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It’s just a surveyor symbol?

© RR Anderson

I had to think about it before I posted this comic, because I could be accused of doing the same thing people like Sarah Palin are doing. But that’s the whole point. It has to stop. Violent, eliminationist rhetoric has to stop, no matter which side it comes from. We don’t have to be polite, we just have to stop feeding the crazies.



  1. Not exactly. Merely not feeding the trolls won’t do any good: the trolls will just continue trolling, assuming that silence means consent, or cowardice.

    It doesn’t mean that, but the trolls don’t need to care if they manage to control the rhetoric.

    Also, shaming the trolls isn’t working: that’s something of what Obama has been trying to do… following in MLK’s footsteps. But it’s not working.

    Shame isn’t silencing the trolls, for they see themselves as still being taken seriously. So, it’s time to laugh at them, satirize them, make merry mockery of them.

    Laugh. Long. Loud. Heartily. Fearlessly. Laugh.

    Reclaim the discourse, reclaim the rhetoric. And do it through laughter.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    NewsMax Headline on those e-mails I don’t open and can’t get stopped “Sarah Palin blamed for Gifford Attack”, and I’m old enough to say “Duh,”

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
  3. No u wrote:

    Oh no! If Sarah gets shot…people might start attacking political cartoons D: and after that…maybe real cartoons D:

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Always wanting to look at all sides of an issue, here’s another take on the situation from the MSNBC site:

    A radio talk show host and former Dem politician in my area, who is moderate, said its common for both parties and absolutely was used by Dems during national campaign planning meetingd during the Bush years. For example, the term “campaign” is straight out of military lingo.

    So I fully agree with IK, that both sides just need to take a look at alternative ways to express themselves.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  5. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I have yet to see the same kind of rhetoric being spewed by the left. Even going to the obvious extreme sites (mediamatters, huffpo?, fox nation, etc.) and reading the comments you will see a great difference in the discourse.

    The slate author seems to be making a rather convoluted point. That is, free speech is a great thing. Often the largest examples of free speech are at the limits of what we consider acceptable, therefore using speech which is at the limits of what we consider acceptable is a really great thing.

    Similarly, I could make the stupid argument that it would be really great to walk around swearing at the top of your lungs. Especially around day cares. It would be really great if tons of children heard you screaming curse words, because that is really some free speech right there.

    There is nothing great about swearing constantly around people who don’t like it, and there is nothing great about using violent rhetoric to score political points and/or drive political movements.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    1032 – I agree that currently the greatest amount of vitrioloic rhetoric is coming from media personalities on the right. But, I can’t dismiss that during Bush’s years there were protesters and marchers carrying pics of Bush with a bullet hole in his head and anti-war folks saying “we support our troops when they shoot their officers”.
    What I see as a difference is from who the rhetoric is coming from currently. I guess the minority party seems to use the tactic while the majority does not feel the need. We’ll see how things go this next 2 years. Like you, I’d just like them all to stop .

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    Ironic that another Brady brought up the impossible bill today. John Hinckley, Jr. shot Reagan which led to the Brady bill. Although they found him mentally ill, no one has found that it was politically inspired.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
  8. Guy wrote:

    It’s a damn shame that some loony toon had to go and resort to violence. As if that is going to solve anything. My heart goes out to the Giffords family, the green family and all the families of all the rest of the people that got shot.

    To take a tragedy like this and make it political is kind of childish. There are crazy people everywhere, maybe the next crazy person to do something like this will be inspired by Olbermann or Maddow. Or Frances Fox Piven. To say that Beck or Limbaugh is to blame for this act is beyond ludicrous, I’ve never even heard them call for violence. Nor can we blame atheists, communists or George W Bush haters (All of which Loughner was). The only person we can blame was Loughner.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
  9. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    I haven’t researched every item in this list, but if these events hold up to scrutiny, they would certainly silence the argument that the heated rhetoric from the right isn’t responsible for “lunatic fringe” shootings. I would be interested in hearing more.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
  10. Jason Ray wrote:

    Those of us that went to the Rally to Restore Sanity were there specifically to protest the vitriolic rhetoric of the current media and political parties. When anything happens (including Loughner) the first thing almost everyone in the media does is reach for the blame-throwers and set them to “bake”.

    @Patricia thanks for the CSGV link. There is no question that the trend of “insurrectionism” is coming completely from the right wing. Even when people on the left use violent images and rhetoric (and some were certainly were doing that during W’s reign) they tend to focus on individuals rather than calling for a Civil War.

    One point – I am a lifetime member of the NRA and a strong supporter of the individual right to keep and bear arms. That said, people like Loughner are not SUPPOSED to be able to buy and own guns (it is against the law in every state and at the federal level to sell weapons or ammunition to the mentally ill) and we really need the full instant check system to help prevent it. Unfortunately there are some on the left that fight that, thinking that it will only make guns easier to get, when they should realize that amny steps we can take to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill is a Good Thing.

    We don’t know the facts yet aboutr what happened in Arizona but it’s likely that his actions are not part of a vast right wing conspiracy, just one crazy guy who managed to get a gun. That doesn’t mean we should ignore the insurrectionst narrative – it just means that sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar 🙂

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
  11. Iron Knee wrote:

    I should make it clear. When I say the violent rhetoric has to stop, I’m not promoting the idea of making it illegal. The only people who have the power to stop the violent rhetoric is us, but not responding to it. By not voting for people who use it, and by letting them know that we won’t stand for it.

    Patricia, that CSVG article was an eye opener!

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink
  12. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Patriot: “What I see as a difference is from who the rhetoric is coming from currently.”

    I agree with you, but probably not in the way you meant. The difference I see in who it is coming from is the fringe elements of the parties vs the main political and media figures of the parties.

    I always expect the fringe to do and say oddball things. My issue right now is that the fringe of the right is bleeding into the mainstream and there seems to be no sign of abatement.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink
  13. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I wonder how the slate author feels about Westboro Baptist Church that is going to picket the funeral of the 9 year old that was shot. He must feel like they are paragons of free speech and therefore fantastic.

    He must also feel like the people who are planning on doing everything they can to stop the WBC from being seen or heard at the event are terrible people who want to crush our free speech and eliminate our liberty.

    I would be sincerely interested to get his take on this matter, because I have little doubt that his response to it would be in direct contradiction to the themes and tones that he expressed in his article.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    I thought this was funny/ironic:

    So Palin & crew are feeling unjustly blamed for the actions of an extremist. Maybe they can ask Muslims for advice on how to deal w/ that.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink
  15. PatriotSGT wrote:

    1032 – I’d wonder the same thing. WBC is the worst of the worst in vitriol and hate.
    LOL @ IK.

    On the Palin thing as I’ve watched this matter unfold and develop a thought crossed my mind concerning decency:

    If she thought it was the decent thing to take her targets off her FB page,…….why now? Things that make me go Hmmm.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink