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Shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and Death of Others: Violence Has No Place in a Democracy

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"Stack decided then that he couldn't trust big business and would strike out on his own, only to discover that he couldn't trust a government that cared nothing about people like him, but only about the rich and privileged. And he couldn't trust a legal system, which--in his words, in which "there are two 'interpretations' for every law, one for the very rich and one for the rest of us," a government that leaves us with "the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies [that] are murdering tens of thousands of people a year," with care rationed by wealth, not need, all in a social order in which "a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities...and when it's time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours."

Chomsky suggested that Stack was likely another individual pushed to insanity by what could be called "institutional crimes of state capitalism." He went on to consider Stack's suicide bombing of an IRS Building in a global context.

The painful reality is that the political class bears responsibility. The GOP, which uses racist, homophobic, and bigoted rhetoric in speeches to constituents, bears responsibility. They plant the seeds of violence when they, for example, condone "crazy right wing myths" like Obama aims to create a master race through population control, he's created his own version of Hitler Youth, and Obama wants to take our guns away are all able to rise to the top. The Democrats also need to hold themselves responsible, too: their spinelessness and inability to muster the courage to face hate and hysteria and speak out leads to scenarios where racism, bigotry, and vitriolic hate produce violence.

Recall that on the campaign trail in 2008, President Obama had many chances to address the death threats, hate speech, and racist attacks that were being fired at him. He did not, and in fact, chose during the third presidential debate to downplay McCain-Palin's whipping up of hate and racism on the campaign trail.

In the same debate, he also repeated a criticism of Democratic Representative John Lewis who, as Obama described, "made a statement that he was troubled with what he was hearing at some of the rallies that [Palin] was holding, in which all the Republican reports indicated were shouting, when my name came up, things like "terrorist" and "kill him," and that you're running mate didn't mention, didn't stop, didn't say "Hold on a second, that's kind of out of line."

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The Democrats, collectively, have let the GOP and its Tea Party shock troops dismiss reports by agencies like the Department of Homeland Security which have warned " law enforcement officials of a spike in homegrown "rightwing extremism" fueled in part by "antigovernment' sentiments."

That is not to say that there is a need for more authoritarianism or totalitarianism by government agencies that administer security in this country. That is not to say that there should be more suppression of dissent or a suppression of free speech. But, when agencies do their homework and discern that there is a threat, as they are tasked with doing, it should be unacceptable to Americans that a political class dismisses the value and integrity of such reports, that fundamental action is not taken.

Antigovernment individuals are out there. What does it mean to be "antigovernment"? What does it mean to have "antigovernment" sentiments? Why do people act? That answer is the most uncomfortable answer in all this. That answer provides illumination for why a 9-year-old girl is now dead. That answer must be pondered for it is the only way that we can prevent acts of domestic terror from happening in this country.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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