.m. when Sarah Palin posted a 7½- minute video statement that captured with precision the bubbling anger and resentment that is an undercurrent of the national conversation about our public discourse.
Sarah Palin issued a forceful denunciation of her critics in a video statement posted to her Facebook page. Sarah Palin issued a forceful denunciation of her critics in a video statement posted to her Facebook page.
It ended with President Obama, whose plea for civility, love and compassion — for us to all be not just better citizens but better people — exposed for the first time the emotions of a leader who has spent two years staying cool and controlled for a nation beset by difficult times. (NYT) Praise for Obama, From the Right and Left (FT) Obama honours Arizona shooting victims
Obama Calls for a New Era of Civility in U.S. Politics
President Obama offered the nation’s condolences on Wednesday to the victims of the Tucson shooting rampage, urging Americans to usher in a new era of civility in memory of the fallen. Video and transcript
12 January
Nicholas Kristof: Why Not Regulate Guns as Seriously as Toys?
… To protect the public, we regulate cars and toys, medicines and mutual funds. So, simply as a public health matter, shouldn’t we take steps to reduce the toll from our domestic arms industry? … guns are far more deadly in America, not least because there are so many of them. There are about 85 guns per 100 people in the United States, and we are particularly awash in handguns.
Just since the killings in Tucson, another 320 or so Americans have been killed by guns — anonymously, with barely a whisker of attention. By tomorrow it’ll be 400 deaths. Every day, about 80 people die from guns, and several times as many are injured.
11 January
David T. Jones: Don’t blame political rhetoric for shootings
We are still, essentially, debating substance and political/social choice in our elections.
And to be honest, there is political benefit in the “blame game.” There is no tragedy that cannot be spun. So there has been none-too-subtle manoeuvring by political parties to imply that the rhetoric of one has prompted violence.
Ailes Tells Fox Anchors to ‘Tone it Down’
10 January
David Brooks: The Politicized Mind
I have no love for Sarah Palin, and I like to think I’m committed to civil discourse. But the political opportunism occasioned by this tragedy has ranged from the completely irrelevant to the shamelessly irresponsible.
… All of this evidence, which is easily accessible on the Internet, points to the possibility that Loughner may be suffering from a mental illness like schizophrenia. … about 1 percent of the seriously mentally ill (or about 40,000 individuals) are violent. They account for about half the rampage murders in the United States.
… If the evidence continues as it has, the obvious questions are these: How can we more aggressively treat mentally ill people who are becoming increasingly disruptive? How can we prevent them from getting guns? Do we need to make involuntary treatment easier for authorities to invoke?
In Arizona shooting, Europe sees an America gripped by doubt, pessimism
(CSM) The Arizona shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has gotten extensive coverage in London, Berlin, and Paris. A German paper stated that the motto ‘Yes, we can’ has been pushed aside by the financial crisis and two wars.
9 January
Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics
The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others at a neighborhood meeting in Arizona on Saturday set off what is likely to be a wrenching debate over anger and violence in American politics.
In the Shock of the Moment, the Politicking Stops … Until It Doesn’t
Aides to Sarah Palin angrily rejected suggestions that she had some responsibility for the angry political climate that served as a backdrop to the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
Tombstone Politics
If it turns out that a poisonous variant of free speech is partially to blame for the shootings in Tucson, we will most certainly be struck by the fact that Gabrielle Giffords was seen last week in Congress, reading part of the Constitution that allows an American citizen to say just about anything.
But as Rep. Giffords herself also pointed out, in March when she was a target because of her vote on health care reform, free speech does have a cost More in the same vein from The Economist
8 January
Howard Kurtz: Should We Blame Sarah Palin for Gabrielle Giffords’ Shooting?
(The Daily Beast) … The act of transforming tragedy into political fodder has deep roots in American history. After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, President Bill Clinton attacked “the purveyors of hatred and division” for “reckless speech,” saying the nation’s airwaves were too often used “to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate, they leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.”
Gabrielle Giffords fights for life after being shot, suspect in custody
Giffords had been targeted by U.S. conservatives over her support for passage last year of Obama’s health-care reform legislation
[she] was also one of 20 members of Congress who was included in a controversial online posting by former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin following the health-care vote.
On her political action committee’s website, Palin posted a crosshairs target over Giffords’ district and listed her by name as a lawmaker to defeat in the midterm elections. (NYT) Rep. Giffords Critical After Ariz. Attack

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