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Leaded Rioting

Violent crime started dropping precipitously in the 90s, and has continued to drop for over twenty years. It started happening during Bill Clinton’s presidency. In 1994, he passed a crime bill that did several things including putting around 100,000 more cops on the streets by issuing $200 million in grants to local police forces to help them staff up. It also included a lot of other "tough on crime" legislation that put more people in prison for longer, but I’m not going to get into the specifics because they’re not relevant to this piece. The Clinton administration naturally took credit for the decrease in violent crime, which sounds reasonable until you realize that those crime rates started dropping in 1991 and never went up for a single year since then.  

Governors all across the country also took credit since their crack downs were clearly the reason for the decreasing violent crime rates. Rudy Guiliani, the most obnoxious of all mayoral peacocks, still claims that his harassment of people of color approach (it’s called the broken windows policing) is why crime went down in New York City during his tenure as mayor. As I stated above, violent crime started declining three years before Rudy began his racially bias policing practices so no rational person would agree with his self aggrandizing assessment of his efforts.

The Freakonomics guys had an interesting theory that Roe v Wade was responsible for the decrease in violent crime. Their thinking is that legalizing abortion meant that would-be criminals weren’t being born because the mothers who weren’t equipped to raise children had access to safe and legal abortions. There seems to be a correlation in terms of the timeline. Roe was decided in 1973, about 18 years before the crime rate started dropping. Sounds pretty good, right? Not so fast. Just like the "tough on crime" thing, it doesn’t hold up to more scrutiny. This theory doesn’t work outside of the US. The UK legalized abortion in 1968. Their crime started dropping in 1995.

That was a nice try by Freakonomics. It sounded great, and relied on more data than criminologists turn to. I generally like theories from economists more than I do, those of criminologists. They don’t suffer from the curse of being a hammer, and therefore needing to turn everything else into a nail. Also, economists found the flaw in the economists’ theory. The criminologists are still clinging to their fallacies.

Criminologists have also theorized that crack was the culprit. See, the crack epidemic had increased violent crime so much, that when the crack epidemic burned itself out, crime dropped. But after crack there was meth. And during crack and meth, there’s always been heroin so that lame theory doesn’t hold up to 20 seconds of just thinking it through without having to Google anything. They also came up with the "when times are tough, crime gets worse" explanation. The problem with that is that the late 80s were a pretty good time to find a job. The much bigger problem is that crime didn’t increase from 2008 – 2012, when times were as tough as they’d been in sixty years.

So what is it? What explains the drop in violent crime. It’s looking very much like lead is the culprit. We have another economist with a theory that seems to be holding up all around the world, in a way that hasn’t yet been countered. In 1994, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (yes, the dreaded HUD) hired an economist named Rick Nevin to help them do a cost benefit analysis on removing lead paint from old homes. There had been a mountain of research at that point, demonstrating that exposure to lead can cause a laundry list of issues like lowered IQ, hyperactivity, behavioral issues, and learning disabilities. There was also a study that linked lead exposure to juvenile delinquency. This study got Nevin thinking about whether there could be a link between lead and violent crime. Remember, this was 1994 so violent crime had been decreasing for three years at that point.

Nevin found that the highest lead exposure wasn’t coming from paint, but from leaded gasoline.

Here’s a little history on the lead in the gas. In 1921, tetra-ethyl (known as TEL or ethyl) lead was developed for GM by Thomas Midgley, who discovered that adding the lead to the gas reduced the "knocking" in engines. In February, 1923, leaded gas was first sold commercially. Four months later, the US Public Health service was made aware of the leaded gas and requested safety tests (pesky big government!). By September of the same year, workers in the DuPont TEL plant were starting to die. The scene was described as, “sickening deaths and illnesses of hundreds of TEL workers… Gripped by violent bursts of insanity, the afflicted would imagine they were being persecuted by butterflies and other winged insects before expiring, their bodies having turned black and blue.” By April 1925, a Yale study (among others) concluded that "the greatest single question [whether leaded gasoline is safe] in the field of public health which has ever faced the American public.". In May 1925, the US Public Health Service held a conference to discuss both sides of the ethyl (as usual, the sides were science vs corporate profits) issue and appoint a blue ribbon committee to conduct an independent inquiry.

What followed was a now very familiar decades long period in which more and more studies around the world were sounding alarm bells about the dangers of lead, which naturally generated industry funded "studies" to counter the broader scientific community. This was the beginning of the allegations (by DuPont and GM) of "partisan science". Stop me when this starts to sound familiar to you. People are dying in the manufacturing plants, and everyone knew it was because of the "looney gas". By the late 60s, the government was starting to lay out timelines and regulations for the phasing out of lead. Here’s a fun quote from the VP of Ethyl Corp in 1971;

“The clincher by all prophets of doom is that someone started the rumor that lead was the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire… The legend always gets fuzzy — sometimes it is caused by lead-lined aqueducts, other times it is from their wine being drunk from lead-lined flasks.”

Again, just let me know when this is starting to sound familiar to you. The victimhood, the hyperbole, the fear tactics…these are all echoed by tobacco companies, the NRA, the entirety of the energy industry. Basically any corporation who needs for science not to be so sciency. And when it gets too sciency, it’s time to cook up just enough "science" to claim that there are unanswered questions. There were no unanswered questions about tobacco. There were no unanswered questions about lead. There are no unanswered questions about why our climate is changing, and there are no unanswered questions about how to reduce gun deaths and gun crime.  

In 1972, the EPA mandated that gas stations would be required to sell unleaded gasoline to protect these new fangled "catalytic converters" that the government forced the automotive industry to develop (fucking big government, all up in our business again!) It wasn’t until 1986 that all leaded gasoline was eradicated in the US. That’s over sixty fucking years from when serious questions about lead emerged. No wonder this tactic is still being used.

Okay, back to Nevin. He’s published dozens of papers on the topic of lead and its correlation to violent crime. Here’s a link to the one paper I’m primarily using. I’m just going to give you some bite sized samples of what he’s found by sharing some of his graphs.

Robbery

 

It’s impossible to imagine a more clear correlation.

 

AggAssault   

 

 

 

Murder     

You get the idea. He demonstrated a clear correlation between lead and IQ, behavioral issues and violence. All of it correlates as clearly as the graphs above.

Guess where lead paint still exists in the US? If you guessed that it exists in poor neighborhoods, you win a cookie. Wanna know where there’s likely still a decent amount of lead paint? Yep, Baltimore. Three years ago, they paid out a $3.7 million settlement to a public housing resident who suffered lead poisoning as a child in the 80s.

Maryland’s lead poisoning prevention law didn’t kick in until 1996. Nevin found a nearly precisely twenty year correlation between the elimination of lead and the reduction in crime. In other words, if Nevin is correct and all of Maryland took care of its lead paint problem (I know, I’m being hypothetical) in 1996, we should expect to see low IQ, behavioral issues, and violent tendencies until 2016.

There is an actual physiological factor at play in poor areas of America. All of the privileged people who get to say, "violence is unacceptable under any circumstances" have no idea what they’re talking about. Of course violence is unacceptable, and I’m fairly certain that a significant number of the people committing the violence would be able to agree, had they grown up in a different neighborhood. Being poor comes with innumerable hazards that don’t come with being middle class or rich. Don’t even get me started on the asthma situation.

My response to every single "this is unacceptable" comment was that this isn’t mine to judge. If you didn’t grow up under the circumstances that residents of Ferguson or Baltimore did, then you are not qualified to judge what the appropriate level of rage would be. Lead is just one of dozens of factors involved in these situations that most people aren’t aware of. Stay in your lane. Judging people in these neighborhoods is not your lane. And making an uninformed judgment says more about you than it does about the rioters. I’m just saying that realizing that you don’t know what you don’t know would be the wise thing to do sometimes.     

   

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Michael Brown’s Private Autopsy

We finally, nine days after an unarmed boy was gunned down in Ferguson Mo, have an autopsy. Do we have an official autopsy from the ME in Ferguson? No. Nine days later, do we have a statement from officials in Ferguson regarding the manner of Michael Brown’s death? No. What we’ve gotten from Ferguson officials in the past nine days is a video of a completely unrelated crime committed by the victim. But virtually nothing regarding the actual murder of Michael Brown. To recap; Ferguson officials have given the public no information regarding Michael Brown’s death, but have instead provided us with a video that depicts malfeasance on behalf of the victim. Curious, but I will get back to this later. Now about the autopsy.  

What we finally have, is a private autopsy conducted by a medical examiner from New York, that was done at the behest of the victim’s family. That’s right. In order for a family in America to know how their son/brother/cousin/nephew died in America, the family must now pay for their own medical examiner (this one did the work pro bono, but you get my point).

What did the autopsy show? Michael Brown was shot six times; four times in the arm, and twice in the head. Here’s the actual visual from the report (I highlighted the bullet wounds in red because they were hard to see).

Autopsy1

 

This lines up with witness accounts. We only have witness accounts because nine days later, we still haven’t heard the shooter’s version of events. Does anybody think that if they killed someone in Ferguson, that the police would give them a week and a half to get a story together? Or is it standard procedure to question a suspect immediately after a crime has been committed? Okay, that waiting to get a story out there thing isn’t unique to Ferguson, but it’s still bullshit every single time a police force does it. They shouldn’t get a different standard than any other suspect in a crime.

My point here is that everything the Ferguson police department has done so far looks like a cover up and a smear job. Their only comments about Michael Brown so far, have been in reference to the (let me say it again) completely unrelated crime that he committed prior to being killed. Not a peep about the killing itself. Not a peep about the manner of death. Not a peep about why the officer felt justified in firing several bullets at Michael. They have literally given us no reason to believe that this killing was justified.

And yet, despite that fact, there are a group of people rallying on behalf of the shooter. Let me repeat; the shooter himself, has said nothing to defend his actions and yet, there are people out there who are willing to defend him. It seems to me that defending someone who hasn’t defended themselves appears to be a choice that’s separated from the situation. When we hear another account, we will weigh that. But for now, we have several witnesses and (now) an autopsy that supports those witness accounts that this was a wholly unjustified murder. And that’s all we have. Creating a narrative on the other side is just that; a creation.

Huh. What could the motivations here be? Why would a person create a defense for someone who hasn’t come forward with one of their own?

I’ll let you decide.    

 

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Safer

Readers of this blog or followers of the various places I exist on social media know that I spent several months volunteering with the Bill de Blasio campaign. I must say that last night was a good night. There was much jubilation at the victory party last night. Progressivism steam rolled both fear mongering and the tired fallacies of trickle down economics. My primary reason for jumping on the de Blasio bandwagon when he was in fourth place was really centered around his position on ending stop and frisk and firing Ray Kelly. I’m not going to rehash the reasons why ending this policy is so important to me, since I already made my case here. De Blasio’s stance on ending the practice of stop and frisk actually turned out to be the primary line of attack against him. His opponent actually put this ad out two weeks before the election;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGVDSr0-PFY[/youtube]

It was a disgusting and transparent attempt at scaring New Yorkers. Classic modern republican campaigning. It’s never about getting you to vote for something, but instead to get you to vote against something out of fear.

While canvassing for the campaign, I actually spoke to a few (mostly older) people of color who were afraid that New York would be less safe if our police force didn’t stop harassing young men of color. That was actually kind of shocking to me because I expect that if someone isn’t going to base their opinions on the facts, they would surely base their opinions on their own self interest. I want to now share some facts with you, that I shared with those people I spoke with. Yes, crime is down in New York City. Crime was on a steady downward slope for ten years before Ray Kelly ever started his racially discriminatory practices. That would be two years before Guiliani started these unproved and racist approach, referred to as "the broken window" theory. stop and frisk is part of that strategy. The idea is that if you spend your resources going after low level street crimes, you will discourage those small time criminals from becoming Jamie Dimon (or something).

Here are some more facts about crime;

From 1994 – 2010, crime started to sharply decline in many large cities in America.

During that time, New York City’s violent crime rate dropped 29%.

In that same time period, Los Angeles’ violent crime rate dropped by 59%.

In that same time period, New Orleans’ violent crime rate dropped by 49%.

In that same time period, Dallas’ violent crime rate dropped by 37%.

In that same time period, Baltimore’s violent crime rate dropped by 37%.

These statistics all came from the FBI’s uniform crime reports. I encourage you to look them up for yourself. 

None of these cities were practicing the blatant racism that is stopping and frisking young men of color. If I wanted to be as stupid and reactionary as supporters of stop and frisk, I would be proclaiming that stop and frisk slowed down the decline of crime in New York City. But since I’m not an idiot, and I understand that correlation isn’t causation, I’m not going to make that claim, although producing a republican style "you’re going to be shitting in your pants" ad around this premise might be kind of fun.

No one has ever produced any credible evidence that stop and frisk is effective. My belief in the destructiveness of this program isn’t based in a warm and fuzzy egalitarian, one world utopia. It’s based in pragmatism. So if you’re worried that on January 2nd, New York City is going to become a post apocalyptic, Thunderdome-like hellscape, you’re just wrong. And if you think that I’m just some doe eye sunny optimist, you should definitely provide me with your evidence to the contrary.

But until you do that, my pants will be devoid of the shit that irrational fear produces, and so should yours.  

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The Hunger Games, Bitchy Style

So I’ve been reading The Hunger Games trilogy (I recommend them), and over the weekend I had an idea inspired by the books.

I think that we should have our own Hunger Games. If you don’t know the central premise of the book, let me fill you in before I impart my Bitchy spin on the idea. In the books, children (they’re called “tributes”)from all across the country are picked to fight in the Hunger Games. The object of the game is to kill all of the other children, lest you be killed. The children are placed in an arena, which is crafted by the puppet masters who control the environment, create genetically modified creatures to aid in the killing, etc.

Here’s my thought on The Hunger Games we should have. I want to create an arena that looks a lot like a dark movie theater. I want to fill that arena with tear gas, and I want to put a heavily armed homicidal maniac in the arena. The tributes in my Hunger Games would be every politician who believes that the Aurora shooting could have been prevented if more people in the theater had guns. While we’re at it, I want additional tributes to be any politician that has ever gotten a passing grade from the NRA.

To be fair, I would allow all of the tributes to have one firearm of their choice,  containing a full clip of ammunition. They will not receive gas masks or night vision goggles, since seeing in the dark, through a cloud of tear gas apparently isn’t a problem.

To be extra generous, I won’t make them fight it out to the death. Everyone who is left alive after the homicidal maniac has been killed, gets to leave the theater a victor.

So what do you think? Sound like fun to you?

 

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NOT Divided

Or at least we shouldn’t be.

As I’ve been pouring through right wing and left wing media for the past few weeks, it occurs to me that something strange (stranger than usual) is happening. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to limit my observations of strangeness to the issue of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. I’m stunned by how divergent the coverage has been between the two party ideologies.

The left wing is, for the most party, crying out for justice. Let me speak for my personally; I want justice, not to be confused with wanting a guilty verdict. I want justice in the form of a trial, which looked like it wasn’t going to happen, were it not for the public demand for justice. The right wing seems to think that the public outcry is for a conviction. The right is incensed that the court of public opinion has already convicted Zimmerman.

What the fuck do you expect, right wing? George Zimmerman hasn’t presented his side of the story. After the shooting, he ran like a scared little girl, leaving everybody else to compile bits and pieces of information surrounding the circumstances of the shooting. There is no defense of George Zimmerman at this stage of the story because he hasn’t presented one.

Anyone that defends George Zimmerman at this point, does so from a purely visceral perspective. They want for him not to be a murder.  I won’t speculate as to what the motivations of Zimmerman’s supporters are because I’m trying to stick to the facts. And the fact is that George Zimmerman hasn’t given his defenders a reason to defend him, which is why they should be on my side. They should be elated that there is going to be a trial.

A trial will force Zimmerman to do what the has so far been unwilling to do voluntarily; present a defense. Why aren’t the right and left on the same side on this one? Don’t we all want for the facts to come out? Don’t his defenders want to be able to defend him based on actual facts, rather than being accused of being racist? Don’t they want tangible reasons that they can point to in order to justify the homicide of a 17 year old boy? Don’t we all want to know every single fucking detail that leads to something like this happening?

I literally can’t understand why there are “sides” to be taken here. I’m totally open to hearing Zimmerman’s side of the story when he finally presents it. If you’re on Zimmerman’s side, you shouldn’t be afraid of the facts coming out. You should be eager to be proven right. And that’s simply not going to happen without a trial. Can’t we all just fucking agree that a trial needs to happen? Are we so fractured that we can’t agree that when a teenager is shot we, as a society, must demand all the facts?

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Your Gun Will Not Make Your Penis Larger

And it won’t help you to stop a shooting in progress.

Trent Franks is the latest to join in on a tired, old, easily disprovable refrain by claiming that what America needs in order to stop gun violence is more guns. He said, “I wish there had been one more gun there that day in the hands of a responsible person, that’s all I have to say”.

Let’s review the facts.

  • For every ten US citizens there are nine guns, making the US the most heavily armed nation in the world.
  • 40 – 50% of all US households own a firearm.
  • There were 13,636 murders in America in 2009. 68% of those murders were committed using firearms.

I couldn’t find statistics on how many crimes are stopped annually by armed citizens, but I can tell you that after two hours of searching, I found a whopping six examples over the past two years. That was after combing every whackadodle pro-gun site I could find. They celebrate those six miracles in perpetuity and hold them up as examples of why America needs to be more heavily armed.

I refer to those cases as miracles because they’re so fucking rare, relative to the gun statistics above, that they may as well be immaculate conceptions. And I’m fairly certain that I now have more tangible examples of an armed citizen mitigating a gun crime than any asshat that makes that claim.

I actually found more examples of shootings being stopped by an unarmed civilian, as we saw in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.

In a state where a permit is not required to carry a concealed weapon, a 61 year old unarmed woman went after the shooter. Where were all of the gun toting tough guys? Why do they never seem to be around when you need them? This shooting happened at a fucking Safeway, so you can’t say that the place was exclusively filled with democratic pussies. Where were the John Waynes?

The heroes in this shooting were a 61 year old unarmed woman and a gay Latino. Suck on that, Trent Franks.

It always feels to me like NRA members have batshit crazy opinions about guns in America. Probably because the NRA draws batshit crazy lines in the sand. It turns out that Wayne LaPierre (head of the NRA) is a minority nutjob, representing people that aren’t so nutty.

Frank Luntz was commissioned by Mike Bloomberg to do a poll of NRA members last year. He got some fascinating results.

  • 82% of NRA members and 86% of non-NRA gun owners support prohibiting suspected terrorists from being able to buy guns.
  • 69% of NRA members and 85% of all non-NRA gun owners support background checks at gun shows.

Here’s the one where they lost me, but the numbers aren’t as bad as I would have thought them to be;

58% of all NRA members and 36% of non-NRA gun owners oppose a ban on semi-automatic weapons.

That one is a little nutty since the only use for an automatic or semi-automatic weapon, is to kill a lot of people very quickly. But the good news is that the NRA only has four million members so most gun owners in America are not NRA members and they’re not crazy.

Most Americans are for banning semi-automatic and automatic weapons. If Clinton’s ban were still in place, Loughner would not have been able to walk into Walmart and buy a clip with 33 rounds in it. He would have had to follow Sarah Palin’s advice and reload after firing off 10 shots. Does anyone besides Wayne LaPierre actually think that the ban wouldn’t have saved lives in this situation?

Sadly, I suspect that this will be another situation where most Americans overwhelmingly agree on something, but a lone asshole like Wayne LaPierre will override the will of the American people.

Someone needs to start an organization to represent non-extremist gun owners and non-gun owners alike.



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The WhackJob Whisperers

Let me start with a list:


Sarah Palin
Glenn Beck
Sharon Angle
Michelle Bachman
Rush Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Ann Coulter

Contrary to popular opinion, Sarah Palin isn’t illiterate. She’s just not fluent in English, but she’s extremely fluent in crazy. We all remember the “pals around with terrorists” and other vitriolic comments she made during the campaign. She’s gotten worse with her “reload” crap, complete with visuals of crosshairs on congressional districts (most notably, Gabrielle Gifford’s district). I’m not going to rehash and relink all of her violent rhetoric. I’m sure you’ve gotten an earful over the past few days.

I am of the opinion that words matter. And when you’re in a prominent position, you need to understand that you’re talking to a wide range of people from the sane to the batshit crazy. Sarah Palin doesn’t realize this. And what’s worse, she’s actually the whackjob whisperer. She speaks to, and resonates with crazy people in a way that few do. Not just crazies, but also the stupid. She’s the stupid and whackjob whisperer.

This gift is rooted in the fact that she’s crazy and stupid herself. This stupid bitch actually believes that God has chosen her for greatness, and she therefore doesn’t need to learn anything before she can be president. That’s why she’s not any less stupid today than she was two long years ago. Guess what Sarah, God didn’t pick you for shit. Bill Kristol used his penis as a divining rod and since you were the hottest republican woman he found, he picked you. There was divine intervention involved in elevating your status, Sarah. It just isn’t the kind you think it is. That belief that God “chose” her speaks to her crazy.

Everything else we’ve seen from her demonstrates the stupid. Her comical use of language, her ignorance that there’s a world outside of Alaska, and her general lack of knowledge about anything shows us that she’s an idiot. So when her spokespeople say (when speaking about he crosshairs map) that they “were never meant to evoke guns or violence”, I believe there’s some underlying truth there. Not that they didn’t mean to evoke violence, they obviously did, especially since the word “reload” was little Sarah’s mantra when she unveiled the map. But I think that the kernel of truth lies in the fact that Palin can’t understand that she’s inciting real violence with her language. She doesn’t get that she’s talking to a whole world of people that range from sane to batshit crazy. Am I being overly generous when I attribute her reckless behavior to stupidity more than to malice? I don’t think so. After all, this is the same stupid bitch that continues to preach “abstinence only”, despite the fact that this belief led her and her daughter into premarital pregnancy situations. This woman is utterly incapable of learning and understanding anything. And I really believe that in the rare instances where she does understand something, as she obviously did when she decided to take down the map, that knowledge will fall out of her dumbass head in short order. She will unlearn what she now knows. You can’t have lived on this planet for nearly fifty years and still be as fucking stupid as she is without having the proclivity to unlearn almost everything.

Moving onto Glenn Beck. He’s only slightly less stupid than little Sarah Barracuda. But what he lacks in stupid, he makes up for in hateful. Check out these little gems from pastor Beck:

He’s done his fair share to debase political discourse in America far beyond the point of merely being “impolite”. What kind of person listens to this bullshit every day? The kind that are so full of hate that they’re choking on it, or the kind that are just fucking crazy. Glenn Beck is among the most prolific whackjob whisperers in the world.

Here’s a little whisper from Michelle Bachman:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As84LHDmQLY[/youtube]

Nope, nothing that can be seen as incitement here!

Let’s not forget this little golden oldie from Sharon Angle:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQPBtFJzhnU[/youtube]

I can’t imagine why anyone would ever interpret this as an incitement toward violence. Can you?

I can post video for years, but you get the idea. Every time someone speaks this way, they whisper to the whackos, “Hey, come in from the cold. There’s a home for you here”. Can each individual violent act by a nutjob be directly attributed to one of these assholes? No. Can you dismiss this speech as being irrelevant each time a nutbag shoots up the place? No, that would be inane. These people tug at the heartstrings of crazy. You can’t listen Bill O’Reilly (with a viewership of of over one million people) say the phrase “Tiller the baby killer” in perpetuity and conclude that he definitively didn’t contribute to the murder of Doctor Tiller. That would be fucking crazy.

These people don’t get to walk away blameless for Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting. And these people don’t get to diffuse their responsibility by claiming that the problem is equally prevalent on both the democratic and the republican sides. Here’s a lovely little compilation of hate from the right. This nutbag shot a democratic politician. It’s not hard to tell that he’s no liberal especially since Arizona has no shortage of douchebag republican representatives. In fact, most of Arizona’s douchebag politicians are republicans. The claim that he’s a far left wing nutbag is asinine.

You wanna know who else shares the blame in this shooting? Most of the residents in the state of Arizona. You guys love it when your politicians let their freak flags fly. When an extremist (and criminal) whacko like JD Hayworth forces his opponent to turn up the crazy in order to compete in an election, it’s your fault Arizona. It’s your fault for responding favorably to the crazy. That kind of nutbaggery doesn’t fly in New York or California. Just ask Carl Paladino, who had his ass handed to him in the last election. Or ask Meg Whitman and crazy Carly Fiorina, who had to run relatively moderate campaigns just to stay in the race in California. Crazy extremism in either direction doesn’t play in some states the way it does in Arizona. When the marijuana legalization bill was on the ballot on California, there were no politicians that were willing to support it for fear of being too left wing to be viable. You guys don’t insist on a moderate range that politicians must abide by in order to have a shot at getting your vote. And when the gap between someone that should be institutionalized and someone that is viably competing for a US senate seat in your state is as narrow as it is in Arizona, it’s your fucking fault Arizonans. Don’t kid yourself into believing otherwise. When you keep electing people like Jan Brewer and Jon Kyl, and you keep pushing John McCain into the arms of crazy, and you keep promoting conceal and carry laws in fucking bars, you can’t claim that there’s nothing wrong with Arizona.

I refuse to offer any absolution to the whackjob whisperers among us. And I refuse to accept false equivocations where there are none. Left wing whackjobs exist, but they’re seldom in a position of power or influence. Sure, I can find a dozen left wing crazies posting diaries on Daily Kos but I don’t know any of their names because they’re nobodies. Keith Olbermann is the most bombastic voice on the left. But make no mistake, he doesn’t even come close to the vitriol of the whackjob whisperers.

We’re never going to make strides toward minimizing these violent occurrences if we obfuscate or dismiss the people precipitating them.

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