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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Damn Yankees: The Tucson Shootings and Anti-Americanism

When Gabrielle Giffords was shot, the American Left promptly blamed the American Right. The American Right returned the compliment by fingering the gunman as a Left-wing loner. So far, so predictable. The American political and media markets are highly competitive. When a political figure is shot, there is an almost instinctive response to blame the proponents of political Brand Y, since no sensible adherent to Brand X would ever do something so crazy. We see the enemy where we want to see him.

For much of the Canadian MSM, especially in its more Leftish precincts, the culprit was clear: It was America. Not a particular American. Not some group of Americans. It was Uncle Sam himself taking shots at Congresswoman Giffords. The evil that is the United States of America was just expressing itself. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's Warren Kinsella:

Why do these things happen? Because, in some ways, America’s heart is sick, too. Because – unlike up here – Americans make guns far more available than they should. And they make guns more readily available to sick young men such as Loughner.

That, mostly, is why these things keep happening.

Let's re-read that quote above, and replace the word America with Nigeria and American with Nigerian. The statement is much more accurate in describing an unstable third-world hell hole like Nigeria, than the United States of America. Most of the world is far, far more violent than the United States. Is most of the world sick too? 

American murder rates are conspicuous higher than those of most advanced western liberal democracies. The bulk of these "excess" murders occur not among gun toting rednecks, but in urban ghettoes during drug related turf wars. The typical American, who is not a resident of a housing project, or involved in the hard drug trade, is about as safe as any Canadian. America's blighted inner cities are about as indicative of America, as Canada's aboriginal reserves are indicative of this country.

The American media projects a distorted and violent image of America to the world, which the world gladly laps up. The idea of Americans as gun-toting crazies is actually very comforting. Sure, American capitalism (even after the 2008 financial crisis) bestrides the world. Yes, American science and technology continues to break new ground. No doubt, even with an appeasement minded Democrat at the helm, the world's tin pot dictators think twice about too openly attacking a nation with eleven aircraft carriers, and thousands of nuclear warheads.

But despite all that power, wealth and success, they're really just a bunch of slack-jawed hicks who solve their problems with sawed off shotguns? It's like high school dorks reassuring themselves that the quarterbacks can't do calculus, or are covert drunks. Canadian statists, who elegantly combine our national neuroses with a standard issue hatred of capitalism, have no problem reaching for the America is sick metaphor whenever some loony goes on a shooting spree. If it fits the patterns....

Dr Kinsella is not alone in pronouncing the patient beyond hope. Here's the Globe:

At the same time as blame can be laid at the door of Fox News, it is essential to recognize that the style of Fox News is a hit. The channel easily beats CNN and MSNBC in the ratings. So many American TV viewers get exactly what they want and enjoy on Fox News. So while blaming Fox we have to admit that the Fox News channel’s success is rooted in Fox’s intuitive recognition of the inherent aggressiveness of the American political culture, an aggressiveness that is itself anchored in a public that’s fearful of change and hostile to opposing viewpoints.

That sound you hear coming from Toronto's Necropolis is George Brown spinning in his grave.

The American public is "fearful of change," eh? This would be the same American public that eagerly adopts new technologies (millions of iPads sold), and is by far the most mobile (horizontally and vertically) work force on earth. A nation that generates more new companies than all of Europe combined?

Americans are "hostile to opposing viewpoints?" Ever tried questioning the value of Medicare at a Toronto cocktail party? Or fourth-year humanities seminar? Or over a water cooler? It's been a generation since Canada has any serious public debate on abortion. Who's afraid of opposing viewpoints?

When not inclined to attack Americans directly, some ripping of the American gun culture will do as well. Here is Linda McQuaig:

Giffords’ office door was smashed after she voted for Obama’s health-care plan, and her Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly, urged voters to “help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office: Shoot a fully automatic M-16 with Jesse Kelly.”

It’s easy to imagine how a deranged youth might act out a real-life variation of the Republican suggestion to “shoot a fully automatic M-16” to “help remove Gabrielle Giffords.” 

Incidentally, here's Congresswoman Giffords posing with an assault rifle.

So maybe the Asskicker is right? They're all gun mad nuts. Or maybe it's just a different lifestyle choice. A different culture we should learn to appreciate for the diversity it brings to the world. A single point of light in the constellation of humanity! Or does such relativism only apply to non-western cultures?

Michael Ignatieff avoided making any crass anti-American remarks over the Tucson shootings, instead opting for self-serving remarks in favour of gun control:

Speaking publicly for the first time about the shooting incident in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and a congresswoman fighting for her life, Ignatieff said he’s even more determined to fight Conservative efforts to abolish the long-gun registry.

“Tucson tells me that Canada needs to maintain, enhance, protect and defend an integrated gun registry,” Ignatieff told reporters Wednesday. “Nothing can be solved with a gun, any time, anywhere.”

So, why did you advocate for the American-led invasion of Iraq? Let's be kind to Lord Iggy and assume he did not mean to include professional armies. They work for the government, so it's OK that they carry guns. People who work for the government never do anything crazy, irrational or unjust.

Quite a few things can be solved by a gun, like killing dangerous wild animals and violent human beings. As is now standard in these situations, let me remind our readers that had an armed and well trained citizen been in the audience with Congresswoman Giffords, this all might have been avoided. 

The Leader of the Opposition's hosannas for the long-gun registry are misplaced. The Liberals - and much of the MSM - ascribes magical powers to the registry. It is not a government policy, it is a talisman - not unlike Medicare - used to ward off evil spirits. It's practical value is close to nil.

A mad man - a fair description of Jared Lee Loughner - has not the slightest intention of adhering to something as trivial as gun registration. Men willing to kill for no rational reason are not going to be restrained by bits of red tape. Nor would the registry have done anything to warn Congresswoman Giffords - or the victims of the Montreal Massacre - of their attackers approach. A gun registry tells you where the owner of a gun lives, not where the owner, or the gun, is at all times. 

The obsession with registration and control by the Left, on both sides of the 49th, manifests both a vast ambition and dangerous naivety. Rather than confront an uncertain world, - where illness, unemployment and all manner of injustice lurk - with a sober eye and cautious attitude, the Left calls for the abolition of uncertainty. Such a thing is impossible.

People will be become sick and require medical attention. Passing a law, and establishing a government bureaucracy, does not guarantee that the medical attention offered will be either prompt or of good quality. Some among us will always be poor - for whatever reason - and no government in history has ever, or will ever solve the "problem" of relative poverty. A few in every neighbourhood - even in big government loving Canada - will suffer injustice, at the hands of friend, family or employer. The law can provide some remedy and some deterrence, it cannot outlaw human evil and callousness.

The Leftist urge to regulate life's ups and downs is an adolescent fantasy. No law, no regulation and no government - even a totalitarian one - can prevent a mad man from finding or making a weapon. The deranged can even turn something as innocuous as a snowplow into a killing machine. Barring good fortune, no government can stop a mad man from using a weapon on the innocent.

Posted by Richard Anderson on January 20, 2011 | Permalink


Excellent points. I wonder, does anyone put any value in what Kinsella says anymore?

Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2011-01-20 6:57:16 AM

Well, they keeping paying Kinsella to write those columns, so at least some deluded editors take him seriously. Heck, Heather Mallick's been a writer for decades.

Posted by: Publius | 2011-01-20 8:06:08 AM

What also doesn't get mentioned is how often ordinary people successfully defend their life and property with their own guns.


Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2011-01-20 9:45:44 AM

Not only that Joe, but the reason, it is said, that more didn't die in the case is that the shooter was wrestled to the ground and held until the police got to them. In other words, the police did not prevent it.

Had someone there had a gun on their hip, perhaps fewer deaths would have resulted.

In any case, the police not preventing it, reminds us all that we are responsible for our own lives and safety. Too bad that the very entity that would have us wrongly believe that they are, also restrict us from doing so.

Posted by: TM | 2011-01-20 10:02:05 AM

"When Gabrielle Giffords was shot, the American Left promptly blamed the American Right. The American Right returned the compliment by fingering the gunman as a Left-wing loner. So far, so predictable." - Publius

The MSM narrative somewhat mirrors the above in that it inaccurately equivocates between the "left and right" which then, in the eyes of the public, depreciates the value of a reasoned response such as the remainder of Publius' post since he would be considered part of the "right wing".

My take on the initial response of the "right" was a gathering of evidence to refute the initial leftist attack dogs since the whack job responsible could have been linked to any political pedigree. Once the so called "right" went into defensive mode, the MSM could then equivocate and feed into Obama's first "presidential" delivery from the "center" (since his election) during the service/pep rally. Palin lost 5 points in popularity, mission accomplished.

Yesterday, Congressman Cohen equated Republicans in the House with Nazis for voting to repeal Obamacare. Fox News was likely the only network to cover it, showing the hypocrisy (heated rhetoric etc.) of the left. The MSM narrative is to then equivocate Fox News with Cohen as both extremes, painting anyone associated accordingly. Cohen gets a free ride and the lasting message is that Fox is extreme.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2011-01-20 10:44:29 AM

Yes, if someone had a gun at the event they might have minimized the casualties. Another view might be, if everyone at the event had a gun, the crazy guy would not have considered trying to do what he did. Gun control enables criminals, and psychos.

It boils down to one simple fact. No army will ever invade the US because the citizenry would be impossible to control. The odd tragedy is the price you have to pay for national identity.

Posted by: dp | 2011-01-20 3:22:13 PM

Yes, it was a tragedy which could have been an even greater one had not a bystander wrestled him to the ground. It would have been far less of one had an armed bystander taken him out after the first shot. Our MSM are pathetic. Why did they not question why none of the other bus passengers came to the defence of the murdered victim and why the cops sat on their thumbs for the longest time before intervening? It seems that in Canada bystanders for the most part prefer to turn a blind eye, and we are all aware of the folly of depending on the cops to protect us. As Canadians we have absolutely nothing about which to feel smug and to point fingers.

Concerning the statement that no law and no regulation can prevent a person from making a deadly weapon, I can attest to how true it is. Having worked in a maximum federal prison it was amazing to see how creative the inmates could be in making weapons, even a simple working gun, out of just about anything. If I did not know before this experience, I certainly had confirmation that the problem is always the person and not the object or weapon used.

Posted by: Alain | 2011-01-20 3:37:48 PM

If America ended the drug war the murder rate would be less than Canada. Id love to hear Kinsellas reply to this.

Posted by: don b | 2011-01-20 4:32:51 PM

The Left blames the Right for violence. What about when the Left says the following?

Left-wing Hardball’s Chris Matthews fantasized about the death of Rush Limbaugh: “Somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp.”

Radio host Mike Malloy (a onetime news writer for CNN) wished for Rush Limbaugh’s demise on January 4, 2010, a few days after the conservative host was hospitalized for chest pains: “I’m waiting for the day when I pick it up, pick up a newspaper or click on the Internet and find out he’s choked to death on his own throat fat or a great big wad of saliva or something, you know, whatever. Go away, Rush, you make me sick!”

In 2009, then-Air America radio host Montel Williams urged the wonderful Right-wing conservative Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to kill herself: “Slit your wrist! Go ahead! I mean, you know, why not? I mean, if you want to — or, you know, do us all a better thing. Move that knife up about two feet. I mean, start right at the collarbone.”

On national radio show in 2009, Ed Schultz wished for Dick Cheney’s death: “He is an enemy of the country, in my opinion, Dick Cheney is, he is an enemy of the country....Lord, take him to the Promised Land, will you?”

“I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease….He is an absolutely reprehensible person.” — USA Today columnist and Pacifica Radio talk show host Julianne Malveaux on Justice Clarence Thomas, November 4, 1994 PBS To the Contrary.

Posted by: StanleyR | 2011-01-20 6:30:55 PM

It is estimated that 3% of the population (USA) is mentally unstable. That means approx. 10 million nuts are running around loose since it costs money to lock them up and that is also no longer politically correct. There is simply no way to avoid this kind of tragedy. The only reason this is newsworthy is that she was a prominent woman and not a gang banger. Also, the headlines and blame would have been the same if a knife was used instead of a pistol. There will always be nuts out there and we have more than a million running around Canada too.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-20 8:47:31 PM

The sickest part of the whole affair - Obama`s approval rating is up %15.

Posted by: daveh | 2011-01-21 6:32:13 AM

The Declaration of Independence (DOI) says that citizens may use the force of arms to remove a tyrannical government. When Gifford voted to force people to pay gov't health care, she became the above and could pay the penalty mentioned in the DOI. The guy who shot her was just a nut, though.

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-21 4:34:13 PM

"The Declaration of Independence (DOI) says that citizens may use the force of arms to remove a tyrannical government"

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-21 4:34:13 PM

I do not think the DOI was meant to replace a democratic election if you disagree with a policy. She would probably have been voted out in the next election anyway. If she refused to leave , then your interpretation would apply.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-21 8:04:58 PM

The government says with gun licensing and registration it will keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill , how do they tell if some one is mentally ill?
One of the highest ranking military officers in Canada is a serial killer, Leviathan didnt know he
was mentally ill .

Posted by: don b | 2011-01-21 8:18:18 PM

The government says .......

Posted by: don b | 2011-01-21 8:18:18 PM

Government is never wrong. Unlimited funding for propoganda assures that.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-21 10:43:35 PM

peterj: Where in the DOI does it mention that the citizens should wait for an election to remove a tyrant? It says "Force of arms." The only question is: Does massive taxation and forcing people to buy gov"t services amount to tyranny?

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-22 4:18:49 PM

The essential difference between the America of 1776 and 2011 is that the former was not yet independent. Americans could not assert their natural rights effectively because they were still a colony.

Modern America is both independent and democratic. The welfare and regulatory state exists because of, not despite, the popular will. Something might be morally tyrannical, but without widespread support and understanding it will not be overturned.

Posted by: Publius | 2011-01-22 4:46:38 PM

I understand what a democracy is, Publius. The DOI says that you have the right to fight tyranny in a physical way. It is morality delineated and cannot be subverted by time or circumstances. If democracy is resulting in tyranny, then the DOI applies now more than ever.

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-22 5:21:40 PM

an election to remove a tyrant? It says "Force of arms.........
Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-22 4:18:49 PM

Every elected official is probably considered a tyrant by some voters. That does not make it so for the majority that elected that person. That is what elections are for. Like I said earlier, if you vote that person out and he/she refuses to leave or if that person tries to circumvent the democratic system, then perhaps that person is a tyrant. If enough people feel as you do then you can turf her out for supportng Obamacare or whatever else pissed you off......in the next election. Force of arms is there if she refuses to be turfed out.
But you already know that.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-22 5:52:45 PM

Giffords was wrong with her vote on Obamacare. She votes the wrong way on most issues. I would have voted for her opponent if I had lived in her district. However, the point is that she did put herself before the voters in a free and fair election. Therefore, we accept the results. She is wrong but not a tyrant. To label someone you disagree with as tyrannical when there is no real proof is what I would expect from someone like an LBJ or Nixon.

This attacker was a nut and no law would have stopped him. He was largely apolitical though he hated Bush and believed that 9-11 was a government plot. He was also very anti-organized religion and indulged in some drug use. My bigger question is how come 5 run ins with campus police at Pima Community College didn't draw the attention of local law enforcement? As for Canadian columnists criticizing U.S. society, there is one key difference. In Tucson, men in the crowd attacked and disarmed the shooter. In Montreal, the male college students stood by and let the women students be slaughtered. In the Manitoba Bus incident, the passengers just run for it when a nut starts disemboweling the poor guy next to him. In one country, some men run towards the danger. In the other, almost all men(the exception being the 2,000 Canadian men in Afghanistan) run away when danger appears. Don't they teach men in Canada anymore to protect their wifes, sisters, mothers, and female co-workers anymore? Or has honor and chivalry truly died up there?

Posted by: Jacob | 2011-01-22 8:42:12 PM

Teach us to protect our kin? They prohibit us from doing so! People in Canada generally believe that the state should have a monopoly on force. But woe to the criminals because we have 911.

Other subject: When the state says "I'll remove your money by force and if you don't pay, I'll criminilize you," that is tyranny. What if both GOP and the Dems agreed that this tyranny is acceptable and there was no way out? Force of arms?

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-22 9:00:32 PM

PeterJ: Could your "considered" be legitimate? Why is the elected official considered so? Force is either being applied against the individual by gov't or it isn't. If it is - DOI.

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-22 9:04:46 PM

What if both GOP and the Dems agreed that this tyranny is acceptable and there was no way out? Force of arms?

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-22 9:00:32 PM

Against whom ??? As you well know , when government is on the wrong track , as the last election showed, the incumbents are turfed out on their ears and a new force (Tea party) wields enough power to correct the imbalance. Still in a peacefull and democratic fashion. Obama will probably veto any push to eliminate Obamacare but if he does his ass will be tossed out in 2012 because as it now stands it is unaffordable. If economic conditions do'nt improve by 2012 (they wont) the GOP will rule both house and senate and the hard changes will be made. Peacefully.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-23 12:11:23 AM

That may be true. But, that's not the point, which is that the DOI says tyranny may be addressed by arms not votes.

You can argue against the DOI if you wish, but it views tyranny as a viscious animal that needs to be put down immediately and decisively. It doesn't say anything about voting.

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-23 3:07:30 PM

Sorry, I failed to address your "against whom?" question.

I think Timothy McVeigh was wrong in what he did because he acted like the state he wanted to destroy. He focused on his evil target without any regard for innocents. The state does it all the time, but evil is as evil does.

I would say that the DOI gives you the right to use arms to defend against state aggression. So, citizens could have went to Waco, Tx to defend Koresh and the women and children who were treated as the children were in Oklahoma city.

And, the citizen would have been well within his rights to go to Ruby Ridge and defend the hill from the murderers who blew Randy Weaver's wife's head off as she held her new born baby.

Agreed? Or do you think Randy should have waited for an election?

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-23 3:16:20 PM

tyranny may be addressed by arms not votes....

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-23 3:16:20 PM

McVeigh , Koresh and Weaver all fought tyranny as they saw it on a personal basis. They did not have public support for their cause. Right or wrong (in McVeighs case it could never be right)they scorned all legal means to resolve their problems and became tyrants in their own right. If you want to have a pissing contest with the government you better have the public in your camp or it is doomed to failure. Tyranny , like art is in the eye of the beholder. What really frosts one person is applauded by the next. The government has no shortage of their own tyrants. Just look at the IRS. If the state had done what McVeigh did , you would have a cause for revolution, but the state did not. Waco turned into a mess because Janet Reno had no idea what she was doing. It could have been resolved peacefully but no one seemed to be in charge. I think Reno had another "Jim Jones" on her mind and Koresh had the option to persue legal means. He chose not to. Same with Randy Weaver.
As long as we have a democratic system where every vote is freely cast and counted the force of arms would not apply. If we ever move to dictatorship (like Chavez/Castro )then it's a whole new ballgame. Like I said....tyranny is in the eye of the beholder. When the majority of the population is the beholder then it's time to act, but if it remains on a personal level with a few followers then it remains in the wingnut catagory.
The whole tea party movement started with a few meetings and petitions and look at what they accomplished. That is true democracy. Force of arms was not a issue.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-23 5:22:39 PM

As far as I can tell, Weaver and Koresh were just minding their own business. In their case, the goverment actually did become tyrants. The FBI sniper who killed Mrs. Weaver acted in total violation of her civil rights, and was never punished. He was later suspected of firing the first shots at random targets on the Koresh compound. He's probably collecting a very nice pension, when he should be in federal prison.

Posted by: dp | 2011-01-23 5:57:14 PM

Exactly dp.

peterj: "If the state did what McVeigh did." Are you shitting me? They commit a dozen of those acts on a daily basis. McVeigh himself killed defenseless people FOR the state. You should read Gore Vidal's book about McVeigh.

Tyranny is not in the eye of the beholder. Do you think shooting Mrs Weaver in the face was debatable? Ho hum, maybe she deserved being murdered. It's all in the eye of the beholder - WRONG!!

Tyranny is when an agressor takes or attempts to take your natural rights. I don't care if you will win or not. The issue is ethics. Do you have the right to fight a tyrant with physical force? The DOI says you do. It sounds like you disagree. That's fair enough. Just get on the train when they tell you to.

Don't worry, there's an election coming.

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-23 6:18:47 PM

Do you think shooting Mrs Weaver in the face was debatable? Ho hum
Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-23 6:18:47 PM

Mrs Weaver was behind the cabin door and was not a target. Just a victim of a complete screw up.
The government admitted as much and awarded Randy Weaver $ 300,000 and his 3 daughters 1 million each. Not exactly what tyrants do. The FBI sniper Lon ? was indicted for manslaughter but never convicted due to juristictional regulations.
I read a couple books on the subject but that was long ago.
Regardless, it could have been settled without violence if Randy Weaver had agreed to a legal search warrant re: illegal weapons...which he did not have. They would have come and gone. No harm done. I am not taking the government side, they were complete assholes. The "tyrants" admited as much.
Koresh was the same thing, over a search warrant. Government believed he was turning semi-automatic weapons into automatic, and they had information that he had granades. Also wrong. He refused the legal search warrant and there is still a dispute over who fired the first shot. Again, the "tyrants" admitted they screwed up big time but the whole thing could have been avoided by abiding by the search warrant. They would have come and gone. No harm done.
There is no doubt that various government agencies have a small army of tyrants working for them, but they also have to follow the law or face the consequences in a democratic system. I personally have very little faith in anything the government does and also have a deep mistrust of all enforcement agents since too many I have met are on never ending power trips. Having said that I also see the democratic system as being the only viable solution to resolve disagreements. Tyrants do'nt allow you to sue their sorry asses when they screw up.

If they ever tell me to get on that train I will switch to you way of thinking.
You can have the last word.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-23 9:09:41 PM

Yes, PeterJ: Things can always be solved by lying down and giving the state what it wants. Not exactly what the DOI preaches.

It's nice to know that the state will compensate people after they kill their families. Hey, how about a holocaust? Would a $billion make up for it?

I digress, this is not about whether you or I trust in the state. Obviously you do and I don't.
This started out as "Does the DOI authorize the use of force to thwart a tyrant.

It most certainly does and you most certainly disagree with it. These people that fear the state often were the state and have a deeper knowledge of it. Randy Weaver (Green Berets), Tim McVeigh (U,S. Army) and I all have experience in state force.

Maybe it's best you stay naive and blissful. Hey, maybe you'll get lucky and get a big fat paycheque after they kill your mom and sister.

The founding fathers were wise. Listen to them!

Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-24 9:36:50 AM

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