Yesterday in Arizona, a conservative, traditionally Republican state with a good share of angry Tea Party members, a young man went on a shooting rampage, killing six people, including a federal judge, and wounding 14 others.
The main target was Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who criticized Arizona’s tough immigration law and voted to support Obama’s healthcare reform, thus enraging the Tea Party. Giffords is in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head that passed entirely through her brain.
In an eerily prescient interview last March Rep. Giffords told MSNBC about the threats she and nine other members of Congress were receiving because of their favorable votes for healthcare reform.
A year ago Tea Partier Sharron Angle advocated the use of “Second Amendment remedies” when the public disagrees with Congress. “Our founding fathers they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason. That was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government,” she told a radio interviewer.
Angle was clearly alluding to the viability of armed rebellion. Should we therefore be surprised when impressionable people take such comments by a nationally recognized political figure seriously?
When people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sharron Angle insist on the right of Americans to carry arms while they spout vitriol and propagate lies about the President and members of Congress, we should expect that some of their followers will feel entitled to gun down politicians with whom they disagree.
I should have made clear that extreme views aren’t confined to the right side of the political spectrum. George W. Bush, for example, was likened to Adolf Hitler.