Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Discuss events that have an impact on you and the world today. A home for honest, serious, and open discussion.

Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby James » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:06 pm

On January 8th, 2011, congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was one of twenty people shot at a meeting with constituents held at a Safeway. Six were killed and thirteen injured. The shooter was clearly messed up; some folks have been quick to blame this one on Sarah Palin.

There's a lot to discuss about this. Not just about the shooting, but about more general topics such as political practices and the possible after-effects of a negative campaign. For a bonus in radical reactions, read the comments. See also Sarah Palin's response and the comments there.

Surprised there's no topic on this one!
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17999
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby agga » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:28 pm

I'm usually on the side of anti-tea party and anti-palin, but in this case I think the partisans are making a big mistake. it sounds, right away, like the killer was psychotic, and even if it's found that "heated political rhetoric" somehow fed his delusions, it doesn't justify the current form of the hysteria. if it does, then everything the conservatives said about video games and columbine, or violent movies and the VT massacre, etc. etc. is also true - and i doubt any of the hysterical anti-Palinites would accept that line, i.e. that violence in media should be "watched".

*edit*
and, it occurs to me that, e.g., video game violence is even more relevant to columbine, because the killers there were *not* psychotic, than political rhetoric is to the tucson killings. mental illness puts a disproportionate amount of responsibility onto the perpetrator of this sort of crime, to the point where it's incomprehensible to the public. i mean, does anyone think they understand the motivations behind the VT massacre? in this case, at least, as in columbine, there are convenient scapegoats.
造反有理!
User avatar
agga
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1079
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:45 pm

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:28 pm

Actually, agga, I think your logic is absolutely, completely wrong here. I have actually found that people with mental illnesses are actually more susceptible to outside influence, and susceptible in odder and more extreme ways, than the sane. Also, sane people are able to distinguish between fiction and reality in ways which insane people are not. Because the Columbine shooters were sane, why should video game violence be considered of more relevance to Columbine than the political environment is in this case?
Last edited by WeiWenDi on Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Some more blood, Chekov. The needle won't hurt, Chekov. Take off your shirt, Chekov. Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov. Blood sample, Chekov! Marrow sample, Chekov! Skin sample, Chekov! If I live long enough... I'm going to run out of samples.
User avatar
WeiWenDi
Hedgehog Emperor
 
Posts: 3855
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:09 am
Location: L'Étoile du Nord

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby James » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:32 pm

I mostly agree with you on this one, agga. But I should point out that the view being taken by some of the more responsible Liberals I know is not that Palin is necessarily to blame, or that Palin wanted this to happen (absurd), but rather that we need to take from this a lesson that we need to be careful with our symbology: when we address the nation we are not just addressing the sane members of our country, but the insane as well.

I still think the connection may be little more than hyperbole (heck, according to news reports* I've seen this guy had some of the inane fears which are generally attributed to those who don't trust Republicans; e.g. government control, mind control, whatever) but that one key takeaway is worth taking to heart. Palin, regardless of whether her actions had even the slightest impact on this event, should not be using gun/shooting based symbology and analogies to inspire her followers against rivals.

*One other thing I learned—long before this time—is that I can't believe this kind of reporting from news reports until it is conveyed from an actual reliable source or material. News agencies like to dramatize things, are readily manipulated, and are also quite fond of manipulation.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17999
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby James » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:38 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Actually, agga, I think your logic is absolutely, completely wrong here. I have actually found that people with mental illnesses are actually more susceptible to outside influence, and susceptible in odder and more extreme ways, than the sane. Also, sane people are able to distinguish between fiction and reality in ways which insane people are not. Because the Columbine shooters were sane, why should video game violence be considered of more relevance to Columbine than the political environment is in this case?

Are you disagreeing with his whole notion, or the final conclusion relative to video games and Columbine (sane vs. insane)? Throwing this one squarely on Palin's lap is irresponsible at this point because it is drawing conclusions based on information which doesn't (does not yet?) exist. That said, I agree with you about the insane and the manner in which they consume information and suggestion.

Back to the general topic, I do think politics could have played a strong role in this one. I just don't think we have enough knowledge of this person and the event to draw concrete solutions as so many seem to be doing. He did target a political event, and he did shoot her first, before moving on to other targets. I also heard mention of a note from the shooter discussing just this. So there definitely seems to have been a pre-mediated element.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17999
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:41 pm

James wrote:Are you disagreeing with his whole notion, or the final conclusion relative to video games and Columbine (sane vs. insane)? Throwing this one squarely on Palin's lap is irresponsible at this point because it is drawing conclusions based on information which doesn't (does not yet?) exist. That said, I agree with you about the insane and the manner in which they consume information and suggestion.

Back to the general topic, I do think politics could have played a strong role in this one. I just don't think we have enough knowledge of this person and the event to draw concrete solutions as so many seem to be doing. He did target a political event, and he did shoot her first, before moving on to other targets. I also heard mention of a note from the shooter discussing just this. So there definitely seems to have been a pre-mediated element.


Thanks for asking, James! Yes, I was only disagreeing in this case with the final conclusion, which seemed to be that the insane are somehow more responsible for their actions than sane people are. As it happens, I don't think Ms Palin is responsible for anything in this case, so I think we're in agreement here. That said, from here on out, I feel she had better watch her tongue with regard to the 'shooting' rhetoric.
Some more blood, Chekov. The needle won't hurt, Chekov. Take off your shirt, Chekov. Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov. Blood sample, Chekov! Marrow sample, Chekov! Skin sample, Chekov! If I live long enough... I'm going to run out of samples.
User avatar
WeiWenDi
Hedgehog Emperor
 
Posts: 3855
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:09 am
Location: L'Étoile du Nord

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby agga » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:49 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:people with mental illnesses are actually more susceptible to outside influence, and susceptible in odder and more extreme ways, than the sane.


really, if this were generally true, psychotherapy would be effective for schizophrenics or other psychotics. it's not. outside influences have random effects - if a Sarah Palin speech or website is somehow responsible for psychotic violence, so are thousands of movies, books, games, fairy tales, god knows what else.

WeiWenDi wrote:Because the Columbine shooters were sane, why should video game violence be considered of more relevance to Columbine than the political environment is in this case?


more relevant because klebold and harris weren't insane. Doom, or Quake, or whatever, played a primary role in their murder fantasy - and they knew it was just a game. this is fact. whether or not the political environment played a significant role in the fantasies of the AZ murderer, at this point, is partisan political speculation, and nothing else.
Last edited by agga on Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
造反有理!
User avatar
agga
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1079
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:45 pm

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby James » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:50 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Thanks for asking, James! Yes, I was only disagreeing in this case with the final conclusion, which seemed to be that the insane are somehow more responsible for their actions than sane people are. As it happens, I don't think Ms Palin is responsible for anything in this case, so I think we're in agreement here. That said, from here on out, I feel she had better watch her tongue with regard to the 'shooting' rhetoric.

Hmm... I kind of got the impression that agga was simply pointing out that directly tying cases such as Palin's symbology and this murder (at least that this stage) is also, in effect, a vote in favor of the idea that violent video games lead to violence. When I step far enough back I can see the relation and I agree with it. When we move in close to the specific example (presumed insane here, sane at Columbine) it starts to break down, but focusing so much might miss the overall point.

What do you think, agga?

I agree that Palin needs to watch herself, and not just in the political sense (she'll be throwing kindling on her fire if she keeps this one up—her opponents will eat it up without skipping a beat). Rather, I see it as a good warning to all politicians that a negative campaign, with negative symbology, brings about negative results. In the extreme sense, whether or not it is relevant to this case, the mentally unstable consume information in a very different way, and all it takes is one looney with a gun—one person addressed of millions—to really screw things up.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17999
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby James » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:53 pm

agga wrote:really, if this were generally true, psychotherapy would be effective for schizophrenics or other psychotics. it's not. outside influences have random effects - if a Sarah Palin speech or website is somehow responsible for psychotic violence, so are thousands of movies, books, games, fairy tales, god knows what else.

Good point. I suppose the most obvious counter-point is: wouldn't we need only one violent random effect and one gun for something like this to go sour? I really do agree, though, that it is irresponsible to throw this back at Palin.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17999
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Unread postby agga » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:59 pm

and i'm not saying that people with psychosis are "more" responsible for their actions than others. it's that their actions are harder for us to comprehend in terms of environmental effects, because their minds are disordered and detached from reality. it really is true that people with psychosis may do things because they hear voices telling them to, or because they sense signs, etc - they may generate behaviors that have no link at all with what's going on around them, and this is why we call them insane.

but, a sane person, not hearing voices or getting signals from god, commits a heinous crime, and we have to ask, "why did he do it?" was there a conspiracy? did someone help him? was he taking orders? outside influences are much more relevant than they are for someone with genuine psychosis.
造反有理!
User avatar
agga
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1079
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:45 pm

Next

Return to Current Affairs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved