Another act of mass violence, another round of finger-pointing directed at tea party members.
When ABC News issued a report Friday suggesting that the horrific shooting at a Colorado movie theater was perpetrated by a suspect with ties to the movement, the situation had a familiar feel to it, tea party leaders say.
Just as in January 2011, when the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords sparked speculation that the perpetrator was either affiliated with the tea party or influenced by its anti-government rhetoric, members were again wrongly fingered as possible culprits and forced to defend themselves against the assumption that there might be a link.
This time, tea party leaders responded angrily — and with a sense of deep frustration over the latest erroneous connection drawn between their political beliefs and gun violence.
As they see it, it’s the latest attempt to demonize the grass-roots activists, carried out by a hostile media that’s all-too-willing to believe the worst about them.
“It truly is not only ridiculous, but it’s irresponsible,” said Lu Ann Busse, a former tea party leader who is now running for a seat in the Colorado House. “Why would you even say that without the information? People need to not start making accusations, making speculation, that’s just designed to inflame people.”