The Sarah Palin crosshairs map continues to inspire blame. In fact, the Sarah Palin crosshairs might be a bigger story by now than Gabrielle Giffords’ fight to stay alive. Although Giffords is still not out of danger yet, the story of her shooting has already gone beyond her. The minute people remembered that her district was targeted with gun shots on a map, it immediately went beyond the massacre. Of course, without the crosshairs, some are convinced there wouldn’t have been a massacre.
The former Alaska governor posted a map of targeted districts during the campaign last year. Giffords’ district was in her sights for a Tea Party takeover, yet she withstood the challenge to get re-elected. However, she withstood more than just a mere campaign fight.
A year ago, the imagery got the blame for Giffords’ office being vandalized. It caused Giffords to speak out against heated political rhetoric on MSNBC in a now widely circulated interview. However, out of the 20 representatives cited on the map, Giffords was one of only two to keep her seat.
All of that is enough for many on the left to blame Palin. Of course, accused shooter Jared Loughner has not shed much light, as he has reportedly been uncooperative with police. His YouTube manifestos, political statements, and beliefs have been linked to both far left and right material.
There may have been many things other than the Palin’s map that set Loughner off. Since it was posted almost a year ago, perhaps the map couldn’t have made Loughner so mad that he planned Giffords’ shooting for months. But even if Loughner said himself that the image did not inspire him, not that many may believe him by this point.
Given the circumstantial evidence against Palin’s imagery, that alone is considered enough for liberals and pundits. Even if they conceded the image itself didn’t make Loughner kill, the gun metaphors and cries against the left, health care and President Obama are believed to be enough inspiration.
While criticism and arguments over the crosshairs map have dominated headlines, the former Governor has largely stayed quiet. She offered condolences on Facebook, while her aide denied that she really had gun sights on the map. However, Palin herself will have to give a more detailed statement at some point.
To her critics, nothing less than a total apology, and a vow never to mention guns again, will do to get past this. Even that might not be enough, as it’s likely a matter of time before someone calls for her to face manslaughter charges.
The scandal is just the latest she’s had to fight off over the last two years. Yet she has stayed standing through all of them so far – however, navigating this one could be much more difficult.
Chicago Now- “The Arizona Massacre: Did Political Rhetoric Play A Role?”
Huffington Post- “Praying for Palin”