Authorities say Fuller, a military veteran and self-described liberal, began ranting at the end of ABC’s "This Week" program with Christiane Amanpour, then took a picture of Tucson Tea Party leader Trent Humpries [photo, left] and yelled, "You’re dead."
Prior to Fuller’s outburst, Amanpour addressed issues of gun safety and mental health. Free Republic explains:
One member of the audience who identified with the tea party movement (Humpries) stood up and said debate over the shooting’s political and gun-law implications should be delayed until emotions settle down. Fuller, seated near the front in an area reserved for victims and special guests, appeared increasingly frustrated and agitated.
Joel Tranter, an audience member sitting within Fuller’s vicinity, attempted to calm Fuller. “I told him. ‘You need to be respectful. You need to calm down.’ He said, ‘What’d you do, vote for this guy?’”
Humphries, co-founder of the Tucson Tea Party, admitted that he was intimidated by Fuller’s threat, as well as by angry emails he has received from people who blame right-wing rhetoric for the January 8 shooting. He explained what preceded Fuller's outburst:
I was making the point that sometimes we’re really quick to jump on political angles and maybe we need to slow down and look at the victims first and then have a discussion about the politics a little bit later — and then he arose from his seat, took a picture of me, and then said, "You’re dead."
According to Jason Ogan, a Pima County sheriff’s spokesman, “Deputies made contact with him, attempted to remove him, and he turned around and yelled at everybody and called them all whores.”
Free Republic reports that Fuller also booed and made other comments before he was escorted out. Deputies immediately decided to submit him to a mental health evaluation. He was later arrested for disorderly conduct and threat charges. Fuller released a statement on Monday, apologizing for his "misplaced outrage": "It was not in the spirit of our allegiance and warm feelings of each other as citizens of this great country."
Likewise, Fuller’s girlfriend attempted to explain away Fuller’s behavior by asserting that he was still recovering from the shooting.
Fuller had made equally frightening remarks on Amy Goodman’s misnamed Democracy Now radio program, stating, “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target. Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled.”
Strangely, some side with Fuller. Dan Rackley of MichaelMoore.com wrote of the incident:
But Mr. Fuller, who took a bullet in the knee and the back during Loughner’s shooting rampage, is now being looked at in the same light as the man that killed half a dozen people and injured countless more. After having to sit and listen like a good boy to Mr. Humpries’ rhetorical garbage about gun control, he couldn’t take no more. By the way, anyone else notice that anyone that is against gun control never wants to have the conversation except for when it is convenient for them. You know, when they couldn’t look like a fool and be quickly embarrassed?
Anyone with five seconds of common sense could see what James Fuller was trying to do there. Trent Humpries was going on about not wanting to have stricter gun control laws and James Fuller was symbolically trying to show him that how quickly being shot under loose gun control regulations can happen to anyone.
Is Rackley giving Fuller far too much credit for formulating such a well-orchestrated plot? The mental health evaluation should clarify things a bit.
The Free Republic is not so sure:
Hopefully the mental health system in Arizona will do a better job of treating poor Mr. Fuller than they did with the schizophrenic Tucson shooter. But we have to understand that, unlike Loughner who allegedly suffers from an organic brain disorder, Fuller was driven to his rage by the rhetoric being used by Democrats and the liberal media blaming their political opponents for the shootings — in fact Fuller was emerging as one of the key proponents of that rhetoric.
Photo: Tucson Tea Party leader Trent Humpries