The tragic event that unfolded last weekend in Arizona was the entirely predictable outcome of the often violent rhetoric that is typical of the right-wing extremists who are trying to seize control of our government. These politicians, talk-show hosts and gadflies often employ violent words and images in expressing their message. We are lucky that the number of nutjobs who actually pick up their weapons and fire at someone in response to this rhetoric is small.
Clearly, the alleged gunman will have to answer for the Tucson murders in a court of law. But who will also hold the co-conspirators accountable? They are the ones who have been inciting violence against liberals such as Rep. Gabby Giffords, whether they intended her death not. Why not hold Sarah Palin accountable for explicitly advocating violence against Rep. Giffords with her infamous “crosshairs” map? And how about Sharron Angle, the Nevada Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate who advocated the same “second Amendment remedies” that were employed to fatal consequences in Tucson? Remember, during the election she cited the need to “take out” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. As the Huffington Post reported last summer, it was a philosophy she “repeated many times.”
Others who have joined this murderous conspiracy include Rush Limbaugh, who once said, “I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus — living fossils — so we will never forget what these people stood for.”
RedState contributor “Thomas Crown” once said, “I repeat: Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.”
And right-wing talk show host Melanie Morgan said: “I would have no problem with [New York Times editor Bill Keller] being sent to the gas chamber.”
Then there was right-wing wacko Andrew Breitbart who, as it was reported here last week, tweeted in 2009 that global warming scientist James Hanson of NASA should be executed for his views on global warming.
And what about Breitbart and others who deny the reality of global warming? They espouse a fantasy that would maim others without so much as firing a bullet. These right-wingers now control the U.S. House of Representatives, forming a cadre that has forsaken scientific evidence as they mislead the public about climate changes that threaten life on our planet. Billions of people will die if societies follow their prescriptions of inaction. They will be killed as sea levels rise, heat waves scorch the earth and water supplies dry up or melt. If we act now, we can prevent many if not all of these deaths. But the deniers advocate the political paralysis for the purpose of preventing the implementation of solutions.
I’m not advocating censorship of free speech. If it is a crime to cry “fire” in a crowded theater that isn’t burning, then it must also be a crime to say nothing in a crowded theater that is engulfed in flames. Society should not silence those who espouse right-wing political philosophies, but at the very least it should be aware of the deadly consequences of their rhetoric.