Representative Bob Brady of Pennsylvania told The Caucus he plans to introduce a bill that would ban symbols like that now-infamous campaign crosshair map.
“You can’t threaten the president with a bullseye or a crosshair,” Mr. Brady, a Democrat, said, and his measure would make it a crime to do so to a member of Congress or federal employee, as well.
Asked if he believed the map incited the gunman in Tucson, he replied, “I don’t know what’s in that nut’s head. I would rather be safe than sorry.”
He continued, “This is not a wakeup call. This is a major alarm going off. We need to be more civil with each other. We need to tone down this rhetoric.”
One of the strangest things to me is that we KNOW that the biggest threat to individual liberty in the United States is congressional over-reaction to traumatic events (and I’m not saying this bill is a hysterical over-reaction- it seems a little silly and pointless and I doubt will be constitutional). Sure, there are people who want to do all sorts of crazy things all the time, but only in the aftermath of an Oklahoma City or a 9/11 is there the political muscle to have these things passed. And so it is with this.
But if you know that is the problem, wouldn’t you say to yourself, “Gee- maybe we shouldn’t spend a couple years telling people it is their God given right to pack heat at political events. Maybe we shouldn’t shout down everyone who says that some of the violent rhetoric is over the top. Maybe a ban on magazines that allow a handgun to turn into a weapon of mass murder really isn’t that big of a deal. Maybe just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should encourage or excuse it. Maybe when someone says we shouldn’t be stoking the crazies, instead of posting Monty Python videos and making light, I should realize this is going to possibly go bad.”
And even though I don’t blame our glibertarian overlords at Reason and elsewhere, I do wonder why they tolerate it when they know what the outcome will be when something like this happens. The first thing Jesse Walker did was chime in with the “both sides do it” nonsense, linking to, of all things, The American Mind. And I don’t blame bloggers or angry people who show up at rallies. How many people really read Reason magazine? Not enough for it to turn a profit, we know that, and I doubt the gunman did- that’s a statistical certainty. How many read Red State? And I honestly do not care if the shooter was to the left of Ralph Nader or to the right of Rush Limbaugh, and the jury is still out. For all I know, he voted for Obama and Giffords. There is an angry, scary undercurrent out there, and that is being stoked by our political leadership and by unscrupulous hucksters in media. They have massive followings, and there are lunatics out there. I honestly don’t understand why people concerned with individual liberty and gun ownership rights wouldn’t, instead of piece after piece telling us about the myth of right-wing violence (almost always comically appearing after an outbreak of national violence), would just say “Hey- no matter what happens, no good can come from this.”
But even if I, from on high, absolve everyone of this stuff, I think our leadership needs to get their shit together. The folks calling abortion doctors baby-killers and the legislatures asking for armed resistance to HCR and lying about death panels and decapitated farmers in the desert and so on. Glenn Beck claiming Obama will kill 100% of the population. It’s just irresponsible. There are lunatics out there- haven’t you people ever driven on a freeway anywhere in the United States? Or been to a Greyhound station?
Regardless of the motivations, though, this was a political assassination attempt that left a number of people dead. And you can expect congress will react and over-react. And I’m rambling.
*** Update ***
And here is exhibit A. All the Sheriff did was point out there are a lot of agitated people out there and a lot of heated rhetoric, and the Foxbots make it a partisan issue. And notice, that is a newscaster debating a cop. Not interviewing. Debating.
*** Update #2 ***
Jesse emailed and he was not serious about the American Mind link, which to be honest, is a relief. I generally like Jesse’s writing, and he and Radley are people who I generally think do good work.