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J. KARL MILLER: Remember victims of Tucson shooting, not pundits

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CST

Tragically, we are faced once more with a mentally disturbed individual committing the mindless targeting of Arizona U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and other innocents in a senseless act of violence. Shamefully, even before considering the pain and suffering of the survivors, the hunt for someone to blame was in full scale mode.

Disregarding that history has contributed several other murdering madmen — Texas tower shooter Charles Whitman, Sirhan Sirhan, John Wilkes Booth, James Earl Ray — the pseudo psychologists of the media and the body politic placed the blame on society in general and political incivility in particular. Much like sharks circling a blood spill, the punditry waded in with relish.

Seizing on the lack of civility in political discourse as the prime mover in the "climate of hate," selected political figures and media attempted to connect the "vitriolic rhetoric" to a phantom anti-government movement. Not surprisingly, the usual vultures of the far left — NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, The Washington Post's E. J. Dionne, NY Daily News' Michael Daly, and Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Dish — somehow connected Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and conservative Republicans to this tragedy.

Apparently, Palin's metaphors (e.g., lock and load, targeting opponents and "crosshairing" congressional districts) are tantamount to inciting violence. When one adds the "extremist rants" of Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck to the mix, the left finds a prima facie case against the right. And, who can forget Rush Limbaugh's "culpability" in the Oklahoma City bombing?

Pardon my proclivity for being blunt, but faulting "extremist" political rhetoric for triggering Jared Loughner's murderous spree is pure nonsense. Krugman's "Republican created climate of hate," Daly's "the blood of Rep Giffords is on Sarah Palin's hands" and Sullivan's linking the shooting to Palin and the Tea Party are about as reasonable as Katie Couric's speculation that the Times Square bomber might be a tea partier upset with Obamacare.

I have yet to see anyone from the left who, in bashing the right for extremist political rhetoric, even recognizes that the progressives of that ilk, to include the president, are guilty of identical tactics — dating back to the eight years of the Bush presidency. Let us face it — there is no evidence that the rhetoric of either corner ratchets up a "climate of hate" any more than the "double dog dares" of playground squabbles.

In a perfect world, we would have no Jared Loughners, no Timothy McVeighs, no Ted Kaczynskis, nor Major Hasans. In a perfect world, we would have no need for law enforcement, military, prisons or hospitals. However, since a percentage of our population includes criminals, mentally challenged and severely deranged persons — and that number multiplies along with population growth — we will be ever vulnerable to acts of mindless violence.

Our imperfect world is hardly well served by leaping to conclusions without evidence, politically inspired witch hunts, amateur psychoanalyses, and a senseless, hand wringing search for someone — anyone — to blame. The real "climate of hate" is fomented by those who shamelessly seek political gain from tragedy — the truth or the consequences arising therefrom wilfully ignored.

More civility and less invective in the arena of political rhetoric would be welcomed by most; however, who gets to decide just what speech is over the top? By overwhelming majority, the people and the elected officials can sort out the real from the claptrap of unending campaign vitriol — the electorate is far from stupid.

The government can neither legislate nor create a climate free of random violence no more than it can dictate respectful discourse — that is a personal responsibility, as are manners and courtesy. President Obama, in his address to the nation last Wednesday, hit the right notes in placing the incident in perspective eloquently and with wisdom.

Let us hope everyone was listening.

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via e-mail at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.


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Comments

Tim Dance January 19, 2011 | 12:16 a.m.

Wow, complaining about the politicization of the Tuscon shootings by politicizing the shootings. You are such a hypocrite! You should be ashamed!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 19, 2011 | 3:02 a.m.

Yo Tim, please do be showing where the Major politicized. This is actually one of his more neutral pieces in my opinion. The only thing close in my mind is the sixth paragraph.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 19, 2011 | 6:37 a.m.

@John Schultz:

It's Colonel, John, not Major. Otherwise I agree with your comments.

It was interesting watching how the major TV news networks "milked" this story for all it was worth. Why not report the facts and allow viewers to reach their own conclusions? Oh, sorry - I forgot - Americans are too stupid to take the facts and reach their own conclusions. How silly to think that we aren't all idiots. :)

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble January 19, 2011 | 9:52 a.m.

"progressives of that ilk, to include the president, are guilty of identical tactics — dating back to the eight years of the Bush presidency."

This is hogwash, a convenient (and unsubstantiated) myth that needs to be called out whenever it's uttered. It simply isn't true. Or perhaps Mr. Miller would care to cite an example of when our President put gunsights on his "enemies" map and encouraged supporters to "take out" his ideological opponents?

As to Miller's main points, he fails to acknowledge the invasive quality of the right-wing pundits he mentions. They take it upon themselves to force themselves into the middle of every issue of note, usually with intentionally inflammatory opinions designed to further their own financial gain - and are then shocked when brought to task. They crow their insulting, irresponsibly violent talk from the highest perches, then expect to be exempt from any consequences? Who else in public life would expect such royal treatment? Talk about a sense of entitlement.

Such pundits are not helpless victims (no matter how readily they shrink away and call themselves such), dragged into the center of unrelated issues by mean liberals. They put themselves there, and they earn the resulting scorn.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 19, 2011 | 10:06 a.m.

Well, Kevin, how do you feel about these comments? Are they ok?

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/media-re...

(Report Comment)
Brian Wallstin January 19, 2011 | 10:10 a.m.

"The real "climate of hate" is fomented by those who shamelessly seek political gain from tragedy — the truth or the consequences arising therefrom wilfully ignored."

Of course, he's talking about liberals, because god knows no one on the right would stoop to such a level.

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/s...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 19, 2011 | 10:20 a.m.

Ellis, thanks for the correction. I was watching a bit of Band of Brothers over the past couple days and think I had Major Dick Winters (recently passed away) on the brain, so fat-fingered the correct rank.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush January 19, 2011 | 10:53 a.m.

"Much like sharks circling a blood spill, the punditry waded in with relish."

Pot...meet kettle.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 19, 2011 | 11:13 a.m.

"By overwhelming majority, the people and the elected officials can sort out the real from the claptrap of unending campaign vitriol — the electorate is far from stupid."

With that one sentence you have just disqualified your self from any potential benefits arising from my doubts regarding the status of your credibility. Carry on.

(Report Comment)
Jim Clayton January 19, 2011 | 11:34 a.m.

The left wing lamestream media is attacking conservatives and blaming them for causing hate rhetoric that influenced Jared Loughner in the shooting in Tucson. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jared took drugs like marijuana and mushoom psychedelic drugs. I never heard conservatives doing that, but liberals I have. Jared burned American flags in his videos while playing a song that says "Let the bodies fall". I never heard of conservatives doing that, liberals do that. Jared became enraged and welled up when he heard Bush's name. I never heard conservatives doing that, but liberals I have known of do that. Jared's favorite movie was the documentary that said Bankers rule everything we do and 9/11 was the government's fault. That's liberal thinking. He worshipped skulls in his backyard. I never heard of a conservative doing that. Jared's friend said he never watched the news or listened to talk radio so how could they have influenced him? He was just a paranoid, schizophrenic nut case whose favorite books were Mein Kempf and The Communist Manifesto. I never heard of a conservative having those as their favorites.
The sheriff has admitted that he doesn't know if Loughner listened to talk radio or not it was just speculatiuon on his part. That's an awfully dangerous and inflammatory statement for a law enforcement official to make. If you google Sarah Palin /Tucson shooting you get 10,000 responses. That's how bad it is out there now. Sarah Palin wasn't first to put crosshairs over areas, democrats do that too and have always done that using bullseye targets for such. Democratic strategist Bob Beckle has admitted he was the one who originated it. Both sides have been doing this for years now.

The media is now the new McCarthyism. In the 50's it was the right pointing fingers at the left. Now it's the left pointing fingers at the right.

(Report Comment)
John Bliss January 19, 2011 | 11:35 a.m.

COLONEL, you are taking a beatting on this one from some I think have little knowledge to that of which they speak. Let me try another way, years ago, in NW Ohio, after the side-winds of tornado did swept through our town, the local TV crews came in. One of my older sisters chased them off with a broken tree limb, shouting: "Ghoughs!!" In later years, there was a song called "Dirty Laundry"...ppl like to hear of others problems! Placing blame is always fun too!

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver January 19, 2011 | 11:48 a.m.

I think that you sir are a hypocrite. When it came to the documents released by Wikileaks or the story of two local police officers engaged in an illicit affair, you posted an article against the reporting of the tawdry affair, and Wikileaks.
Your previous article states this as your litmus test as to whether it should be reported on or not.
-----------------------------------------------
"Admittedly, that is a fine line, one upon which there is disagreement and lively discourse among various media entities as well as with the public. I find the answer by asking this question: "Does the purpose served by the reporting rise to such magnitude as to outweigh the individual personal consequence or, in extreme cases, the very real danger posed by its publishing?"

-------------------------------------------
Now comes the issue of vitriolic rhetoric from the right, the attempted assassination of an elected Congresswoman who had been threatened repeatedly by those who listen to that same vitriol but in this instance you have put your precious litmus test aside, and have chosen rather to promote that the full rights to free speech apply in this instance.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/storie...

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller January 19, 2011 | 11:48 a.m.

Mr Gamble--You want an example? I am more than happy to provide. How about the President's "If they bring a knife to the fight, we'll bring a gun." I am certain that if you really put your "objective" powers into a search mode, you could find others.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 19, 2011 | 11:50 a.m.

Jim Clayton says...
"Jared took drugs like marijuana and mushoom psychedelic drugs. I never heard conservatives doing that, but liberals I have."
Could someone now please extend the credibility gap further? I will be really impressed if someone is up to the challenge.

Rule: If you are just being sarcastic it doesn't count.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 19, 2011 | 12:13 p.m.

Chip Leaver says...
"Now comes the issue of vitriolic rhetoric from the right, the attempted assassination of an elected Congresswoman who had been threatened repeatedly by those who listen to that same vitriol but in this instance you have put your precious litmus test aside, and have chosen rather to promote that the full rights to free speech apply in this instance."

I wonder if an honest opinion would be forthcoming regarding this exercise of free speech:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http...

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 19, 2011 | 12:47 p.m.

I think Chip has a point, and has made a very astute observation.

Although....

In the case of Colonel Miller, I do think that Chip could be a little more respectful to him and could have possibly worded his post a little less stronger than what he did. I think Colonel Miller deserves a certain amount of respect for the sacrifices and commitment that he has made to his community and country. I have tried to give that to him, but I may have "slipped" a time or two myself.

But at the same time, while we are discussing free speech; Chip is entitled to express himself as strongly as he sees fit.

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver January 19, 2011 | 2:24 p.m.

I don't know anything of Mr. Miller's past. All I know is what I read and he seems to twist and bend his opinions to better fit the right wing viewpoint of the moment, which of course leaves him going against his own, or supposedly his own, opinions as the changes take place.

(Report Comment)
Philip Vassallo January 19, 2011 | 2:28 p.m.

ON CNNs JOHN KING show he and guest kept on usding the Words CROSS HAIRS for future REP SEATS today I guess they didn't get the MEMO

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble January 19, 2011 | 9:58 p.m.

The problem that most people arguing that liberals are equally hateful to right-wing pundits have is that they mistake the existence of a negative comment for equivalence.

The examples mentioned above by Mr. Miller and Mr. Williams are paltry in severity and miniscule in number compared to those of their right-wing counterparts. The dust cover of a random Ann Coulter book contains more hatefulness and violence. Moreover, they are not representative of even the typical commentary of those particular people, let alone liberals in general. They do not address my point.

To answer Mr. Williams' question, I think the comments listed in the page he linked to are appalling and inexcusable, and deserve scorn and scrutiny. There is no defense to be made of them, and I make none. That includes Mr. Obama's comment, which was irresponsible and wrong. But again, the existence of those few comments doesn't undermine my point, which is the frightening *im*balance in violent rhetoric. When the reaction to pointing out pervasive hateful, irresponsible behavior boils down to, 'yeah, but other people are doing it too!', where is the responsibility? Where is the critical ability to evaluate the reality of a situation, instead of simple saying, 'everyone's doing it, so you can't blame anyone?'

So to Mr. Williams, I have offered no defense of negative rhetoric. He, through simply pointing a finger to other examples which somehow seem to let the pervasively violent rhetoric of right-wingers off the hook - challenging me to address comments from supposedly representative liberals while offering no complementary critical analysis of his own - seemingly has.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 19, 2011 | 11:18 p.m.

Kevin says, "He, through simply pointing a finger to other examples which somehow seem to let the pervasively violent rhetoric of right-wingers off the hook."
_________________________

Guess you haven't been reading my stuff. If you had, you would know that I have been equally critical of BOTH sides. My main complaint has been that no liberal here has acknowledged ANY culpability by liberals. To date, you'd think liberals were blind, deaf, rhetorical virgins.

But you DID post a criticism. Very well done....right up to the point where you screwed it all up by posting, "...which is the frightening *im*balance in violent rhetoric."

Which simply means you let the "[left] wingers off the hook". INO, you negated your own post and point.

Congratulations.

(PS: I don't "[offer] complementary critical analysis of [my] own" every time I address this topic. If you want to know where I've stood on the topic in the past, simply click my name and go through my past posts. Before you make such accusations, you should try and keep up.)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 19, 2011 | 11:26 p.m.

Yes, Kevin, the following is "paltry in severity and miniscule."
_______________________________

“Rush Limbaugh is beginning to look more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet, but we’ll be there to watch.” -- Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Morning Meeting, Oct. 13, 2009.

(PS: I don't like Rush Limbaugh, and I don't listen to him)
(PSS: Simply invert the two names, Kevin. I want to see how high you can jump.)

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver January 20, 2011 | 12:37 a.m.

The amount of noise from the left, pales in comparison to the noise from the right. Meanwhile the bodies keep stacking up with at least 18 incidents in the last two years of wing nuts violently striking out at and killing liberals, who they say are destroying the country. They want their country back and if ballots won't work, bullets will. That's not counting the shooting in Arizona.

The proof is in the numbers. How many people have shot up right leaning churches and doctors with written documentation that they did it to rid the world of conservatives and that others should do the same and "kill them where they gather", or anything even similar to that?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 20, 2011 | 1:27 a.m.

Big claims call for big facts to back them up, Chip.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 1:53 a.m.

LOL, obviously the liberals have never heard of CNN's TV show (they called it news) Crossfire, which had a rifle scope crosshairs on the letter O in their logo. That ran from 1982 to 2005. Wonder if that set off Ted Kaczynski?

As for calling it the lamestream media, I prefer to call it the DLWM....Declining Left Wing Media. All you have to do is look at the ratings and circulations to see which format is taking a beating. It's sure not the conservative media. How that's Air America thing doing for you liberals? I remember you told us in their debut how they were going to kick conservative talk radio's fanny.

Colonel Miller. You also forget to say that Loughner not only was an atheist, but he also never listened to talk radio. Shoves him further into the left's camp. I have decided I will treat the liberals with the same gentility and kindness for which they show unborn babies.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 1:57 a.m.

Chip as was shown on Nov 2nd, the noise from the right is louder because we have alot more Americans who agree with us. You libs are just angry because we have a voice, we choose to use it, and you can no longer cow us into letting your nonsense go unchallenged. Every time the liberal media is caught in an outrageous lie or exaggeration, you are exposed within minutes. And it just infuriates you no end that you can't shut us up. Better get used to it. After redistricting, the conservative voice is going to get alot louder.

As Ronald Reagan put it so eloquently....we win, you lose.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance January 20, 2011 | 7:45 a.m.

Don, I see you are parroting Rush. Loughner ain't talking and only his friends are saying he didn't listen to talk radio. Guess what, as he was becoming more mentally ill, he was seeing less of his friends. The "loner" remember? Republicans acting like they are the victims. Stop trying to bait people. In your last post, you prove the conservative dearth of civility.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 1:48 p.m.

Tim, when are you liberals going to be civil to unborn babies?

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 2:06 p.m.

Tim, using logic to reach the same conclusion isn't parroting. You should try it sometime. Are you ready to admit yet that it was liberal media that drove the shooting victim to unjustly acuse tea party members of being responsible for the shooting and actually threatening their lives with no just cause? Where's the liberal media's apology for causing these actions?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 20, 2011 | 2:28 p.m.

Don Milsop wrote:

"Tim, when are you liberals going to be civil to unborn babies?"

Aren't Libertarians often pro-choice? They'd hardly be considered liberals (in the sense that you seem to be using the label).

DK

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 3:21 p.m.

It's not a choice, it's a baby. Call it what it is. Murder of an unborn child.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 20, 2011 | 4:28 p.m.

Mark, some Libertarian as pro-choice and some are pro-life. They way we work around that issue and agree on others in the party platform is we agree the government should not be involved in the decision or funding aspect.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 4:36 p.m.

Taking a human life without due process or any right of appeal is murder. I think the govt has a role.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush January 20, 2011 | 5:19 p.m.

I'll poke this hornet's nest with a stick....
"Are you ready to admit yet that it was liberal media that drove the shooting victim to unjustly acuse tea party members of being responsible for the shooting and actually threatening their lives with no just cause?"

It may be worthwhile to actually read what your friend writes instead of using this tragedy to score political points. And please bring out the "well, the other side does it" argument. It worked so well with the marm in grammar school.

Pathetic.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 6:17 p.m.

Gregg, there is a huge difference here. What the liberals said about Loughner being causal due to conservatives was totally inaccurate. What I said about the shooting victim unjustly threatening a tea party member because of the liberal media's inaccurate statements was totally factual.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance January 20, 2011 | 6:36 p.m.

Again Loughner is not talking. How can you say that any causality is totally inaccurate. We don't know EITHER way. What is factual is that the shooting victim was responding to a question to the tea party member about gun control at a town hall meeting. The tea party person said gun control talks should be delayed until everyone was buried. Apparently he didn't like that answer. He was sent for psychiatric evaluations.

What is pathetic is that sorry conservatives will tryo to convince you that they have no culpability when it comes to their rhetoric but will try to score political points off 6 dead people, including a nine year old girl, blaming violence on a left wing media. Again pathetic. Don and the Col. have shown the dearth of civility and tact. Time to move on and stop playing the victim.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop January 20, 2011 | 6:42 p.m.

Tim, you must be having a reader comprehension program. I didn't mention anything about what Loughner said. I mentioned what the liberal media decided to invent with virtually no evidence. Based on the inaccurate and unjustified reporting of the liberal media, it made the shooting victim go off the nutty end and blame conservatives.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance January 20, 2011 | 6:48 p.m.

"Based on the inaccurate and unjustified reporting of the liberal media, it made the shooting victim go off the nutty end and blame conservatives."

What I read is that he didn't like the gun control answer. You are making the assumption that he got the idea from the media. Again conservatives are not the victims. It is you that needs to "comprehend" that.

(Report Comment)
April Swagman January 20, 2011 | 8:10 p.m.

@Don Milsop - How on earth did you bring abortion into this? Ever heard of a red herring?

But anyway.. It is pretty ridiculous what has come out of this tragedy. I think blaming the conservative media is stupid, blaming any media is stupid, really. But that happened because people were enraged and wanted to pass the blame (look into most historical tragedies to see very similar instances of blame passing on both ends of the political spectrum). I'm not saying it's excusable, but logic often goes out the window when emotions run high.

This kid was obviously troubled. And those with mental problems are often prone to being highly impressionable by conspiracy theories and such, as Loughner has been proven to be. He probably got most of his information from youtube and various internet sites. There is not much anyone could have done to stop that.

To err is human, now let's move on.

(Report Comment)
April Swagman January 20, 2011 | 8:29 p.m.

Also, to Jim Clayton:
"Jared took drugs like marijuana and mushoom psychedelic drugs. I never heard conservatives doing that.."
You obviously haven't been around a college fraternity house in a while then.
"Jared's favorite movie was the documentary that said Bankers rule everything we do and 9/11 was the government's fault. That's liberal thinking."
No, that's conspiracy thinking.
"He worshipped skulls in his backyard. I never heard of a conservative doing that."
I've never heard of any non-crazy person doing that in fact!

Liberals and conservatives don't have to be polar opposites in all facets of life. That kind of thinking is how hate is spread. There are "extremists" on each side, and those are usually the ones giving the whole group a bad name. When you're sitting next to a liberal in church or at the store, I bet you hardly even notice. You may even have one in your own home! Some conservatives do drugs, some liberals are pro-life, some conservatives think 9/11 was an inside job, some liberals voted for Sarah Palin. Let's try and focus on our similarities as humans, not our differences.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 20, 2011 | 8:53 p.m.

Amy Swagman: "To err is human, now let's move on."
-------------------------------------------------------

Are you saying Jared Loughner "ERRED"? If so, my response is that he did NOT "ERR"; he killed a few people, including a 9 year old girl!

If you are referring to errors in what people post here, then I can agree with you..

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush January 20, 2011 | 8:59 p.m.

"...there is a huge difference here. What the liberals said about Loughner being causal due to conservatives was totally inaccurate. What I said about the shooting victim unjustly threatening a tea party member because of the liberal media's inaccurate statements was totally factual."
Now let's quote your friend : "Shamefully, even before considering the pain and suffering of the survivors, the hunt for someone to blame was in full scale mode."
And then there's: "The real "climate of hate" is fomented by those who shamelessly seek political gain from tragedy — the truth or the consequences arising therefrom wilfully ignored."

What's the superlative of pitiful?

(Report Comment)
April Swagman January 20, 2011 | 9:23 p.m.

@Ricky

I was afraid people might take my comment that way. I should have moved it up before my final paragraph. I certainly do not think Loughner just made a mistake. I think what he did was absolutely terrible, and in no way excusable or justifiable. I'm totally with ya there!

I meant the comment in reference to all people (including ones on this board plus those part of the right- and left-wing media) that have been speaking out about this tragedy with little regard to fact or logic. These kinds of tragedies leave emotions running high, and people get away with saying some pretty silly things.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 20, 2011 | 10:06 p.m.

And hopefully to the people that got your name wrong the first time they posted in response to you? LOL.

Ricky Gurley

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver January 20, 2011 | 10:35 p.m.

Oh I don't know where he ever could have gotten any kind of idea to go out and shoot someone. Here's some typical Beck on Fox that sure didn't have a thing to do with it because we all know that he never ever watched television or listened to talk radio. We know too that neither did his parents or anyone he knew. He was so non political that all of the protests right in front of Mrs. Gifford's office and shout downs by the Tea Party folks had to be totally invisible to him.
http://www.toonthenews.com/beck6.html

(Report Comment)
John Bliss January 21, 2011 | 10:23 a.m.

These comments have included everything except the JFK and Lincoln killings! I wanted to THANK Mr Ricky Gurley, for noting the Colonel's service to Our country. Hey "Chip", if you would read the whole thing, the next to last line states the Colonel is a retired USMC Colonel. I have know him a few years to be a man of his word. God Bless the Corps!

(Report Comment)
Gerald Shelnutt January 21, 2011 | 12:29 p.m.

All of you keep trying to find someone to blame. We all chose to hate or not. For what ever reason this nut case decided to kill some people and is therefore the one to blame, as far as you and I know no one helped him. Key word here is KNOW, anything else is just guessing.

(Report Comment)
Juan Mendez January 21, 2011 | 1:13 p.m.

*I know no one helped him.* Sad.

(Report Comment)
Philip Vassallo January 21, 2011 | 1:50 p.m.

Look the lap dogs of the LEFT ( Main Stream Media ) Started Blaming the TEA Party, Rush, and any other Right Wingers out there with in 2 to 4 hours after the shooting . Even after the Pep Rally in AZ, they were blaming the Right. Any commenter in here says it wasn't that bad need to read between the lines .There’s trouble in Tucson — and his name is Clarence Dupnik.

(Report Comment)
Jim Wood January 21, 2011 | 3:38 p.m.

The (retired) colonel deserves no more or less respect than any other American citizen, especially considering both his bitterly partisan rhetoric in the past and the fact that he voluntarily submits his opinions for public consumption. He's a big boy and can take criticism...I hope.

If he really wanted us to respect his military service and rank, he would either drop the flashy references to his rank or quit writing these partisan columns. He mixes the military and partisan politics every time he signs a column with his former rank. It stains the impartiality and dignity of the Marine Corps to have it so casually attached to one man's personal opinions. If anyone's disrespecting the military, it's him.

(Report Comment)
Jim Wood January 21, 2011 | 3:47 p.m.

Also notice that not once in a column titled "Remember victims of Tucson shooting..." did Miller mention the victims. He sure spent a lot of time bashing pundits, the media and the president, though.

As has been said here before: "Pot, meet kettle."

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 21, 2011 | 3:56 p.m.

Actually Mr. Wood, you are wrong...

Colonel Miller decided to serve his country and place himself in harm's way for his country (that means us, as in YOU too), voluntarily and of his own volition. That calls for a little more respect than the person that did not make this choice and those sacrifices; in my opinion.

Unless you are saying that the "draft dodger" from the 60s that ran to Canada to avoid Viet Nam, and then came back to the USA and became a U.S. Citizen deserves an equal amount of respect as Colonel Miller does? Is that what you are saying Mr. Wood?

I don't care about his views, nor do I care about whether or not I disagre with him; he still gets a little more respect than the people that have not exposed theirself to the dangers that he has for his country and community. It is just the decent and appropriate thing to acknowledge. Nothing he has posted here detracts from the choice and sacrifices he has made.

Ricky Gurley,

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 21, 2011 | 4:39 p.m.

What about the Col. Sanders? We can't forget about him.

But really, I think that question would be answered on a case by case basis. If someone felt strongly enough that the war was immoral and wrong that they uprooted from the country and left behind everything that they knew, well, that is no small sacrifice. I hear things are fairly good in Canada, well, if you like this kind of weather. Personally, I hate it. Of course then we could also examine what motivated each individual who has volunteered or been inducted. How much of that was for the country and how much of that was for the individual?
So while I tend to show the slightest bit more respect for a veteran than I would otherwise I am forced to conclude that I probably shouldn't. Jim Wood makes an extremely valid point when he reminds us that the individuals opinion are that of one individual that in no way represents any collective opinion of any branch or unit of your nations defense.
But let's be fair. I think it is the paper who prints his work history in an attempt to give the readers a frame of reference. I can remember reading his letters to the editor in the Tribune and wondering who the nutbag was. He didn't include his title and rank in his signature then.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 21, 2011 | 4:52 p.m.

I think if you read any guest columnist in the Missourian, there will be a "trailer" that identifies the author and "what they do/what they have done." I don't think Mr Miller has used a "flashy reference to his rank". That was done by the Missourian to provide context, and it isn't "flashy". You will note that Mr. Miller's byline at the top with the title does not use the USMC reference.

If I'm wrong, please let us know, Missourian staff.

Perhaps it would be a good thing if we posters had something similar after our names, something who described us and/or what we do...written by the Missourian after we provide the info.

I'd like to write the one for Mr Wood.

(And folks wonder why armed forces personnel overwhelmingly vote conservative. But I do thank Mr Wood for helping to support a stereotype, which just became a bit less of a stereotype.)

(Report Comment)
Jim Wood January 21, 2011 | 5:04 p.m.

Who cares about draft dodgers and citizenship? Is that a bone of contention for you? I certainly didn't bring up draft dodgers or Vietnam.

An American is an American, from the lowliest newborn to the most-decorated war hero. If you think we should respect one man's choice to join the military, then you must also respect other people's choice to not do so.

Furthermore, you don't know what he did in the Marines. He doesn't list his achievements or battles. For all you know, he made colonel by guarding a parking lot. Not every soldier is out there "protecting our freedoms." Even the Colonel will tell you that.

Whatever he did, it apparently empowers him to speak with authority on any number of issues. It doesn't, however, protect him from open criticism.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 21, 2011 | 5:31 p.m.

Mr Wood,

You sir are ignorant....

I would not care if Colonel Miller played in the Marine Corps Band, the fact that he was in the military is enough! Perhaps you have never been in the military, and that is the cause for your ignorance? The fact that he retired from the military is enough! When one is in the military they give up certain freedoms and rights that non-military personnel have. They are on call to go defend their country with their lives at all times, ALL Marines are "combat ready". These are called sacrifices, Mr. Wood! Sacrifices that I am wondering if you ever had to make, ergo further cause for your ignorance.

Nobody is saying that you and everyone else does not have an equal right to free speech as Colonel Miller does. What I am saying is that he deserves some respect for the sacrifices that he has made. That means not calling him names, communicating with him in a "civil tone" that shows you are grateful that he was willing and did make sacrifices for you and any other American no matter how much your opinion differs from his. Thats all, it is not much to ask.

The alternative is that not only are you ignorant, but you are an ungrateful, pitiful human being that takes what he has; his freedoms and rights for granted! Now, you don't want to be that; do you?

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Jim Wood January 21, 2011 | 7:34 p.m.

I'm not ignorant, I'm a realist. Just because the guy was in the military doesn't mean he's immune to criticism. It does not give him a pass to say and do what he wants without his fellow citizens speaking out. One of the freedoms he apparently fought so honorably for was the freedom of expression. I'll think what I wish, say what I wish and respect people as I wish.

My issue isn't with the colonel himself. It's with people like you, who don't know me and don't know him, adamantly demanding that we show him more respect just because he chose to be a soldier and not an engineer or a teacher or a letter carrier. Bus drivers, garbagemen and nurses keep our country going, too. Will you get on your soapbox for them, too? Judging people by what they do (or do not do) for a living is a pitiful, petty thing to do, and you don't want to do that, do you?

And if the Missourian adds his title to the end of his columns automatically, why? I know this newspaper has a certain reputation in Missouri and I'm beginning to see that it's well-earned.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 21, 2011 | 8:07 p.m.

Mr Wood,

You would have been better off to have just plead ignorance and gotten it over with... Instead of showing everyone here you are ignorant with three paragraphs, you could have done it with just one sentence...

Again, I am not saying that Colonel Miller has any MORE of a right to free speech and free expression than anyone else. I am not saying that Mail Carrier, Teacher, Engineer, and even Garbage Man are not as good as Soldier. The fact is, ANYONE that works an honest job and supports their family by doing so deserves some respect for that alone, no matter what the job is.

But, some jobs do demand a little more respect than others. Lets not be naive here, Mr. Wood. Who do you respect the most; a Porn Star or a Police Officer? Don't forget that Porn Star is a legitimate job. Who would you be the most grateful to, the Soldier that took a bullet or committed a suicidal act to save 4,000 people including quite possibly a family member of yours, or the Baker that baked your sister a cake?

And I am not saying that what someone does for a living, no matter what it is shields them from criticism. But the fact is that some people do contribute more than others, that is just a fact. I think everyone can agree with that when they think about it a little. Let's not be naive in that regard either. Who gives more, your Lawn Care Guy that cuts your grass once a week, or the Police Officer that gets shot in the line of duty defending a citizen (quite possibly a family member of yours), or the soldier that gets "blown up" on patrol fighting for our way of life over here in the USA?

And those people that step up and take on those dangerous roles deserve a little respect. They deserve to be acknowledged. They also deserve to be communicated with in such a way that indicates that while we may disagree with them, we are thankful for the sacrifices that they have made no matter what their motives were or are. Because at the end of the day, they still made a great sacrifice or at the very least were willing to make that sacrifice knowing that it would benefit society, US; you know YOU and me; Mr. Wood?

So stop being ignorant or naive. Stop trying to justify any reason to disrespect Colonel Miller, and accept that most decent people that understand that sacrifice that Colonel Miller has made, are willing to just give him the simple decency and respect of communicating with him in a civil and polite tone.

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush January 21, 2011 | 8:30 p.m.

I'm reminded of The Honeymooners:

Ralph: Don't you forget this, Alice. I'm the King, and you're nothing. Okay? I'm the King, and you're nothing. Got it!?

Alice: So what. You're the King over nothing.

-Scene-

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 22, 2011 | 8:31 a.m.

Ricky: Just a reminder that it is entirely possible to be both a soldier AND an engineer (example: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Combat engineers are called upon as part of their responsibilities to put their lives on the line.

If you ask the Colonel I think you'll find that he and other Marines have a favorable opinion of military engineers.

(Report Comment)

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