Tucson Tea Party: We're Victims, Too
Activist says opponents are manipulating tragedy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2011 5:20 AM CST
Flags placed by Tea Party activists hang on the Arizona-Mexico border wall.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

(Newser) – The co-founder of Tucson's Tea Party says the movement is another innocent victim of Saturday's shootings. Trent Humphries—whose local sheriff has publicly blamed vitriolic talk radio and Tea Party activists in part for the incident—says he has been receiving hate mail blaming him directly for the deaths. The activist, whose neighbor was killed in the shootings, says he believe the incident is being exploited by political opponents seeking to silence the movement.

"A lot have taken as gospel that the sheriff says that this was caused by talk radio, by Tea Party extremists, that that must be the case. I think it's done a lot of damage," Humphries tells the Guardian. "The Democrats are using this opportunity to bludgeon their opponents. People don't want to hear that it was just some stupid, evil act that had no bearing in rationality. They want it to make sense."