A right-wing radio host has told his audience of millions that the tragic events in Arizona at the weekend, where six people died and 14 were wounded during a murder attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has nothing to do with guns and everything to do with metal music.
Rush Limbaugh is an outspoken extremist who supports the confrontational approach to politics of people like Sarah Palin, who was forced to remove a graphic from her website after the shootings because she’s placed gunsight targets on political enemies including Giffords.
Texan band Drowning Pool were forced to defend their song Bodies after it was revealed the murder suspect, Jared Loughner, liked the song. They pointed out the track was about the “brotherhood of the mosh pit” and the subject was “respect, not violence.”
But Limbaugh claims the right-wing pro-guns stance had no influence on the attacks, while heavy music did.
He says: “The guy listened to heavy metal, and some of that anarchist stuff. We’re dealing with an insane individual.
“It’s the liberals, not us conservatives, who glorify criminal behaviour and violent imagery. They say it’s art.”
The talk show star has been involved in a number of controversies in the past. He accused actor Michael J Fox of exaggerating the symptoms of his Parkinson’s Disease and later performed a song called Barack the Magic Negro directed at US President Obama.
Now he claims: “At no time has any conservative ever called for violence. We’ve never even subtly promoted it.” He goes on to suggest liberals are “privately thankful” for the murders, that the presiding police sheriff is a liberal, which has affected his handling of the case, and that there’s “no evidence” Loughner had been exposed to conservative propaganda.
Meanwhile, Drowning Pool have commented for a second time after their initial statement was edited. The band say: “The Washington Post ran an article on Bodies and the shootings, but instead of telling the whole story they edited what we had to say to make it seem like we were somehow responsible.
“They left out some really important facts, about us performing for the troops and us helping to pass a bill on support of our soldiers.
“We find it inappropriate to imply our song or rock music in general is to blame for this tragic event. It’s just as likely it was caused by the irresponsible and violent rhetoric used by mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post.
“Listening to Drowning Pool doesn’t make you a bad person. Misleading people does.”
Meanwhile, Loughner’s family have issued a heartbroken statement: “There are no words that can express how we feel. We don’t understand why this happened. We wish we could change it so we could make you feel better. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss.”
A neighbour reports Loughner’s mother has been in bed crying since Saturday while is father is bewildered, adding: “They taught him everything about right and wrong. They didn’t fail. We all know you can teach someone everything and have no control over how it works out.”
Congresswoman Giffords is reported to be making good progress and is off the danger list, although it’s not yet known how serious or lasting her injuries will be after being shot in the head.