“3. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was one of the first prominent pundits to jump on the blame-Palin bandwagon. ‘We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was,’ blogged Krugman the afternoon of the shooting. ‘[Giffords has] been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that ‘the whole Tea Party’ was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ list.’
“So, what about political rhetoric? If Loughner had developed a psychotic condition, such rhetoric might have sounded more extreme to him than it really was, according to Jeffrey Swanson, a psychiatry professor at Duke University School of Medicine. ‘Take something you or I might find mildly threatening. For the person with impaired perception of reality, that can get exaggerated to the point of being incredibly threatening.’
“We also know that delusional patients in different cultures have different kinds of misperceptions of the world. One study, by the Tokyo Metropolitan College of Allied Medical Sciences, compared schizophrenic delusions among patients in Tokyo and Vienna and found that European patients tended toward fantasies about poisoning and odd religious ideas, while the Japanese had delusions that they were being ‘slandered,’ which the authors surmise ‘may derive from the group-oriented self in Japanese ‘shame culture.” Such studies suggest that the broader culture — which would include the political climate — could affect the content of a psychotic person’s delusions, including what or whom the person perceives as threats.
“But those who say right-wing rhetoric was the one factor tipping Loughner misunderstand the complex nature of psychosis. ‘No single variable explains violence in schizophrenia,’ write Swanson and eight colleagues in a 2006 paper published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. ‘Rather, violent behavior occurs within a social-ecological system involving a ‘whole person’ with a particular life history and state of health.’ In short, saying Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck caused Loughner’s actions is, to put it charitably, completely idiotic.”
“A new national study among 1,437 self-reported Democrats, Republicans and Independents revealed that Americans indicated that Sarah Palin was more sincere and believable after viewing her speech in response to the shootings in Tucson…
“Respondents were asked to rate Sarah Palin on a scale from 1-7 regarding likeability, believability and sincerity, with 1 representing “not at all strong in this attribute” and 7 representing “extremely strong in this attribute.”
“With the exception of likeability among Democrats, Palin’s attribute ratings increased among all parties after viewing her speech. The most notable increase was her sincerity ratings, which increased from 2.62 to 2.69 among Democrats, from 5.25 to 5.45 among Republicans and from 3.68 to 3.85 among Independents.”
“Beck visited O’Reilly for his weekly segment to talk gender bias in the political sphere, and whether Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann were subject to more vicious attacks. O’Reilly didn’t buy this argument, asking Beck if it were possible for the vitriol against him to be worse than it is now. Beck seemed to agree, modestly, that he was one of the more hated figures in political media, and gave up data on why: ‘I have 15 operating threats on me at any given time.’ Despite the violent threats, however, Beck continued to argue that ‘Americans are fair and decent, and they’re not looking for revenge or anything else,’ and encouraged public and private figures alike to take his new pledge to ‘renounce violence regardless of ideology,’ something he perceived as essential for the strength of the nation, especially in light of the recent violence.”
“Toward the end of the town hall meeting Saturday morning, one of the shooting victims, J. Eric Fuller, took exception to comments by two of the speakers: Ariz. state Rep. Terri Proud, a Dist. 26 Republican, and Tucson Tea Party spokesman Trent Humphries.
“According to sheriff’s deputies at the scene, Fuller took a photo of Humphries and said, ‘You’re Dead.’
“Deputies immediately escorted Fuller from the room.
“Pima County Sheriff’s spokesman Jason Ogan said later Saturday that Fuller has been charged with threats and intimidation and he also will be charged with disorderly conduct.”
Via Newsbusters. Click the image to watch.