Monday, January 10, 2011

USA Today identifies Sarah Palin's Culpability in Tucson Massacre

From USA Today's "Our view: After Ariz. shooting, time to tone down vitriol:"
Saturday's tragedy in Arizona was unspeakable, as President Obama put it, but it was not unthinkable. American history is blighted with assassinations and attempted assassinations of prominent figures, often by disturbed young men with motives that make sense only within their twisted minds.

Combine that past with today's overheated political rhetoric and easy access to high-powered weaponry, and perhaps the only question was when, and where, the next unspeakable act would occur.

The heartbreaking answer was Jan. 8, 2011, outside a supermarket in Tucson. A 22-year-old gunman, identified as Jared Lee Loughner, opened fire with a Glock handgun, grievously wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others, including federal Judge John Roll and, poignantly, a 9-year-old girl learning about democracy. ...

... With speech comes responsibility, a notion that seems lost on too many players in today's hyperpartisan hothouse. Regardless of Loughner's motivations, his killing spree is a grisly reminder that deeply disturbed people are easily driven to violence, whether by their own personal demons or by others who stoke their anger. When talk-show hosts warn about using bullets if ballots don't work, or candidates speak about resorting to "Second Amendment remedies," they invite risk for the sake of ratings or political gain. As Giffords hauntingly warned in March, after Sarah Palin's political action committee targeted her congressional district using the cross hairs of a gun sight, "there are consequences" to such imagery. ...
In Congresswoman Gifford's haunting words, "there are consequences:"
We need to realize that the rhetoric, and the firing people up and ... for example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we're in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize that there are consequences to that action ...
USA Today is the nation's largest daily print newspaper, in terms of circulation.


0>w/hole>1 said...

What kills me is that the USA Today editorial's sentiment is not obvious, and even needs to be said.

There's a line from The Postman by David Brin along the lines of "Who will watch over these children now?" I feel that way about the irresponsibles over t'Fox and the GOP. Mean little children playing with matches and swinging cats by their tails, acting all surprised when the cat claws them up and the house burns down.

Joie Vouet said...

That this appeared in USA Today is indicative of the stakes for Sarah Palin.

Yahoo! news is featuring: "Giffords tragedy could be a defining moment for Palin," which mentions that whether Palin is to blame has been dominating the debate at Facebook.

It's probably already too late for any response from Palin to make a difference.

0>w/hole>1 said...

> It's probably already too late for any response from Palin to make a difference.

The end came at the ohnosecond Mansour uttered "surveyor's symbol". It was cowardly, it was childish, it was vile, it was transparent, it was beyond stupid.

And it was utterly, utterly representative.

0>w/hole>1 said...

> The end came at the ohnosecond Mansour uttered "surveyor's symbol".


Two words: Eddie. Haskell.

Joie Vouet said...

O>w/hole>1, here is a clickable link to what Andrew Sullivan wrote.

I disagree with Sullivan's view that Palin could have saved herself by claiming that "targeting is a political metaphor." Among staff it may be, but never from candidates, who are presumed to be leaders.

Joie Vouet said...

By the way, that is Andrew Sullivan printing something written by one of his readers.


Another thing about metaphor: Someone in marketing may say something like, "We need to target Boston." But it would be surprising to see a map drawn-up with a rifle sight over Boston. The word is being used in the sense of setting a goal to, say, increase sales in Boston.

Rather than resort to incendiary rhetoric and images, why couldn't SarahPac just state its differences with Giffords on various issues? Our marketeer, after "targeting" Boston, would go public with a campaign to persuade Bostonians that his product is better than the competitor's, not with rifle sights.

Joie Vouet said...

Sarah Palin has been operating as though it's normal for political discourse to occur at the level of the discourse read in internet forums and heard on talk radio. That isn't normal. Yelling the loudest and striving to have the last word doesn't foster meaningful discussion of the issues.

Joie Vouet said...

Another thing about metaphor: Many of them are dead, that is, they've lost their original meaning. Perhaps "target" is one of them, but the use of rifle sights brings the metaphor back to life, so to speak, and "deeply disturbed people" particularly, mentioned in USA Today's editorial, may take things too literally, with tragic consequences, as we've seen.

Joie Vouet said...

Usually, to find Palin news at Google News, one must type palin into the search box. Today, "Palin caught in crosshairs map controversy after Tucson shootings" is on the front page.

The article describes how Sarah Palin got herself into this pickle and concludes with:

Palin allies point to language and imagery used by some critics on the left as evidence of a double standard. But John Weaver, a GOP strategist, said Palin is being held to a different standard precisely because she may have presidential aspirations.

"You can't put the actions of this insane person on her doorstep or anyone's doorstep," he said in Palin's defense. But, he added, "having said that, there's a difference between how people judge the conduct of a blogger and a political leader or someone who may want to run for president of the United States."

An indication of how far behind the curve many are is the article's quote of Politico's Jonathan Martin, who wrote that Palin would now have to decide "whether she wants to be Ronald Reagan or Rush Limbaugh." Sarah Palin hasn't that choice anymore, if she ever had it.