' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Inflammatory rhetoric leads to national tragedy

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Inflammatory rhetoric leads to national tragedy

FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2011 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner reenacts the swearing in of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., on Capitol Hill in Washington. Authorities say that Giffords was shot in the head on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 while meeting with constituents in her district in the area around Tucson. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)"Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly." That was a tagline used by Jesse Kelly, who ran against Giffords, and as one might expect was endorsed by Sarah Palin, about whom I am going to say little because her own words condemn her.
Can we blame political rhetoric such as Sarah Palin's inflammatory 'Don't react, reload' for triggering the Safeway massacre? For her "cross hairs" metaphor?

Can we blame the crazies who ran for Congress using references to the "Second Amendment," such as Sharron Angle who ran against Harry Reid in Nevada: "I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." --Nevada GOP Senate nominee and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, floating the possibility of armed insurrection, interview with right-wing talk radio host Lars Larson in Portland, OR, January 2010

Can we blame Michelle Bachman from Minnesota for using a similar reference? Bachmann said she wanted Minnesotans "armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back."

I can, and I will. Words have consequences, words lead to deeds, crazy people such as Jared Laughner then go out the shoot people. So far, six have died and others remain in critical condition. 

Jane and I send our sympathies to those who are fighting for their lives, all those wounded, the families of the six who died and to Gabrielle Giffords. I am, quite frankly, reeling in shock. I had a store of several adoption issues to write about today, but I wanted to pay my respects to this national tragedy and all the people involved, and send a warning to all who use such inflammatory language with references to guns and shooting.

We can hope that this desperate act of a crazy man puts an end to the ratcheted-up rhetoric and that no more lives be lost. Sarah Palin: This is on your head. May your career rest in peace. --lorraine


  1. Democrat and PROUD OF IT!

  2. "Her (Gabrielle Giffords)father, Spencer Giffords, 75, wept when asked if his 40-year-old daughter had any enemies.

    "Yeah," he told The New York Post. "The whole tea party."

    That party is filled with extremists.

  3. Can't we all just get along? Some birthparents and adoptees are proud republicans. I'm glad you showed your sympathy for the victims and their families. But on this forum, we should try to stay away from partisan politics, and be united in trying to gain adoptee rights and support each other.
    This was a tragedy against all free americans.

  4. I do not think enough background is known yet to know what motivated the crazy shooter. What I have seen so far suggests he was insane, irrational, and not especially politically motivated from either the Right or Left, or maybe a crazed combination of the two. Much as I loathe the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin,and I do, so far it does not look like they had much to do with this horrible tragedy. Deep sympathy to all who were killed and injured, and their families.

  5. "But on this forum, we should try to stay away from partisan politics, and be united in trying to gain adoptee rights and support each other."

    It does not matter if there are FIRST parents or adoptees who are republicans. It does not matter if they are democrats, Cindy.

    What matters is extremism and extremists such as Palin and the nut jobs who follow them. The fringe leaders are responsible for their extreme messages of hate and intolerance.

    Perhaps there will be no link to Palin and her "teabagging" friends. But there is enough evidence from the shooter's online footprint that he is an extremist. But to show a graphic with the crosshairs of a gun such as Palin did is irresponsible and incites nutjobs to come out of the woodwork.

    Adoptees and FIRST parents are used to extremism. Extremism plays a part in why OBC's are sealed and why pregnant women were forced to surrender their children.

  6. Amen Lorraine. I tend to agree with you. As I posted on your Facebook comment about this, I am a new resident of AZ and I have been warned by a couple of new friends that I should be careful about who I share my liberal political beliefs with here. I was told there is a disproportionate amount of bigotry and prejudice. Whether the vitriol being spread by Palin, Kelly and the like created this particular incident or not; the tone set and constant referral to guns and shooting can't help.

    Unbalanced and angry people like this young man are looking for any kind of reinforcement they

  7. Linda wrote:"It does not matter if there are FIRST parents or adoptees who are republicans."

    I didn't know the"first" in "first parents" was all caps. Is that something new?

    I am not "used to extremism" because I surrendered a child. I don't get the connection.

    I'm willing to join "Birthmothers Against Palin and other right wing nutters though:-)

  8. CarolC wrote: ". and I have been warned by a couple of new friends that I should be careful about who I share my liberal political beliefs with here."

    Wow, this is scary. Does it mean that those with moderate and liberal views no longer have free speech?

  9. I'm sorry for what happened. We were in a hotel for my brother's birthday and there were TV's in the room, only CNN at that point was only throwing up the info about the shooter, not what had happened. We were all wondering and sick about it. Later we learned what had occurred. My thoughts are with you all.

  10. @maryanne- You don't think "extremism" played a part (and still does play a part) in adoption? Seriously?

    I see it every day in pap blogs and from stories from first Mothers. Extremism from the NCFA, extremism in entitled paps and aps, and let's not forget the extremism in the anti-choice movement who have long fought adoptees when it comes to OBC's.

    I put "FIRST" in caps in response to the person who used the "b" word.

    We've had this discussion before, and you know why I did it.

  11. Accusations of mind control and a demand for a new currency by the accused, plus his math prof thought he was creepy to boot. Yeah, I'm guessin' at least some mental problems. Somehow, though, we just went from the Tea Party to entitled PAPs and APs. Oh well.

  12. What a tragedy. I am so sorry. My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

  13. from Paul Krugman, in the NYTimes:

    "The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.

    "And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

    "Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

    "And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will."

    Dusky, you go it just right. Inflammatory rhetoric creates a climate where crazies act out on what they have been encouraged to do. And then we have this.

  14. I live in Southern Arizona. Any number of my friends or loved ones could have been at that rally, or shopping at that Safeway when the shootings occurred. Gabriel Giffords is our district's representative.

    I worried that something like this would happen, that people would jump to conclusions as you have here. That the shooter was a Tea Partier, that Arizona is a state of gun-toting maniacs, some have been saying it was because Giffords is Jewish.

    Turns out the 22-year-old man who did this was likely quite mentally ill. His facebook page listed Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto as his favorite books and ramblings about illiteracy and a "new currency." There is no reason to believe his act was politically motivated. (There is however some evidence that he did not act alone; a second shooter might paint another picture.)

    Arizona may be a red state, but Tucson is a blue city. Otherwise, how would Giffords have won the recent election. I can't speak for everywhere in the state, but in five years here I've seen no evidence that anyone, right or left, can't speak their mind without fear. Disagreement exists everywhere and is not a reason to shoot or expect to get shot.

    What happened is a sad statement on our society. Period.

  15. I think Lorraine is saying that he is indeed a crazy person, as all the evidence indicates, but that he acted out in a climate of inflammatory rhetoric that encouraged the use of guns to "take out" the bad guys. Palin's people are claiming that the use of the words "cross hairs" had nothing to do with guns...huh? If she and the demagogues (Bachmman, Angle, Gifford's opponent, Jesse Kelly) who have used the language of guns would apologize, it would go far to calming down everybody. Instead, Palin's people [and thus Palin] are claiming that "cross hairs" is not about a gun imagery. Well, then, tell us how else is "cross hairs" used?

    Answer: Uhhhh......

  16. Linda wrote:@maryanne- You don't think "extremism" played a part (and still does play a part) in adoption? Seriously? "

    Most seriously, no, I do not think the kind of extremism that gets people killed plays any part in adoption. That is stretching a metaphor so thin it snaps. NCFA is a lobby of bureaucrats, not a terrorist cell. Anti-abortion violence could only very tangentially be related to adoption.

    Adoption causes a lot of pain and is rotten in and of itself. but it trivializes greater evil to try to connect it something like this shooting. It also makes us look like one-issue people with no sense of proportion.Everything is not about us or our issue.

    As to "the B word". I would think a word so rude it could not be written might be "Bitch" or "Buttf**ker", not the innocuous word "birthmother. How did it add to the discussion on an unrelated subject to capitalize "FIRST"?

    This horrible shooting has nothing to do with adoption, and I suspect little to do with Right Wing rhetoric, vile as it is. It is human nature to want something like this to be the fault of one's opponents, but so far it is looking like a lone nutter with incomprehensible motivations. Yeah, I wanted him to be a Tea Party guy when I first heard it, but if that is not so I am willing to admit it.

    Here is an essay about co-opting tragedy to advance a personal political agenda not really related to the tragedy, which is what I think is happening here:


    Here is an excerpt, but read the whole thing.

    "Not only are my political views vindicated by this terrible tragedy, but also the status of my profession. Furthermore, it is only in the context of a national and international tragedy like this that we are reminded of the very special status of my hobby, and its particular claim to legislative protection. My religious and spiritual views also have much to teach us about the appropriate reaction to these truly terrible events. "

  17. Denise, my brother and family live in the Phoenix area and go to Tucson often, were just in the area last week, and my nephew graduated from Arizona State in Tucson. I am horrified by the shooting, and know lots of good people of all political persuasions in AZ. My brother is liberal, does not feel endangered living there, although he complains about politics and although he does not like Mormons:-)

    Us folks on both coasts sometimes take an ignorant view of the rest of the country.

  18. The problem is that the public discourse has been poisoned for far too long by increasingly rude, intolerant and violent talk. This is no accident, it is intentional. Listen for a while to AM talk radio, to the Limbaughs, Savages, etc and you realize THIS is how they enlist their dittoheads, build their market share and incomes. They do it because it WORKS! Same for political figures and televangelists; spreading fear, anger, doom and gloom or apocalyptic imagery builds loyal followers.

    We blame Islam for not silencing those imams who preach violence and revolution; why don't we clean up our own press, airwaves and blogosphere? We can begin by researching who pays for and sponsors hate speech by buying advertising on blogs and media and boycotting them, along with telling the media WHY we are boycotting them.

  19. I always came here for adoption related info and now I click on my link to find this crap. What a shock and especially a disapointment.I guess this is no longer an first Mother blog and not worth returning to any more. What a shameful way to use a tragedy to push your own political garbage and use those people wounded by adoption at the same time. I never thought I would see this on this formerly wonderful blog;~(

  20. When I was a kid we were always being warned that the violent rhetoric of rap stars would lead to trouble, like Cop Killer by Body Count. There was much hand-wringing, as I recall.

    Now some of those same types are employing the violent rhetoric themselves as elected officials, or those who hope to be elected. It is all quite base and I feel so bad for the victims of this shooter.

  21. Re. the grandmother. In this report
    from last year, Pam Conley, Vanessa's maternal grandmother is quoted as saying that "the children have good opportunities" with Mills' mother, who is raising Vanessa's biological siblings.
    If that's the case, and Mills' mother was willing to raise Vanessa too (which apparently she was), I wonder why Andrea Conley lied to get Vanessa adopted by Doss.


  22. Maryanne,

    Re: Yeah, I wanted him to be a Tea Party guy when I first heard it, but if that is not so I am willing to admit it.

    Good thing you added the "but."

    I know someone who hoped it would be an illegal Mexican, so that the federal government would finally step up and do something about this problem.

    Here in Arizona, there is more and more speculation on what caused this tragedy. So much blame.

    I still say it was a nut-job. Google Jared Loughner and take a look at his picture. This is no different than Charles Manson saying the Beatles' song, Helter Skelter, motivated him to order the killings of Sharon Tate and others.

    Crazy is crazy. It's not always about politics or anyone's rhetoric.

  23. Denise, we may be on opposite ends of the political spectrum but on this one I agree, all evidence points to the the shooter being delusional and mentally ill, or the less politically correct "batshit insane." Yes, the mug shot says it all. In this instance I am glad that in Arizona someone like this can not really get off for reason of insanity, but if ever declared sane, still has to serve his sentence rather than be released on the say so of some shrink.

    One of the less attractive features of human nature is the idea of a liberal like me wanting it to be a Tea Party guy, your friend wanting it to be an illegal immigrant. People from any point of view can momentarily let their personal agenda and prejudices (and we all have them) get in the way of rational thought and dealing with what is, not what we want it to be.

    Totally agree, "crazy is crazy" and the delusions of dangerous crazies cannot be understood or blamed on anything outside their own disordered mind.

    The shooting is getting a lot of local play in NJ because one of the women shot, 79, had homes and connections in both states. The whole thing is sad, senseless, and not the fault of anyone's politics, I think we will learn.

  24. Of course Jared Loughner is nuts--apparently a paranoid schizophrenic, as more is revealed about him. However, I do hope this senseless slaughter is used as a lesson the turn down the gun-related rhetoric in the political arena, and a return to more stringent gun-control laws that were enacted after the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life.

    If they had been in place, Jared Loughner would not haven been able to buy the extra long magazine that held 30 rounds of bullets. It would have been outlawed by the 1994 assault weapons ban, but it was allowed to expire during the Bush administration in 2004.

  25. http://reformadoption.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/the-problem-with-politcs/

    I definitely think that words have consequences. Especially when the Tea partiers have consistently used words such as armed, cross hair pictures, take down, and many other words suggesting an armed take down of liberals, progressives, etc.

    It's reminiscent of a cult... leaders give a command, cult followers commit, and the followers get blamed, and the leaders continue on as before.



COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish.

We cannot edit or change the comment in any way. Entire comment published is in full as written. If you wish to change a comment afterward, you must rewrite the entire comment.

We DO NOT post comments that consist of nothing more than a link and the admonition to go there.