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Barack Obama shoots off his mouth, trivializes real violence

Senator and Democratic party presidential candidate Barack Obama apparently compared the mass murder at Virginia Tech to Don Imus’ juvenile, racially charged joke, calling Imus’ words “verbal violence.”

“There’s also another kind of violence that we’re going to have to think about. It’s not necessarily the physical violence, but the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways,” he said, and goes on to catalog other forms of “violence.”

There’s the “verbal violence” of Imus.

There’s “the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country.”

But, hopefully to state to obvious, words are not violence, and moving some jobs to another country is not violence. Making such a glib comparison is morally repugnant and foolish. Unfortunately, this sort of abuse of language is all too common on the left today.

The thing is, we don’t believe Obama believes this drivel either, or that he thought through these comparisons before making them. But which is worse – to believe such nonsense, or to cavalierly use an ongoing tragedy as a catchy line in a political speech? Either way, Barack Obama doesn’t come out looking good.

Captain’s Quarters
Townhall Blog
Michelle Malkin
Charles Krauthammer

posted by: The Editors @ 7:53 am April 18, 2007


  1. I believe this is a case of the editors of this journal expressing fake moral outrage. If the shooting under consideration had been in Iraq, this article probably wouldn’t have been written.

    Comment by Drew Tucker — April 18, 2007 @ 9:42 am April 18, 2007

  2. Look we Republicans are blowing. Our society is too violent that is the reality. Blaming Obama will not change that. We are talking too much and doing to little.
    If we are not careful we will lose the people!!!

    Comment by G — April 18, 2007 @ 9:44 am April 18, 2007

  3. The most widely accepted definition of violence—sometimes termed “intentional interpersonal injury”—is: “behavior by persons against persons that intentionally threatens, attempts, or actually inflicts physical harm” (Reiss and Roth, 1993). The closely related terms “aggression” and “antisocial behavior” are generally applied to lesser forms of violence and include, but are not limited to, behaviors that are intended to inflict psychological harm as well as physical harm.

    So yes, violence also occurs in words………..

    Comment by rickeagle — April 18, 2007 @ 10:15 am April 18, 2007

  4. Hmm…any reason you were too scared to provide a link of a transcript? Worried that your misrepresentation of Obama’s words might leave you without a leg to stand on? Worried about the fact that he’s the only viable candidate in this field, despite the desperate attempts of the right and left wings?

    Keep swinging away at Obama. Eventually you’ll make contact.

    By the way, why haven’t you pointed out that the market bombed in Iraq today was the same one McCain took a stroll down earlier this month in a futile attempt to show the “safeness” of Iraq (you know, the one with the armed security and attack helicopters)? Just curious.

    Comment by Steve — April 18, 2007 @ 10:37 am April 18, 2007

  5. I think your language is too strong and definitely reveals your partisan
    ideology in my mind. We should think about things before we write harsh
    words… Violence has many definitions, and the VT episode was the most
    eggregious, awful scene. Terrible. That is not to say there are not other
    forms of violence, if you define violence as an act that causes pain or
    suffering to another individual. If you say something that hurts someone,
    that’s violence too, it’s just not physical violence… Making someone’s
    life hell or uprooting their family, that causes pain and violence.
    If you think carefully about what he’s saying, you may disagree, fine,
    but it’s a good point that we are an aggressive, violent society in some ways,
    although we do a lot of good things too… I agree though that we have
    to take care of each other and be more unified. It’s a good message,
    not something to be bedeviled like this – go read it again…

    Comment by Tosh — April 18, 2007 @ 1:26 pm April 18, 2007

  6. This is all he said…….

    How do you know he was comparing. All he was saying is exactly what everybody has being saying. We forget about it and it becomes another story. It is like the Anthology I read during my GCSE titled Nothing’s Changed. We will talk and write it down, like catalogue.

    The policy on guns and everything. Right now America isn’t a safe place to be in. Obama will change thaif he becomes the president and also Obama is 1 point behind Clinton, 1 POINT. So he is doing something right don’t you think?

    Comment by GLO — April 18, 2007 @ 2:46 pm April 18, 2007

  7. I agree with the last comment. How do you interpret what he said as making a comparison? Violence does come in many forms. I think as a society we have become too accepting of violence in all its forms. Hammering away at Barack Obama over every utterance is starting to look ridiculous, and your column is testament to that.

    Comment by Dianne — April 18, 2007 @ 6:20 pm April 18, 2007

  8. “How do you interpret what he said as making a comparison?”

    How could you possibly not? He made a comparison, that’s just a fact. At issue is the validity of the comparison.

    “Hammering away…”

    A candidate for president should expect criticism. Especially a candidate who says very foolish things like Senator Obama said. In no sense is there any connection between the mass murder in Virginia and what Don Imus said, or losing a job – none whatsoever. But like we said before, we don’t think Senator Obama himself believes there’s any comparison.

    Comment by The Editors — April 18, 2007 @ 7:21 pm April 18, 2007

  9. do you all have a problem with someone thinking? this speech was eloquent, which perhaps is something you may be unfamiliar with after listening to president bush for so long. what he said was that the violence was part of a larger system of violence and that we americans need to reconsider the way we condone violence in our lives every day–on tv, on the radio (rap music and imus), in bloody shoot em up movies and video games, etc. he isn’t saying that hearing an expletive is the SAME as mass murder. he is, however, saying that mass murder isn’t the only problem and in fact, it’s part of a larger problem. sure, it’s what grabs the attention and hogs the headlines and it’s truly awful and horrific, but if you want to start fixing the culture that fed this monstrous behavior, then it’s appropriate to look everywhere.

    Comment by nate — April 19, 2007 @ 5:11 am April 19, 2007

  10. I WAS THERE!

    I was there in Milwaukee sitting about 8 or nine rows back smack dab in from of Senator Barack Obama.

    After expressing his condolences , he talked about the coarsening of our society; a coarsening that causes us to attack one another. Physically and Verbally. It was in this context that he spoke about the shootings, Physical Violence and Imus, Verbal Violence as symptoms of a coarsened society.

    That’s what he was talking about and I doubt that the author of this post was even at the event at all.

    I have a feeling this post will not make it because it rebuts the lies , but I will remind the author that bearing false witness against your neighbor is a sin.

    Comment by Dee Anna Roberts — April 19, 2007 @ 5:22 am April 19, 2007

  11. Republicans deserve to lose “the people”. Most of their policies and actions, especially for the last six years, have been at the expense of ordinary people. Everyone knows the litany: cronyism and corporate special interest, Katrina, Iraq, etc. ad infinitum. Obama said we have allowed violence to degrade and coursen our culture and he cited various examples and effects of this. He makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is allowing a product specifically designed to kill on the market without strictly regulating its use,its distribution, and keeping track on a yearly basis who has such a product. We have to get yearly licenses for cars and boats. Children’s toys are regulated for safety. Why should we allow any kind of weapon to be unregulated or even loosely regulated? If the second amendment to the Constitution needs changing to keep up with the modern reality of violence in our society we can and should do it, just as we outlawed slavery and gave women the right to vote. We lose ten times the number of people in this country every year to gun violence as we have lost soldiers in Iraq. Every sane and caring person in this country should be saying “Enough, already!” and vote accordingly.

    Comment by Seyla — April 19, 2007 @ 5:29 am April 19, 2007

  12. I am a member of the US Peace Corpse currently working in Namibia (southern Africa). Since I have been here I have never heard of any news of gun related death, despite the number of guns that have been in this country before its independence in 1990. +- 30 000 lives that are lost per annum in our country is simply too much.Perhaps if Obama comes on power things will change.What he said in his speech is a correct reflection of our society unfortunately, we need some social revamp.

    Comment by Kate — April 19, 2007 @ 6:52 am April 19, 2007

  13. First I was not a Obama supporter, but we need to realise that the widening between the have and have nots is creating a forum for violence. The loss of so meany jobs to other countries for the pure gain of the all mighty dollar, is causing our country to loss jobs, put their families in jeoparty and if this dosn’t cause perpetuated violence than what does. People are losing their jobs, homes, tuition is so great that most families cannot send their children to school. Mr Obama seems to understand this. We need help to make it through these times of doubt and depession, and I think that Mr Obama may be the person to do it.
    I am a new Obama supporter.
    Thank you,

    Comment by Harold Parker — April 19, 2007 @ 8:12 am April 19, 2007

  14. Clearly he was not attempting to make a direct analogy regarding the degree of different violent acts but rather drawing attention to more subtle forms of violence that we can easily be compliant with or enact in our own lives. You may disagree about what constitutes violence and where different types of violence reside, but the sentiment of reflecting upon the various forms of violence in the world after a violent tragedy seems extremely appropriate.

    Comment by Ross — April 19, 2007 @ 9:30 am April 19, 2007

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