Taste of Their Own Medicine?
The co-founder of the Arizona Tea Party first blames victims of violence for their own shootings, now claims to be a victim himself.
Threats made at the recent ABC town forum took a turn which surprised some. The co-founder of the Arizona Tea Party, Trent Humphries was discussing how rash it would be to introduce gun control legislation immediately following the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and murders in Tucson. In the front rows were several of the victims and first responders to the shooting, including J. Eric Fuller who had been shot in the knee and back by Jared Loughner. Mr. Fuller became agitated at Mr. Humphries suggestion to delay a response, took a picture of Mr. Humphries and stated “you are dead”.
Mr. Fuller was arrested and taken for psychiatric examination. Charges against him include making a threat and disorderly conduct. Fuller had previously reported difficulty sleeping since the attack. He has also made statements laying blame for the shootings on the Tea Party’s violent rhetoric, along with others on the political right.
Since the incident at the town hall, Mr. Humphries has reported that he now fears for his own safety. Angry emails have been received giving him further cause for concern. He is worried about whether Mr. Fuller is just “the canary in the coal mine” and many others of his political opponents hold the same opinions and thoughts of harm.
The irony is clearly palpable here given the history of Tea Party connected individuals enabling exactly the kind of behavior that Mr. Humphries is worried about. Tea Party members have listed home addresses of political opponents, who later had their gas lines cut. Others have given the address of political opponent’s business offices, which had their windows smashed shortly afterward. Examples of Tea Party inspired violence make quite the long list. Now a leader in the Tea Party movement has gotten a taste of what it is like to have threats leveled.
What make this particularly poignant were the recent comments by Mr. Humphries that Gabrielle Gifford had been to blame for her own shooting. His logic ran that she should not have exposed herself at a public event if she had any concerns for her safety. Using this same logic, Mr. Humphries would have only himself to blame if the shooting victim had taken action instead of making a threat.
Mr. Humphries also claims that those shot by Jared Loughner are not the only victims; the Tea Party itself is a victim because of the “gamesmanship” use of the shootings to destroy their future electoral chances.
I thought about refraining from commenting – so instead I will ask a question. What sort of mentality compares possible losses of voters in the future, to loss of life, maiming and permanent disfigurement? OK, maybe that was more of a comment than a question.