Sunday, January 09, 2011

of course not....,

WaPo | When asked by The New York Post on Saturday if his daughter had any enemies, Giffords's father, Spencer Giffords responded, "Yeah...The whole tea party."

Trent Humphries was headed to the local Safeway for some milk when he was stopped by a police barricade. It wasn't until later that he would find out that a congresswoman with whom he had often clashed politically had been shot there, along with more than a dozen others. A neighbor was among the dead.

"We were sickened," recalled Humphries, an organizer with the Tucson Tea Party. "Obviously, we do not condone violence. We've had dozens and dozens of events and we've never had violence. Whoever did this, they're not grounded in political thought. I would be very surprised if it was someone who had ever come to our meetings."

After the suspected shooter's name was released, Humphries said he checked the 4,000-person Tucson Tea Party contact list and found no one by the name of Jared Loughner.

Across Arizona, conservative and tea party activists expressed shock and dismay at the events that unfolded in the grocery store parking lot in Tucson. Though little was known about the alleged shooter Saturday afternoon, questions inevitably arose about his politics.

Some Arizona tea party activists, like Humphries, said it was unfair to connect the politics of a large and mostly peaceful movement to the actions of a single criminal. The day's events led others to question the environment fostered by some of the more confrontational members of their movement.

"You have to be very careful what you say. We live in a very polarized environment here in the United States, and while I do believe in the second amendment, no one should be referring to second amendment solutions," said Patrick Beck, president of the Mohave County Tea Party in the northern part of the state.

"I've given many speeches to my group and at different events in my area, and in doing so I'm very conscious of who's listening," he said. "When I look out at the crowd, 99 percent of the people I see are just like me -- average every day Americans who want constitutional government, fiscal responsibility, things of that nature. Every once in a while, though, I see someone -- how should I put it? -- who is getting too excited, who seems a little farther on the fringe...I realized I had to tone down my comments a little bit, less yelling and screaming and more educational."

When asked about the Palin target map, Beck said: "I don't know. It's really easy in the context of what happened this morning to look back and say, I don't know if this was such a bright idea. At the same time, there are other politicians from the other side of the political spectrum who have said similar military-style sayings. Do I really believe they are intending harm on people? No."