Patterico's Pontifications


The New York Times’ Underpants Gnome Theory of the Giffords’ Shooting

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:27 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

I think my favorite metaphor for the logical disconnect in the blame-the-right rhetoric over the Giffords/Roll shootings, is the Underpants Gnome theory.  As you might recall, the Underpants Gnomes were featured in an episode of South Park where they learned that these creatures stole people’s underwear.  The Gnomes were doing it, they explained, because it was part of their business plan, which looked like this:

And here is a video explaining the joke:

(Of course mildly NSFW because of mild bad language and one of the characters dies.  Spoiler alert: it’s Kenny.)

The joke was they had no idea what step two was, so they would just gloss it over.

So Pejman Yousefzadeh explains how this logic is being applied to the Gifford/Roll shootings:

As presented by port side demagogues . . .

Phase 1: Sarah Palin publishes a map.

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Gunfire.

Really, at the end of the day, they have nothing more than this to make their case that Palin is responsible for the shootings.

And well, what could be a better illustration of this principle than the latest piece of crap editorial from the New York Times:

Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting Ms. Giffords, killing a federal judge and five other people, and wounding 13 others, appears to be mentally ill. His paranoid Internet ravings about government mind control place him well beyond usual ideological categories.

But he is very much a part of a widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance that has produced violent threats against scores of politicians and infected the political mainstream with violent imagery.

Of course if we were to characterize him, given that he is a Truther and admirer of Marx, I don’t think we can call it right wing, now can we.  And as far as fear, anger and intolerance, well, what could be a better example of all three than jumping to the conclusion that those you disagree with are inciting murder?  The New York Times is positively contributing to the “squall” they purport to denounce.

Oh, and you knew this was coming, didn’t you?

With easy and legal access to semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the parking lot, those already teetering on the edge of sanity can turn a threat into a nightmare.

Now of course Arizona isn’t generally a gun free zone, but it is worth noting that the killer was eventually tackled by four very brave Arizonans.  And good for them, but I wish they had something other than their bare hands as weapons. They might have stopped it sooner and saved a few lives, too.

Hey, but don’t let the facts get in the way of your narrative, eh, NY Times?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

17 Responses to “The New York Times’ Underpants Gnome Theory of the Giffords’ Shooting”

  1. btw, i thought i would post a comment here, because i think sometimes you guys only know if there is a post, if it shows up on the “recent commments” sidebar. :-)

    Aaron Worthing (1a6294)

  2. btw, i thought i would post a comment here, because i think sometimes you guys only know if there is a post, if it shows up on the “recent commments” sidebar. :-)

    Guilty as charged. I like the conversation. Sadly, some of the posts are difficult to digest quickly and react to, and so the conversation takes longer.

    Karl’s posts, for example. If we do get a conversation on his work, it’s the best. But it usually can’t compete with pith (even though Karl is an absolutely great blogger and I don’t mean this critically).

    Sometimes I’ll be commenting for a while, check the main page, and realize there have been quite a few posts I missed.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  3. What? You expected them to let a crisis go to waste?

    Robert C. J. Parry (f27afb)

  4. BTW, as to your second point, I’m using it as an example of why a family member should use his/her concealed carry permit by carrying. It’s a bit of a hassle to have a pistol, but it makes a big difference and I think more people should carry.

    I, sadly, have a very difficult time seeing without significant distortion, so I’m not a very good shooter (I was very good when I was 18, but I’m not 18). But able bodies men and women should seriously consider carrying pistols. That little 9 year old girl was worth whatever hassles that entails, not that I mean to blame anyone but Jared.

    Pejman boils it down very nicely. There’s absolutely no justification for the Palin bashing. It’s pathetic and evil.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. Dustin

    yeah, Pejman’s metaphor is so good i wish i had thought of it.

    myself for the best example of why you should have a gun, its hard to beat that video of that gunman at the school shooting, and that woman whacking him with her purse. She as quite courageous, if not effective, and with a gun she could probably have been effective, too.

    I will add that one of the nice things about guns is that they are a great equalizer. if you take away guns, then its all about who is stronger, whether you are talking knives or fists. But with a gun, a 16 year old girl can fend off a pervert. with a gun, a dude in a wheelchair can stop a robbery. ah, you get the idea. yes, in theory all of those people could learn how to fight in spite of their disadvantages, and maybe even win. but a gun levels the playing field considerably.

    And yes, we need to ask what could have been done differently, and not in a spirit of blame, but, of prevention.

    Aaron Worthing (1a6294)

  6. But, but, …
    Palin must be responsible, the NYT said so!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  7. I will add that one of the nice things about guns is that they are a great equalizer.

    That is so true.

    There’s nothing more feminist than a nice pistol. Guns saved many black families from the Klan. Guns are not the reason Jared murdered many people… they part of an essential human right of self defense. Evil murderers are not concerned with gun laws, and our society is full of things that can harm people. Hell, someone as dedicated as Jared could take a nail, a pipe, a few pieces of junk, and fertilizer, and make his own gun. We live in an age where the best we can do is be able to defend ourselves from evil. You can’t outlaw it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. The Sheriff of Tucson (Pima County)? He ain’t no Clint Eastwood. He’s more like a political hack from Chicago. In fact he looks and sounds like a displaced political hack from Chicago. I’ll bet I’m pretty close.

    In addition to his spouting political views while on the tax-payers’ dollar, he has refused to enforce a law he doesn’t like. How’s that for lawlessness? Naturally the rabid libruls love him.

    Fred Beloit (3f1b2d)

  9. Perhaps he’s leftover from the old Joe Bananas gang?

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  10. If I were carrying (and I do) I’d still hesitate to shoot the shooter. People might say, “Oh God, there’s another one!” and I could end up dead or imprisoned faster than the speed of light.

    Ellen (a066a6)

  11. Ellen, thankfully the woman at the Colorado Springs church awhile back did not let that stop her.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. Ellen, you’d be imprisoned? I don’t think that’s very likely.

    I also seriously doubt you’d die. Just look at this shooter. He didn’t die.

    There was an incident at a law school in Mississippi where someone ran to their car, got their gun, and shot the crazed shooter. I think in those situations people are easily able to ID themselves as the good guy.

    Just shoot the bad guy, lower your weapon, and identify yourself as there to help. “Is everyone OK?” “I’m one of the good guys!” etc.

    The risks from shooting him dead are very, very low compared with the risks to people around you by doing nothing. The bastard was shooting innocent people and killed a kid, so I think that justifies the risk to those who stand up to him. This notion of everyone shooting eachother for trying to help doesn’t seem all that realistic to me.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  13. Also, let’s think about the situation. There is a huge and obvious different between shooting into a crowd a bunch of times, aiming from kid to old man to young lady, and a person trying to specifically stop the shooter, taking cover, aiming carefully, etc.

    If you had been to at this shooting, and someone near you pulled out a gun to aim at the shooter, you would not be even slightly confused about what was going on. Granted, once the cops got there, they would treat everyone as a potential threat, and it would be important to disarm and cooperate. That’s just common sense.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  14. This notion of everyone shooting eachother for trying to help doesn’t seem all that realistic to me

    But its a favorite theme for VPC/Brady to assert to oppose shall-issue CCW laws. And it simply does not happen.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. “If I were carrying (and I do) I’d still hesitate to shoot the shooter.”

    If that’s the case…then what’s the point of packing a pistol?

    Dave Surls (335dec)

  16. no kidding, Dave.

    What possible justification will you ever have to use force.

    I don’t mean to attack Ellen for her frank fear. It’s smart to bring it up and think about it, before you wind up in a situation where you need to act.

    The only reason to have a concealed pistol is to employ deadly force if there is a sufficient need for it. It’s not for displaying to muggers, with a mean comment. It’s just for shooting them (in my opinion, you have to be 100% intending to kill if you bring the gun out at all).

    People differ on what justifies deadly force. I probably wouldn’t be able to shoot someone who was driving away in my car, or had simply spit at me or some minor assault like that. But everyone who carries ought to agree that this case justifies force. And any use of deadly force is going to be very dangerous.

    If you’re not really sure about this issue, it might be a good idea to stop carrying a gun around. If you pull a gun out and then hesitate with this issue, that’s no good.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  17. My take on a Bizarro World version of the NYT editorial….

    Charlie Foxtrot (6ad044)

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