The Giffords’ shooting isn’t Sarah Palin’s fault—it’s ours. And, Sarah Palin’s.

Via elephant journal
on Jan 8, 2011
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Already, a moment of Americans coming together has turned into a shouting match: “Who’s at fault?!,” we all cry. And we all have our own ideas. But one thing is certain…

An American culture of anger and partisanship, fomented by various leaders, isn’t good for this country.

Already, many Tea Partiers and others are decrying the liberal (actually, corporate-owned) media and anyone who would point out a connection between Sarah Palin and others’ militant rhetoric and such a tragic, senseless shooting.

On the one hand, they’re absolutely right (no pun intended): Governor Palin and Tea Party activists and pundits are not crazy nor blood thirsty. Their rhetoric is just that: rhetoric.

On the other hand, it is fair to draw a connection between angry incitements to action and…action. Her twitter feed, facebook page and, yeah, that map—which Congresswoman Gifford had decried months before—foment a culture not of bipartisanship and communication but of pre-judgment and anger.

In any case, now is not a time to point fingers—except at ourselves. We all need to tone it down—breathe—take a step back, and figure out how to take many more steps forward, together.


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16 Responses to “The Giffords’ shooting isn’t Sarah Palin’s fault—it’s ours. And, Sarah Palin’s.”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Convo on my FB page that inspired this:

    Kevin: I'm no fan of Palin, but this is a ridiculous charge, supported by zero evidence. The slimy media machine of the left can't even wait for the blood to dry before attempting to capitalize on tragedy. Have you all gone insane? Disgusting.

    Waylon Lewis
    By media machine you mean anyone who's looked at Gov. Palin's web site? That image has been up for awhile: Congresswoman Giffords talked about it here:
    Are you seriously defending Gov.Palin's "crosshairs"? There's a link in the above article to an event staged by Congresswoman Giffords' opponent that uses similar language.See More

    Don't get me wrong, the imagery was stupid, but mostly because it creates an opportunity for this type of political fallout. I think we all can agree that Palin's not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    However, there isn't a shred of evidence connecting the two. Have you watched his videos? They're the product of insanity. The much more likely cause is that this guy was on medication (or off his medication).

    The irony is that this rabid political environment that the NY Times claims to be concerned with also happens to be exactly how it's behaving at present. And half the country is so caught up in their falsely constructed partisanship that they don't have the good sense to question it. Again, disgusting.

    Anthony: Anyone who thinks that there aren't people insane enough to take an insane person's idea of someone as a "target" seriously enough to shoot them is insane (and should go back on their medication).

    Molly: Exactly – no one is saying Sarah Palin wanted to kill Gabby, but the "crosshairs" mentality can seep into an insane person's mind and become real.

    Kevin: ‎@Anthony – Hmmm … so it's bad for Palin to use a graphic, but good for the NY Times to accuse her of inciting mass murder? Which act is more likely to inspire someone to hurt someone?

    Kevin: Ugh … Do you really think that this is the only incidence of graphic design with crosshairs? Take a step back and look at just what type of accusations you're making and just how much evidence you have for those. I mean, I'm not saying that you personally caused this mass murder, but partisan B.S. could have been what inspired him. And you seem to a proponent of partisan B.S. So maybe you're at fault?

    Anthony: I'm saying that I wouldn't be surprised if there was a relationship between the two. Also, being a public figure with the image of another human being shot, and then that person being shot is worse than an article suggesting the two are connected.

    Liz: Sounds to me like you're trying to foment the division between us ("us' meaning American citizens). This kind of article at a time like this does not help. It seems the author is stretching for relevance where none exists. We do NOT know the motives of the gunman. This is knee-jerk journalism.

    Waylon Lewis Aunty, pretty safe to say (if you've watched the second video on the link above) that there is a culture of hatred and anger that has been fomented by various leaders.

    Anthony: ‎@Waylon Don't talk about that. Don't write about it. It will just make it worse. Everything's cool. There's not a shred of evidence that it's full of anger. Anger and hate don't lead to violence – that's just knee jerk talk.

    Danika Carter Apparently Sarah Palin has deleted this from her twitter stream.
    And apparently she's scrubbing her stream of all the inflammatory comments she's made recently. Even she sees the connection between what she says and what happened.

    This is from the NY Times:
    “As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,” the former classmate, Caitie Parker, wrote in a series of Twitter feeds Saturday. “I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He b…ecame very reclusive.”

    “He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in ’07, asked her a question & he told me she was ‘stupid & unintelligent,’ ” she wrote.
    Waylon Lewis Liz, I've just listened to a report that he was sympathetic with Tea Party values and such.

    Liz: That's ick. Way, we're going to hear all kinds of things in the next few days. Let's just wait and see….

    Waylon Lewis Yah, Aunty, he also listed Mein Kampf as an inspiration. Along with Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. This from CNN. In any case, he's a nut, and who gives a shiite what he thinks about what. Whatever any of us think, we don't have to be violent about it. That's where he crossed the line, obviously. It just would help if allll of us on all sides or from all ideologies would not lapse into warlike rhetoric, but remember we're all Americans in this together. It's heartbreaking.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Waylon Lewis, Waylon Lewis and others. Waylon Lewis said: The Giffords' shooting isn't Sarah Palin's fault—it's ours. […]

  3. Bud Wilson says:

    Years ago when UThant was Secretary General of the U.N. he was asked about the growing concerns in the U.S. about hand gun violence. He wisely observed that we were fascinated by our own violent behavior, intrigued and obsessed with measuring violence and counting the number of people senselessly killed. He went on to state that we are living in a culture with the most violent language of any culture in the history of the world and we failed to realize that violence begins in the human mind and can end there. Of course, managing the mind can only happen when individuals exercise conscious awareness. Here is UThant's belief: First a violent thought arises, then it is expressed through language and the third step is senseless violent acts! Crimes of passion represent a whole 'nother ball game. It's stunning that people are defending vitriolic rhetoric, as if it demonstrates appropriate political expressions of passion. As Chuck Todd said back in March, "hey this is America, that's the way we behave, we've used hateful rhetoric for years" … Well, another "heated" debate will surely be raging for weeks and then the NRA will send their lobbyists to visit all the Freshman in Congress. – sorry to be a bit cynical – it's late and I'm disgusted too. Power to the Peaceful.

  4. I don't think Palin is "responsible" any more than any of us are for this act. What she is responsible for is the on going violence rhetoric that she employs. I realize that a segment of the population is "reached" by this rhetoric, just as yoga reaches those of us that read this site. I would hope that perhaps this incident will cause a pause for those who do use this way of reaching people and change it. Politics begets competition which is fine. That competition shouldn't, nor does it need to include physical violence.

  5. michele hausman says:

    I don't think we can ever underestimate the power of words. Words can bring a nation to war, or encourage us to move to peace. What is it the Buddha said…watch your thoughts because they can become words which then can become actions. The level of vitrol especially from the tea partiers is creating an us vs. them mentality which will only worsen if the political environment continues as it has been.

  6. […] the power of speech in influencing our culture. And while there’s certainly plenty of angry pundits and politicians out there, the path to “enlightened society” probably begins with the speech of each […]

  7. alpinelily says:

    Of course Palin isn’t” directly at fault” BUT she and others who use the tactic of creating a site that LITERALLY places a target on SPECIFIC individuals should acknowlege that they are perpetuating the notion that actions such as yesterdays are acceptable! As far as I can see there is only one way to interpret the meaning of language such as” lock and load”!

  8. alpinelily says:

    The courts have recently prosecuted middle and high schoolers for words they used towards fellow students who have committed suicide after bullying….do we not hold grown adults who should know better to the same standards when they use language that encourages actions that could lead to incidents such as these? Just like people want to claim that Palin never intended her words to create these consequence Im sure the kids who have been punished never intended their words to cause harm.

  9. […] need to run from their actions. But we can’t let them do so—not because we are innocent—which we aren’t—but rather because, as the books say, if we don’t learn from history, we’re doomed to […]

  10. Tony says:

    I see. Hateful rhetoric against Palin and Tea Parties and the GOP is ok. Where was the outrage when target maps against the gop were published? When Kos targeted Giffords in a recent post?

    Where is the proof that the kid even looked at Sarah Palins map or was a tea partier? The CNN website surely doesn't mention anything, despite comments supposed mentioned on air. Some of his favorite books were Mien Kauf and the Communist Manifesto – and he liked burning flags. Ummm, not really tea partier material there. Let's ignore the facts that friends have said he's a liberal and that he's been obsessed with Giffords since 2007 (long before Palin ever published a map) – it's much more important to try and score political points againt Palin.

    Some of you should really be ashamed, but I doubt you will be. Try to take a breath and let go of all the venom you've got against the Palins and people who disagree with you. Don't attach to the results of some stupid blame game or politics. Be the best person you can be. Be present, show compassion for the fallen, their family, their friends, and the poor parents of the gunman.

  11. BoulderBabe says:

    Tony, the fact that you are trying to turn this into a democrat vs. republican issue shows you just don't get what the real problem is here. And that you didn't even read most of the comments people are posting.

    Also, please provide some evidence of this "map" with GOP targets that you mention- you are the first person in the last few days who has even mentioned something like that and I am unable to find anything on it in the newspapers, internet or any other news source. Let's stick to the facts ok?

  12. […] on the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and others here, here, here, here. Things to do about it here. From the NY […]

  13. Eric says:

    it is what it is. America is a civilized, peaceful nation that abides by the rule of law.

    Arizonans approved a conceal-carry law that does NOT require a permit. Loughner was within his legal rights–until the moment he pulled the trigger.

    Sarah Palin, corporate media–citizens all–they have the legal right to self-expression.

    incivility: it's everywhere, not just the media. a growing trend toward complete lack of respect and tolerance. but that's not against any law.

    ::whatever we think America is, that concept must also include our ugly shadow side::
    so the title is right: it's OUR fault.

  14. tamingauthor says:

    Did you find the same graphic on the DailyKoz to be objectionable? Why did you not mention it?

  15. tamingauthor says:

    BoulderBabe, check the story on the DailyKoz. They "targeted" her as she was no liberal enough.

  16. tamingauthor says:

    A really good exercise is to read Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. He is the late founder of the community organizing movement in which Barack Obama and many of his staff trained.

    It is OUR fault. For sure. We have been asleep at the switch. Disengaged. Apathetic. Uneducated. We have so much work to do to correct a faltering culture.