In one of the most violent acts in US political history, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head today in downtown Tucson, Arizona while holding an outdoor ‘town hall’. Along with the shooting of Rep. Giffords, eighteen other people were shot and six so far have died, including a federal judge and a nine year old girl.
With the shooting, reminders are surfacing about the extreme rhetoric used by Sarah Palin on her website and on television, against Giffords, ‘targeting’ Gabrielle Giffords and other politicians, telling voters to “reload and aim” for Democrats. Accusations are already surfacing that Sarah Palin is partially responsible for Giffords’ shooting, but is that true?
Months before the shooting occurred, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), was on a ‘hit list’ published by Sarah Palin along with 19 other members of Congress. The ‘hit list’ was ostensibly a list of Democrats Sarah Palin thought should be eliminated from public office, and she went public with it. At the time, using violence to get to that end may not have been what Palin meant, and may have been nothing more than typical ‘hunting language’, but when you spew violent rhetoric in a public arena, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get a violent outcome.
At the time Palin published her ‘hit list’ and spoke about ‘reloading and aiming’ against Democrats, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said although he’d have to “give Sarah Palin a very big benefit of doubt” about trying to “incite violence”, he was worried as this type of violent rhetoric could have a negative effect. As we’ve now seen today, it has, with the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people.
In the run up to the November 2010 elections, which Gabrielle Giffords won, even her opponent Jesse Kelly used Palin’s ‘gun rhetoric’. In one of his notices about a public meeting he said, “Get On Target For Victory In November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly”.
In a televised press conference just a few minutes ago, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said those who use violent rhetoric to incite their followers are “responsible” for the violent outcome in Tucson today. He said. “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths on the radio and some on television, about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” the sheriff said. “And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
Sarah Palin is one of those “mouths”.
Meanwhile, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in serious condition at a Tucson hospital, a federal judge U.S. District Judge John Roll is dead, as is a nine year old girl and four other people. Several others are in critical condition.
The 22 year-old gunman, Jared Loughner, was captured by police but Sheriff Dupnik says they have reason to believe he may not have been acting alone, and are now in search of a second man believed to be with Loughner at the time of the shooting.
As the violent rhetoric in American society today continues from people who believe their way is the only way to run a country, Americans should stand up en masse and protest the rhetoric of people like Sarah Palin. She may not have put the gun in the gunman’s hands or pulled the trigger herself, but the rhetoric of Palin and others like her put thoughts in the gunman’s head and consequently helped put ammunition in his hands.
For that, she should be held responsible.
Arizona Rep. Giffords shot, 6 killed in rampage – Yahoo News