Two police officers were “simply having lunch” at a strip mall pizza buffet in Las Vegas when a man and a woman fatally shot them in point-blank ambush, then fled to a nearby Walmart where they killed a third person and then themselves in an apparent suicide pact, authorities said. [...] Witnesses say one of the shooters yelled, “This is a revolution” and "Tell the police the revolution has begun”. The suspects, Jerad and Amanda Miller, draped the Gadsden ("Don’t Tread On Me”) flag on the bodies of the officers. The Gadsden flag has been the symbol for the Tea Party since 2009.
(Source)

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The Tea Party and other mainstream groups on the political right are associated with anti-government rhetoric, sometimes with violent imagery or vilifying language, such as:

“Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
- Ronald Reagan

"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
- Grover Norquist

"Don’t Steal, The Government Hates Competition."
- Ron Paul

"It's time to water the tree of liberty [with the blood of patriots and tyrants]."
- Tea Party slogan [Ironically, this referring to a Thomas Jefferson quote about Shays' Rebellion, in which the 'tyrants' were the armed and ignorant rebels, not the government which later 'pacified' them: "Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." But I digress.]

Everywhere I have seen this story reported, the event has been called a "shooting", an "attack", an "ambush" or a "rampage". But this strikes me as oddly forgiving and inequitable. If this incident had taken place in somewhere like Iraq and the killers were associated with a local ideology, journalists would be calling it a terror attack by political/religious extremists.

Why are most reporters calling the Las Vegas incident a shooting and not a terror attack by right-wing Tea Party extremists? Wouldn't it be fair to call this a terror attack if the killers had been left-wing Occupy Wall Street extremists? Why do leading politicians describe the same incident with different language?

Is there a double standard that begins at the U.S. border?

Tags: attack, domestic, occupy, party, shooting, street, suicide, tea, terror, wall

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We could refer to them as right-wing Tea Party extremists, but the Tea Party would disavow them as not "real" Tea Partiers, the same way suicide bombers are not "real" muslims and abortion clinic bombers are not "real" xians.

I actually think they are the most real examples of their respective groups; they do more than simply pay lip service to the clearly outlined fundamentals of their ideologies.

We could refer to them as right-wing Tea Party extremists, but the Tea Party would disavow them as not "real" Tea Partiers, the same way suicide bombers are not "real" muslims and abortion clinic bombers are not "real" xians.

This. It's exactly what I'm talking about.

Is there ever any significant debate over what reporters call someone who guns down police or civilians, then garnishes the corpse with an ideological statement? 

No matter how many times someone correctly points out that the suicide attackers represent only a tiny fraction of Islam, they are called Islamic extremists and what they did is called a terror attack. With barely a second thought, it's reported as 'a terror attack by Islamic extremists'.

And I think this is a correct reference. The essential motive and originating point of view is Islam, the attackers have taken it to an extreme, and the attack was meant to instill terror as a means of influencing behavior in others.

But look at what anti-abortionist Christians in the United States are called (and charged with) when they gun down doctors or blow up women's health clinics. They're not called 'terror attacks by Christian extremists' despite this being exactly what they are. They're generally reported as shootings, murders and bombings, not as terror attacks motivated by Christian extremism (which is exactly what they are).

I actually think they are the most real examples of their respective groups; they do more than simply pay lip service to the clearly outlined fundamentals of their ideologies.

This is a reasonable description of extremism: a small minority within a larger group that's willing to use extreme (often violent) methods to achieve the goal.

Just call a tea party member a tea bagger.  It really upsets them.

The same applies for the "shooting" at the Sikh temple, and the "shooting" at the Jewish center in Kansas, and the fort hood "shooting". All clear acts of domestic terrorism

The same applies for the "shooting" at the Sikh temple, and the "shooting" at the Jewish center in Kansas, and the fort hood "shooting". All clear acts of domestic terrorism.

Exactly.

The Sikh temple shooting was widely reported and called "an act of terrorism" from the outset (since a white supremacist did the shooting and the victims were Sikhs). The Jewish center shootings in Kansas were committed by "a KKK leader" (in a clear implication of his political identification). The Fort Hood shooting to this day is widely called an act of terror by an Islamic extremist.

These were definitely clear acts of domestic terrorism motivated by extreme political or religious views, and they were widely and correctly called exactly that.

Irregardless of political affliation these individuals do not represent mainstream conservative America anymore than Timothy McVeigh did. I know too many members of the Tea Party who consider the actions of these particular wackos as atrocious and unnecessary. 

I think you're way off base on this one.

That's true.  "Mainstream" members of any group talk the talk.  It's the fundamentalist extremist members of the group that walk the walk.  They follow the same fundamental ideologies.  Some just take it seriously enough to take decisive action.

The violent rhetoric gets repeated and amped up until some unhinged person takes action.  Then the ones spouting the rhetoric claim no responsibility or connection.

Irregardless of political affliation these individuals do not represent mainstream conservative America anymore than Timothy McVeigh did. I know too many members of the Tea Party who consider the actions of these particular wackos as atrocious and unnecessary. 

I understand, Ed. This is the case with the Tea Party, as with the mainstream of Christians, Muslims (and even KKK members) who as a whole, don't condone these acts of violence as a mainstream view. This is why it's correct to call them extremists.

I think you're way off base on this one.

I would be off base if I meant what I think you've misunderstood me to mean. I'm not suggesting actual violence is a mainstream view in the Tea Party or on the political right. It's not (although real or implied intimidation is, mainly regarding gun rights).

I'm suggesting there is an observable double standard in how these events are viewed and portrayed, and the standard is based on how popular or unpopular the associated view is.

Why is it controversial even to suggest the recent shootings in Las Vagas were acts of terror by Tea Party (or right-wing) extremists?

When was the last time you heard anyone question the application of these terms when the same kind of violence occurs in association with other (less popular) political or religious views?

Imagine someone charged into Bank of America, gunned down the bank president while shouting 'kill the 1%', and draped an 'Occupy Wall Street' banner on his corpse. What would we call that? What would Fox "News" call it?

I think if we called it a terror attack by an Occupy extremist it would be reasonable. If you agree, we should be describing the Las Vegas shooting on the same basis, along with all the other terror attacks. If you disagree, then help me understand why.

What exactly is a politically or religiously motivated terror attack by an extremist? Why should some shootings that occur under these circumstances be described this way but not others?

Ed, I really don't think we are that far off at all.

I believe there is a really thin line between sympathy and action. Given the right circumstances I'm sure many in the Tea Party would be deliriously overjoyed to see a fascist state reign supreme in the United States.

These two scum buckets in Las Vegas were just a little too early getting on board their "revolution".

It's sad to see people actually proposing the use of armed violence against the the duly elected government of the United States. Exactly what crushing totalitarian or despotic regime are they living under? They can arm themselves legally to the teeth, spew  veiled threats against this nation and engage in all manner of hate speech and the very "gubbamint" they see as their oppressor is the one that insures them this freedom.

What's really sad  is the underlying mass paranoia that consumes the thinking of conservatives. The combination of right wing theocracy, uber-patriotism, racism is really fueled by billionaire sociopaths who as Bobby Kennedy put it," won't be happy until they have achieved a feudal society."

 

 

When an organization condones and encourages violence against innocent civilians as a mean to instill fear to achieve political objectives, those violent actions are called terrorism. The question then becomes if the Tea Party condones and encourage violence to further their political goals.

If that is indeed the case, you have a double standard; If it isn't, you don't.

It depends on what you consider to be "condoning and encouraging" violence. 

I didn't hear any Tea Party mainstreamers decry Sarah Palin's use of bullseye targets on a map as a way to indicate congressional districts that were opposition controlled.  No doubt many mainstreamers were titillated and amused by the imagery and strong talk.  But they were loud and clear after Giffords got shot, distancing themselves from Loughner and characterizing him as a random psycho.  Clearly he was psycho, but not random.

Condoning and encouraging murder is hardly an ambiguous statement. Terrorist organizations literally condone and encourage murder, which is part and parcel of what constitutes being a terror organization. 

IRA placed bombs in train stations, Al-Qadea flew planes into buildings, Shining Path assassinated people, Hamas makes suicide vests, Hezbollah fires rockets into populated areas, etc.

I hardly find it difficult to understand what a terrorist organization is, and one must have a very serious case of postmodernism if one is having a hard time to ascertain the details.

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