Via Grabien, skip to 4:45 of the clip below for the key bit. I naively thought we were (mostly) done with “climate of hate” stupidity after the left went all-in on that narrative to try to explain the Gabby Giffords shooting, only to find that Jared Loughner was an incoherent delusional crank. For instance, despite the fact that Dylann Roof’s motives for perpetrating the Charleston massacre were more overtly political than Loughner’s, the aftermath of that attack focused not so much on “inflammatory rhetoric” by the left’s enemies on the right as on the Confederate battle flag specifically, more an avatar of southern culture than a sharp left/right fault line. That was also stupid, but not quite as stupid as suggesting that any angry criticism of a favored left-wing institution is an incitement to murder.
But no, we’ve learned nothing.
“It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create,” Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement released today.
Laguens singles out Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina by name, accusing them of “using this tragedy to repeat false claims about Planned Parenthood,” and says it’s not enough to denounce the tragedy without also stopping their rhetoric against the organization.
“One of the lessons of this awful tragedy is that words matter, and hateful rhetoric fuels violence,” Laguens said. “It’s not enough to denounce the tragedy without also denouncing the poisonous rhetoric that fueled it. Instead, some politicians are continuing to stoke it, which is unconscionable.”
Now here’s John Hickenlooper stammering his way through a similar point, that blogs and talk shows somehow poisoned the already troubled mind of a guy who used to live in a shack with no electricity. It’s no coincidence, writes BuzzFeed:
This week, abortion rights activists are going to use tough language and modern political tactics to make the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Friday into a political moment they say will put abortion opponents on the defensive after a year that has seen them score a number of political victories against legal and accessible abortion.
That means abortion rights supporters using the word “terrorism” to describe what happened in Colorado Springs. That means confronting pro-life Republicans and asking them about what activists call “a culture of violence” directed toward abortion providers. And that means trying to engage Democratic allies in Washington to do the same — something that prominent Democrats like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz have already done — in the hopes, particularly, of turning a byzantine Senate vote as early as this week into a political opportunity for Democrats on the abortion issue…
The word “terrorism” is important, activists told BuzzFeed News. They’re trying to make the case that anti-abortion rhetoric ties directly to abortion clinic vandalism and finally, to the Colorado shootings. “Terrorism” signals that the ideology behind the shooting was extreme in nature, activists said, and suggests a network of anti-abortion groups and advocates are helping to fuel violence.
Loretta Lynch, while not specifically addressing rhetoric, did call the Colorado Springs shootings a “crime against women” even though we’re still not sure as I write this why the lunatic shooter was inside Planned Parenthood in the first place. Anyway, the goal here, as always with “climate of hate” garbage, isn’t to neutralize actual terrorists — a real but exceptionally small threat in the abortion context — but to neutralize the real threat to the left, peaceful pro-lifers who have some political momentum. The same was true after the Giffords shooting when they tried to use Loughner as a cudgel against the tea-party movement that had just destroyed Democrats in the midterms. It’s a rhetorical version of gun control: The only way to keep innocent people safe from lunatics is to disarm everyone, starting with their guns and ultimately with their speech. (And yes, needless to say, Ben Domenech’s right about the grand irony that this anti-“violence” movement is momentarily being led by a group that does more violence to children in the womb than any other outfit in the United States.) As for why this demagoguery’s making a comeback now when it was comparatively restrained after Charleston, I think that’s easily explained: It’s a combination of abortion warriors wanting to go back on offense after months of defending themselves against those CMP sting videos and of wanting to prepare the political battle space for Hillary Clinton next year. They want to make pro-lifers suffer for humiliating them with the video expose, and they also understand that it’s never too early to rev up the “war on women” nonsense knowing that Hillary’s chances may well turn on turnout among single women in 2016. The “climate of hate” bleating is always only a means to an end. Identify which ends are most important at a given time and you can usually predict when a particular crime will become a political football.