Death and Liberalism
This column by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara appeared January 19, 2011 on The American Spectator website.
Imagine if Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh had said the following about a Democrat candidate running for Governor of Florida:
That Scott down there that’s running for Governor of Florida. Instead of running for Governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for Governor of Florida. He’s a millionaire and a billionaire. He’s no hero. He’s a damn crook.
If you read or listen to Palin, Beck or Limbaugh, you can’t imagine that, because their words don’t remotely read or sound like that. Actually, as you know thanks to Jeff Lord, who broke the story about them on this site last November 9, these are the words of a Democrat member of Congress, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), about a Republican candidate running for Governor of Florida, Rick Scott. Instead of taking Kanjorski’s advice to shoot him, the voters of Florida elected him.
And the voters of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Hazelton acted wisely as well in moving to end the climate of hate and tone down the political rhetoric by retiring Kanjorski at the ballot box last November, electing the Republican challenger Lou Barletta instead.
While on the subject of the climate of hate, let us not forget the 2006 award winning film Death of a President. The self-described “mockumentary” was styled as an objective news analysis of a fictional assassination of then President George W. Bush by a sniper on October 19, 2007, after an economics speech at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel. In the plot of the 93 minute film, federal law enforcement authorities frame a Syrian national who is convicted of the killing and sentenced to death. But the real killer was a veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, whose son David had recently been killed while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. After the assassination, the father committed suicide, leaving a note for his second son, which read,
Everything I stood for and raised you to stand for has turned bad. There’s no honor in dying for an immoral cause. For lies. I love my country, but I love God, and the sons He gave me more. I must do the right thing by David and by you. George Bush killed our David and I cannot forgive him for that.
Hard to see that note and the entire movie as anything other than an exhortation to the parents of loved ones lost in Iraq to do the right thing by all right thinking people and rid the world of the evil Bushhitler. Nevertheless, the movie won the International Critics Prize at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, Best Picture Award at the Brussels European Film Festival, and an International Emmy Award, among others. Movie critic Rex Reed called it “Clever, thoughtful, and totally believable. This is a film without a political agenda that everyone should see.” Jim Eberson, editor of RogerEbert.com, advised readers, “Death of a President is electrifying drama and compellingly realistic.”
Apparently, the Lieutenants of the Left are not aware of when they lapse into self-parody. Imagine the riots that would ensue if anyone even tried to make such a movie about, never mind, I would probably be arrested for even bringing that up.
The Brown Shirts of Liberal Fascism
But within a couple of hours of the crazed attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was out with his cue to the Left Wing’s shock troops, writing, “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was… she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist.”
You got the message, Homer? The Tea Party is composed of the type of people who would readily kill those they can’t defeat politically. Krugman says this even though he admits he has no evidence for his ravings, and even though he not only doesn’t know anybody involved in any Tea Party, he doesn’t know anybody who knows anybody involved in any Tea Party. No apologies yet from the increasingly disreputable paper that publishes his column.
The actual evidence that has come out establishes more than odds that the shooter suffered from delusional mental illness. As columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote last week, “The origins of Loughner’s delusions are clear: mental illness. What are the origins of Krugman’s?”
I can answer that. There is method to the madness displayed by Krugman, MSNBC raver Keith Olbermann, the New York Times, Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, and other brown shirts of the Left. They are trying to browbeat conservatives and Tea Party activists out of exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, petitioning of the government for redress of grievances, and voting the liberal/left out of office.
Leftist Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva made this more explicit in commenting on the shooting, saying that when “you stoke these flames, and you go to public meetings and you scream at the elected officials, you threaten them — you make us expendable you make us part of the cannon fodder.” In other words, “Shut up!” they lied.
Even more explicit was Pelosi Captain Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). “The shooting is cause for the country to rethink parameters on free speech,” he said, in calling for reinstatement of the fairness doctrine to shut down conservative talk radio. He said that some of the commentary he hears is worse than yelling fire in a crowded theater. He could be the leader of the growing Congressional caucus, “Democrats Against Free Speech.”
Liberal Law Enforcement: Deadly Not Serious
The New York Post asked soon after the shooting why a certifiable madman like Jared Loughner was free to walk into a store and buy a gun and ammunition. I can answer that too. Soon after the shooting, Tucson’s very own Inspector Clouseau, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, reported that the shooter Jared Loughner had several previous interactions with local law enforcement during which death threats were made. But there is apparently no police record on Loughner, or at least on these incidents.
Under the law enforcement leadership of Clarence Dupnik, it appears that officers in Tucson responding to lawbreaking can be threatened with death by the suspect, and no one takes it seriously enough to even record it. Wouldn’t want to mess up the future of a promising young man who may be just another victim of society. But if these local officers had made a more serious record of Loughner’s transgressions, that would have been the foundation for denying him the purchase of a gun and ammo.
Moreover, Arizona has strong laws for treating the mentally ill. Rich Lowry reports in his column last Saturday that courts in the state can order treatment for someone who is “persistently and acutely disabled” and who is “likely to benefit from treatment.” Loughner had clearly established a record to qualify for this. He was suspended and barred from Pima Community College because he appeared to be a threat to others due to his mental instability. The threat was so obvious to one student that in class she sat “by the door with my purse handy” so she could get out fast when the shooting began, as Krauthammer reported in his column last week.
Why was the threat not obvious to Inspector Jacques Dupnik? Why did he never seek a court order to mandate treatment for Loughner, or commitment to a mental institution if he did not comply? There was enough evidence at least to take Loughner into custody for a psychiatric examination. If Dupnik had done his job, Loughner’s massacre would never have happened.
Instead, taking the cue from Krugman, the hyperpartisan Dupnik took to the national airwaves with his own polluting political rhetoric condemning the Tea Party, conservative talk radio, the Republicans, Sarah Palin, and others. Explaining on Fox News what may have prompted the killer’s actions, Dupnik theorized, “There was a lot of vitriolic statements made on radio and TV…and some of the vitriol got a lot of people agitated.” When Fox News anchor Megan Kelly asked for evidence of that, Dupnik indicated that was what he was investigating.
Later in the interview, the crack investigator explained the problem, “We have one political party trying to block the attempts of another party to make this a better country.” But he said in defense of his comments, “I am not sure it has anything to do with politics.” At an immigration forum in September, Dupnik seemed to be whipping up the masses himself, accusing the Tea Party of racism, again without any evidence.
Dupnik even blamed his own Arizona constituents for the dead and wounded, instead of taking responsibility himself. On the day of the shooting, he ran out at a press conference to explain,
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government — the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
But as Fox News legal analyst Peter J. Johnston, Jr. said last week, Dupnik’s political comments could compromise the prosecution of Loughner. Johnson explained that Dupnik’s “intemperate” statements were “not within the realm of criminal justice or in the scope of his duty as a sheriff and may be contributing to the insanity defense of the defendant.” Expect the defense to cite Dupnik’s statements to argue that Loughner’s massacre was “provoked or precipitated or assisted by the political climate in the United States and the statements of some officials in the Republican Party and in the media,” as Johnson put it.
Stuart Schwartz explained Dupnik’s hapless record of law enforcement last week at the American Thinker website:
The citizens of Pima County are up to their necks in crime, especially when compared to neighboring Maricopa County. Thirty years of hyperpartisan Democrat-led law enforcement have resulted in the highest crime rates in Arizona. The citizen who lives in Pima County, compared to media-reviled Joe Arpaio’s territory just next door, will have almost three times the chance of being murdered; is more than seven times as likely to be raped; is more than six times as likely to be assaulted; and more than seven times as likely to have experienced a property crime such as burglary, arson or car theft.
But as Robert Knight reported in the Washington Times last week, the citizens of Pima County do have an immediate solution. The Arizona Constitution specifically provides for the recall of elected officials like Sheriff Dupnik. Article VIII, Part 1 states:
Every public officer in the state of Arizona holding an elective office, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall from such office by the qualified electors of the electoral district from which the candidates are elected to such office.
The Tea Party in Pima County can prove that it is not intimidated by moving expeditiously to circulate petitions calling for the recall of Dupnik for his scandalous law enforcement failures. That would require the signatures of 25% of the voters in the last election, or about 90,000.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
But the deeper roots of Loughner’s horrible massacre were explained by psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey the Wall Street Journal on January 12. Torrey writes:
The truth is that these tragedies are happening every day throughout the United States….These tragedies are the inevitable outcome of five decades of failed mental-health policies. During the 1960s, we began to empty the state mental hospitals, but failed to put in place programs to ensure that the released patients received treatment after they left. By the 1980s, the results were evident — increasing numbers of seriously mentally ill persons among the homeless population and in the nation’s jails and prisons.
Extremist so-called civil libertarian organizations like the ACLU fight in court not only for the right of the criminally insane to be “deinstitutionalized.” As Huffington Post blogger DJ Jafee explained in the New York Post last week, “they defend the right of people with mental illness to go off treatment and be psychotic.” Lowry reported in his column last Saturday one such case where civil libertarian crusaders sprung a mental patient out of the hospital over the objection of his parents, who then proceeded to kill his mother with a hatchet two months later.
Liberals have long been glad to use the helpless insane as political props against Republicans. They used “the homeless” as an issue against President Reagan throughout the 1980s, while never pursuing real reforms that would help the hordes of mentally ill that their own policies had dumped on the streets. With the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the homeless issue promptly disappeared.
Torrey explains that the obvious solution is not necessarily reinstitutionalization, but to “make sure individuals with serious mental illnesses are receiving treatment.” Torrey continues:
Many such patients will take medication voluntarily if it is made available to them. Others are unaware that they are sick and should be required by law to receive assisted outpatient treatment, including medication and counseling…. If they do not comply with the court-ordered treatment plan, they can and should be involuntarily admitted to a hospital.
Torrey noted that Arizona has just such a provision in its state law. But Dupnik was too involved in lambasting the Tea Party’s racism to get around to using it in Loughner’s case.
The liberals, or at least their hare-brained policies, are literally killing us.