My opinion will not be silenced – Conservatives have rights!

Saturday’s events in Tucson were tragic. For reasons not explained, some 22 year-old nut named Jared Loghner made the choice to visit a peaceful gathering of people, kill six and severely injure 14. Evil manifests itself in many ways all the time, and this is one example. For media pundits, bloggers and politicians to take this evil act and assign blame to anyone other than the shooter and his own demons, is unacceptable.

Got that? It is completely and totally unacceptable to blame the “elevated angry rhetoric” of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, talk radio or the TEA Party for this act. Yet within hours, political and media leaders assigned blame. Blaming conservative voices like Glenn Beck is akin to blaming the professor and students in Loghner’s basic algebra class. I’m serious.

If one can blame the free speech of conservative leaders – who reportedly have absolutely no connection to the nut job at all –  for this attack, why can’t others blame the people who shared a classroom with him months before his attack and openly stated they were afraid he would show up to class and randomly start shooting?

He was reported to exhibit bizarre behavior and possibly “dangerously violent” by students and the professor, yet their primary concern was to get him out of the classroom and let someone else deal with him. Did someone call the police? Did someone contact one of Loghner’s friends and suggest he get help? Were the councilors at the school notified?

Why didn’t they do something? Even the local sheriff’s office had evidence Loghner was off-his-rocker. Why didn’t they do something?

Let me be clear. I would never blame those who shared a few hours in a room more than three months ago for the actions of this nut-case on Saturday morning. Still, political leaders – including the local sheriff – have used this tragedy to point to bloggers like me, talkers like Jim Vicevich, and our friends and family who refer to themselves as TEA Party members, and blame Loghner’s attack on our conservative viewpoints.

Oh hell no. You’re not going to get away with it. You’re not going to use the violent act of one deranged person as leverage to get us to stop referring to the health care legislation as unconstitutional, or stop pointing out the federal government has usurped too much power from the states during the past 50 years.

Was the political vitriol to blame in 1949 when Howard Unruh shot and killed 14 in Camden, New Jersey? How about the 1991 Luby’s massacre in Killeen, Texas where 23 were killed? Or the San Ysidro, California McDonald’s attack in 1984 that killed 21?

How about the mass shootings in 2007 and 2008? Fifty-seven people were killed during six mass shootings in less than ten months. How would you measure the ‘political vitriol’ in 2007 and 2008?

That said, political discourse actually leading to violence is rare, but unfortunately nothing new. President Lincoln was assassinated in the hope his death would rally the remaining Confederate troops to continue fighting the Civil War. But remember, there is absolutely no information that leads us to think Loghner had a conservative TEA Party-bone in his body. In hindsight, he may have been very liberal, socialist or communist. Almost certainly he had a drug habit and was mentally unstable. Maybe he had a traumatic brain injury or something … who knows.

There is no acceptance of assassination or political violence here in the United States. Ever. There is no need for such action since we have democratic and free elections on a regular basis. The TEA Party used the ballot box in November to make their point. There is no other way.

Looking back, the information coming from the scene through media channels was frequently so wrong it was a total roller coaster for those tuned in. The speculation was all over the map. Victims were dead, victims were not dead. There was a second shooter. An automatic weapon was used. There were even pundits that figured since Arizona was the wild west, ordinary citizens fought back shooting at the attacker and probably killed a few people in the process. All made up crap.

The media’s reporting certainly did not get a passing grade Saturday afternoon. Politicians even suggested the guy was an Afghan vet!

As for blogger reaction, I’ll admit that I was a bit uncomfortable reading headlines from Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit and Pamela Gellar at Atlas Shrugs a few hours after the attack occurred. I didn’t want to blame the act on anyone other than the shooter, but Hoft and Gellar rightfully fought back (can we still use that term?) after the media, politicians and the Pima County sheriff made the unfounded connection to TEA Party conservative ‘rhetoric’, bigots and the Arizona people who’ve had enough with ‘undocumented workers’ causing havoc in their state.

Blaming the conservative ‘vitriol’ for the attack on Saturday was a tipping point for Hoft, Gellar and other conservatives. When Democrats and liberal bloggers use ‘targets’ in their graphics and President Obama uses the “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” language and are completely absolved of all blame while conservatives are attacked … it’s on brother.

We’re bringing out the pictures displaying the left’s hate.

Isn’t it interesting how the FBI, media and those on the left wanted to avoid speculation and blame immediately after the Fort Hood shooting in 2009? Within days, intelligence directly associated Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan with radical Islam as a self-described Soldier of Allah but we would be racist if we suggested the connection. Makes you think huh?

After the event, I tagged plenty of posts in my newsreader for absorbing later. I’ll wrap up this post providing you with plenty of links to review with reaction during the hours since the tragedy. Ensure you read my post on the victims – the people who really matter – that was posted last night.

Most recently tagged items at the top of the list.

I don’t have the time to provide all the links to Gateway Pundit or Atlas Shrugs. They did have quite a few posts on the subject, so check out their sites and posts.


There is a blog post written at The Cholla Jumps concerning the Pina County Sheriffs office action – or inaction – concerning death threats made by the shooter that I have been reluctant to link to. I’ve been encouraged by friends to provide the link. If this is factual … well … you get my point.

Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system.

AJ at the Strata-Sphere is wondering if the Sheriff is trying to deflect blame, but agrees with AP at Hot Air. If the new standard allows for assertions to be tossed out with no supporting evidence at all …

Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t. The important thing is, does it serve your political agenda?

Note the related posts section below does not necessarily list posts directly associated with this tragedy. The original post of this document referred to Sunday instead of Saturday when referring to the shooting on Jan. 9, and has been corrected.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. joe_m on January 11, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Government promises all to everyone except the "rich" but we know they cannot deliver on their promises.

    Is it any wonder that some will then blame the government for their failures in life?

    Many have a right to blame the government, as their policies have destroyed this economy and many have lost their jobs, their homes and their savings.

    I wish I could believe that our elected officials will get it but they won't. Expect laws requiring protection for all senators and representatives followed by the states doing the same.

    But then we keep returning them to office, so we are also to blame.

  2. Dimsdale on January 11, 2011 at 6:33 am

    The lefties that are doing this (and it is exclusively lefties) are the type that put the "jerk" in "knee jerk" liberal.  It is particularly ironic when it was found that the suspect is particularly left leaning.  The ludicrous sheriff is simply trying to cover his "assets" in view of the update Steve posted above.   They dropped the ball, and realize that the finger will be pointing at them soon.


    Maybe term limits will lower their risk of being victims of people like this…

  3. NH-Jim on January 11, 2011 at 6:39 am

    A great post, Steve

    Aside from all the points that you so brilliantly make, this "orchestrated blame" by the left-wing media (which continues even after all the proof, or lack thereof, points to no one but Loghner) is their attempt to put us conservatives and TEA Party members on the DEFENSIVE.  After having a huge change over to conservatives in November's election, the liberals are looking for any possible way to manufacture an attack on us, thus setting us back on our heels.  This is a blatant effort of the left to demonize, vilify, label, condemn anyone who speaks out for the traditional and Constitutional values of our country.


    This grief and shock of this horrible atrocity has been over shadowed by the unprofessional, journalistic malpractice of the likes of <a title="Sarah Palin Criticized Over Giffords' Presence on Target List" href="; rel="nofollow">CBS, NBC, <a title="Palin 'Crosshairs' Dominates Debate" href="; rel="nofollow">ABC, <a title="Video-Palin at Crossroads" href="; rel="nofollow">MSNBC, etc.


    I expect and demand an apology to Sarah Palin from each network and newspaper.

  4. BEA on January 11, 2011 at 6:39 am

    I saw a little bit of this story on Saturday, and hadn't watched or listened until today. My heart is heavy and I am sickened to see what this has turned into.

    Steve, I agree with what you so simply stated…"For media pundits, bloggers and politicians to take this evil act and assign blame to anyone other than the shooter and his own demons, is unacceptable."

    I know that not everyone believes in God, or even believes the same way I do…but to expand on Steve's comment, imho, I TRULY BELIEVE this…"For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

    Lord God, please save us…

  5. Lynn on January 11, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Steve, You write such incredible posts, every point is well documented. There is simply nothing to say. However, as a personal reflection, I refuse to act defensive. The murderer was terribly sick, can we find a way to deal with mentally deranged people before they act?

  6. Erik Blazynski on January 11, 2011 at 9:45 am

    You ask why they didn't do something about this guy earlier. Well Steve because you can't just lock people up for being a little nutty. Maybe someone thinks you are a little nutty and we should lock you up. You see where that goes? It's just not possible.

    This is a by-product of LIVING. People are going to kill other people, they have since the beginning of time and they will until the end of time. There is no societal adjustment necessary. The dude is nuts, he killed some people, lets all feel sad for the victims for a moment and then move on.

    Bea, that is crazy talk, there is no dark underworld. Careful Steve might deem you insane and lock you up.

  7. Erik Blazynski on January 11, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Just noticed your update.. Obviously if he is making death threats and committing a crime in doing so then they should have done something.

  8. Steve M on January 11, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Erik, I thought I made it pretty clear I was using that example as an analogy – highlighting absurdity by being absurd. I even wrote "<span style="font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana; font-size: 12px; color: #333333; line-height: 20px;">Let me be clear. I would never blame those who shared a few hours in a room more than three months ago for the actions of this nut-case on Saturday morning."</span>

  9. JollyRoger on January 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    The "No Labels" gang always knows whom to blame…  You hostage takers!

    Isn't it funny that they never blame gratuitously violent Hollywood movies?  Hollywood is obsessed with removing cigarettes because they kill people, but they love their guns, sex, and violence!

    Never let a crisis go to waste:

  10. GdavidH on January 11, 2011 at 4:23 pm


    No Labels=progressives

    OOPS, now the secret's out.

    Don't tell the liberals.

  11. djt on January 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I watched probably way too much coverage and commentary on the shooting the last couple of days; Fox news sunday, meet the press, face the nation, monday was matthews and pbs' newshour (jim lehrer) and morning joe, and honestly, I did not see any blame put on the right any more than any other possibility and certainly no effort to silence any opinion. Talk radio and the rest mentioned in the above post were part of the discussion, of course, as were blogs from the left, the Palin crosshairs, increasing violence in the culture, anti-semitism, psychotic behavior, the lack of civility in DC and countless other possible causes for this heinous act. All were discussed and explored, many panelists with many differing opinions on all shows. The discussion was, and continues to be nothing but conjecture, but to say the blame has been laid on a single ideology requires one to be quite selective in gathering the evidence to make that claim.

  12. David R on January 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    It looks like Jared has a major mental illness, possibly paranoid schizophrenia. Unfortunately people with this disorder do not always do well given the limitations of treatments, patient compliance/non-compliance with treatment and the difficulty of monitoring the condition of individuals not fully engaged in treatment. It may also be true that the seriously mentally ill are more sensitive to societal turmoil than the rest of us, For another time, we should keep open the possibility that there's something society can learn from this tragedy.


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