Posts Tagged “2011 tucson shooting”

Attention Lunatic AtheistsThe nation’s two ruling ideologies and the mass media which dutifully obey and propagate them are still trying to get a grip on the Tucson shooting a few days ago. That they would be much better served by getting a grip on themselves — rather than the shooting — seems beside the point right now. Everyone and his brother and his second cousin’s best friend’s college roommate has a theory as to why Jared Lee Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed and wounded a lot of other people. It goes without saying that most all of the resulting bullshit has had little, if anything, to do with the shooter or the shooting, and everything to do with propping up one’s own ideological stand.

As one would expect, then, it’s finally come down to folks in the Religious Right blaming the shooting on atheism. You see, it was a lack of God in Loughner’s life that forced him to shoot. This comes from a Rightist radio-guest booking service called Special Guests (WebCite cached article):

Author Ted Shoebat, the son of a former Muslim terrorist says that the biggest motive may be what wasn’t in the life of Jared Loughner — God. Shoebat has made the case repeatedly that moral equivalency is an attempt to make gray things that are black and white. “It’s actually very simple,” Shoebat says, “When God is not in your life, evil will seek to fill the void.”

I guess the millions of atheists in the US are all murderers at heart. One wonders, then, why massacres aren’t far more common than they are?

Honestly, I’d never heard of Ted Batshit Shoebat. Special Guests helps out by offering his CV:

Theodore (Ted) Shoebat is the son of Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist. At age 16, Ted released his first book In Satan’s Footsteps, which has been followed up with, For God or For Tyranny, available now. Ted grew up in the U.S., in Northern California, attending the public school system. Because of his conservative and religious upbringing, he often struggled with his teachers and fellow students. He personally witnessed Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the schools and his defense of Israel and the Jewish people made him a victim of ridicule and mockery.

At such a young age, Ted was inspired due to challenges and frustrations he faced from public schools he attended. Not only was he bombarded with criticism for his conservative and religious beliefs, but they also attempted to squelch his expression by labeling him with a psychological condition known as Asberger’s [sic] syndrome.

Note that Asperger’s syndrome is not a fictitious malady cooked up in order to wickedly persecute devout fundamentalist Christians, as Special Guests and Ted Batshit Shoebat would have you believe. It’s very real. It would have been much better to have had treatment for that problem, rather than fall into the delusion of the Christian martyr complex … but hey, there’s no accounting for irrationality among ferocious religionists, is there?

This Shoebat guy may not be an influential part of the Religious Right, but the mantra that atheists are all murders-at-heart is not new or even unusual, and many R.R. groups have leveled this accusation at non-believers, e.g. Answers in Genesis, as I blogged almost two years ago.

Oh, and, it’s nice to see this Shoebat fellow isn’t letting the fact that he doesn’t know Loughner at all, dissuade him from declaring what the killer thinks and believes. Never mind that no one in the universe has the slightest clue what’s on Loughner’s mind, either. It’s by no means certain he is truly an atheist, or something else. (It’s likely that not even Loughner understands his own thinking.)

Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.

Photo credit: Chairman Meow.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments 2 Comments »

Gov. Sarah PalinAngry that she was accused of having somehow contributed to the recent Tucson shooting, former Alaska governor and Republican (and Religious Right) starlet Sarah “Reload” Palin has gone on the attack. Rather than merely disavow any participation in the incident, she childishly and impetuously made a rather startling claim. As reported by Mediate, she released a video accusing her critics of having forged a “blood libel” against her and the rest of the vehement Right (WebCite cached article):

Every word Palin says in this video will most likely be analyzed for days. Palin treats this address with the seriousness of an actual leader and appears to do her best to unite all Americans together, no matter their political beliefs, in a recognition of “America’s Enduring Strength.” The one group left out of the celebration is Palin’s persistent nemesis, the mainstream media, as she says:

But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

What is perhaps more reprehensible than what any of her critics have said, is that she fired the “blood libel” bomb at them. You see, this term has a very singular meaning. It refers clearly and specifically to an anti-Semitic legend-motif in which Jews ritually murder Christian children as part of their profane rites. “Blood libel” stories historically were used as cudgels against Jews at various times. In other words, she’s setting herself and the rest of the Right as victims of a propaganda tool that Christians used to justify their hatred of Jews.

Real nice, there, Sarah. How marvelous of you, in the midst of your persecution complex, to appropriate the term “blood libel” to serve your own purposes.

Her gross misuse of this term hasn’t gone unnoticed, e.g. by Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast [cached], The Caucus at the New York Times [cached], CNN’s Political Ticker [cached], & The Note by ABC News [cached], and I expect it will haunt her for the next several days. Then, she will likely make quips about “the lamestream media” criticizing her for having used this phrase and claim righteous indignation that they now dare now vilifying poor little her, for her response to having already been vilified by them. In other words, even in the face of her own immaturity, she will continue to refuse to accept that she may have done anything wrong.

(No rigid ideologue ever admits fault — for anything — at any time. Each childish tantrum is fully justified; any criticism of any childish tantrum is never accepted as having any validity; and merely results in yet another childish tantrum. Immaturity is the engine of all ideology.)

As an aside, the question of Loughner’s motivations likely will never be satisfactorily answered, although the media and pundits on every side will likely continue acting as though they know what it is, definitively, and will pontificate on it forever. But I don’t see anyone asking the most salient question, which is, why such a disruptive and disturbed individual as Jared Lee Loughner — who had several run-ins with law enforcement over the last few years, and was thrown out of classes and a school — was never assessed for mental illness and put into treatment. Everyone around him (including his family) simply veered around him, avoiding him, pawning him off on the next person, and hoped never to run into him again. Once they were free of him, they were all happy. And that was it. Well, this collective decision resulted in several deaths, a lot more wounded people, and Loughner will never see the light of day again. How did this benefit anyone, including Loughner himself? He’d have been much better served if someone, along the way, had gotten him some psychiatric treatment.

Update: True to form, ideological Rightists are reflexively declaring Palin faultless. Many are pointing to Alan Dershowitz’s declaration that there is nothing wrong with her having used the phrase “blood libel” against her critics. Big Government offers his remarks [cached]. The problem here is, even if others have misused the phrase “blood libel” in the past, this does not constitute logical permission for Palin to misuse it, now. Not only that, Dershowitz has no authority — even in spite of him being a famous Jewish lawyer — to grant Palin a dispensation on this score. In fact, no one has such authority; her misuse of “blood libel” is semantically and contextually incorrect, and no one in the universe can change that. Unfortunately the Right can’t help itself … they’re pathologically incapable of admitting Palin was wrong.

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments Comments Off on Angry Sarah Palin Throws “Blood Libel” Bomb