(h/t Heather at VideoCafe)
Susie mentioned it in her earlier post, but I think this is deserving of its own discussion. ABC News held a town hall in Arizona to address issues surrounding last weekend's tragic shooting, with members of the community, law enforcement, tea party activists and even victims and their families of the shooting. When moderator Christiane Amanpour asked a question of AZ Tea Party head Trent Humphries--the same man who said that Giffords is the one to blame for the shooting because she had the gall to meet with constituents without armed security to protect her--shooting victim James Eric Fuller allegedly pointed a camera at Humphries and said, "You're dead."
The incident occurred as Humphries criticized the applause at Wednesday’s memorial, and just before he suggested “introspection” before engaging in a “national debate” begins. Humphries also began by suggesting that health care privacy laws like HIPAA might be as culpable as gun laws in the tragedy. [..]
Humphries doesn’t appear to have heard the initial remark, but there’s a moment, later in the clip, where he turns his head at another less audible utterance from someone in the crowd.
ABC showed Fuller being arrested and escorted out of the building by police. He was later involuntarily committed for a psychiatric evaluation.
I think it's important to first and foremost say that threatening violence is unacceptable. I don't know Fuller's political ideology nor do I think it matters. Wrong is wrong is wrong, on either side of the aisle. At risk of being accused of being Dr. Frist, I have to wonder if Fuller is suffering some sort of PTSD from the shooting, but his issues may run deeper and longer than last week.
Some on the C&L team have speculated that Fuller was trying to make a larger point over the dangers of the casual use of violent rhetoric and how it charges the climate with fear and instability. In a CBS profile, he blamed Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Sharron Angle for their eliminationist rhetoric. The pointing of a camera demonstrated just how easy it is to point a gun and get off a shot before anyone else can unholster their gun in response. It's an interesting point, although it's far too early to make definitive statements on Fuller's motivation.
But the point remains: we must, must, MUST ratchet down the rhetoric. Democracy doesn't function in a climate of threats and violence.