No one of sound mind condones what Jared Loughner did. He should be prosecuted and given a fair trial according to our rule of law. If he is competent to stand trial and the evidence is conclusive that he committed the crime, he should be tried and, if found guilty, sentenced appropriately.
So far, reports of Jared Loughner's politics have shown considerable ambiguity. The hook the Left seems to be trying to use against the Tea Party and conservative commentators is that he favors a gold-backed currency (honest money).
I have followed the Tea Party movement very closely almost since its inception, and I can say with complete confidence that neither the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin, nor Glenn Beck* have ever advocated the use of violence in pursuit of liberty. There may be a few commentators in the extreme fringes of the militia movement doing so on short-wave radio; but they have small followings, and they deserve to be condemned (but not censored) for their views.
It has been evident for several months that the Left has desperately sought to find a violent event on which to hang the liberty movement, and apparently they think they have found one here. But the truth is, the liberty movement believes strongly in the rule of law. Our principal objections to recent Administrations has been their contempt for the rule of law as embodied in the Constitution of the United States.
The Left needs to look in the mirror. Can its followers honestly say that our rhetoric is any more violent than that of Saul Alinsky or Van Jones? Or for those few who can remember history, the radical movements so beloved by the Left in the Sixties, such as the Weather Underground and the Black Panther Party?
My challenge to the Left: Use reason to attack our positions. Stop trying to run us out of the public space. If you want domestic peace, respect honest dissent.
Update 1/10: The Hill, a newspaper and blog reporting on Congress, notes that "Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress." Of equal interest is the comment below the post by Creed, reminds me that I have a short memory:
But putting cross-hairs on Pres. Bush, while he's making an address, on CNN or adding the words "s[***]er wanted" when his picture is posted on a late-night talk show is all right? Or a "documentary" on the Day the President Died (Bush, of course) That's not inflammatory rhetoric, is it?No. Only when it comes from the Right, apparently.
* Faithful readers of this space know that I have vigorously criticized both Mrs. Palin and Mr. Beck when the occasion called for it.