Sunday, January 9, 2011

On The Politicization of the Arizona Shooting

On the morning of Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona at a political gathering outside a grocery store, Sarah Palin shot and killed 6 people, and wounded 13 in a deadly shooting spree. In addition to Palin, several hundred thousand members of the Tea Party also pulled the trigger that critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Democratic congresswoman believed to be the target of the attack. One of the dead, a 9-year old girl named Christina Taylor Green, will likely spur legislation to revoke the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, which, wrongly, gives citizens the right to bear arms. After the much needed ban on guns life will then be safe from crazed individuals like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Tea Party members in general. After the precedent of the 2nd Amendment’s repeal, the 1st Amendment will be amended to ban offensive words and phrases, such as “I’ve got you in my cross-hairs”, “Targeted”, “Pray”, and “God”. The list of words and phrases will be long, updated daily, and result in stiff fines and/or jail time for repeat offenders. In this manner life for Americans and the rest of the world will be a virtual paradise. Especially after Conservatism is outlawed.

If you read that and found yourself nodding and smiling in agreement, then you are probably not going to be smiling and nodding when you reach the end of this post. One reason you may be happy with the previous paragraph is because I failed to mention the name of the ACTUAL killer, Jared Loughner. Perhaps you are eagerly awaiting any morsel of news that Mr. Laughner was spurred in some way by “Talk Radio”, or “The Tea Party Movement”, or some sort of religious leaning. It is in THIS way that you can then apply your own political views onto a situation that clearly does not have any. I know some of you have done this. I have read your words. On the social networking site Twitter, I have sought to engage you in debate. Mostly you ignore me. I wish I knew why. Here are some examples:

From @HiKris

“I wonder how Sarah Palin will sleep tonight? I'm sure a lot better than the parent's of the 9 year that was murdered.”

This was the first reference to Sarah Palin in my timeline, and one that made no sense whatsoever. I remarked on this to her:


"Awesome! I have my first Dumbass Blame Sarah Palin Tweet! wtg @HiKris !!!”

Her reply:

“@InkPanther You're welcome, always glad to help. I do wish you could have used a few more exclamation points.”

A deflection. Rather than explain her nonsense she sought to remark on my choice of punctuation.

The actress Jane Fonda weighed in:


“Progressive Arizona Rep Gabrielle Giffords is shot. In her ads, Sarah Palin had her targeted in a gun site. Inciting to violence.”

“@glenbeck guilty too. Shame. It must stop!”

“@SarahPalinUSA holds responsibility. As does the violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party”

Ms. Fonda misspells Glenn Beck’s name, and calls Rep. Giffords a Progressive, though Rep. Giffords supported the rights of her constituents to bear arms.

Now I realize the text-message size space limitations of Twitter make a detailed rumination of ones thoughts impractical but one can string many tweets together or, better yet, make truthful statements rather than false ones. As David Limbaugh tweeted, regarding the “gun sights” advertisements on Palin’s website:


“I honestly have 2 wonder whether ths leftist stampede 2 condemn SPalin springs frm projection. They cnt conceive her imagery was jst imagery”

By placing certain congress people in “gun sights” it is obvious to most rational people that she was NOT advocating the shooting of them. When did we go to this extreme in our thinking? It goes along with Mrs. Palin’s independent, frontier attitude of being a rugged individualist and her love of hunting, it is not an assertion that someone should LITERALLY shoot and kill certain congressmen. Ms. Fonda is simply choosing to avoid this obvious point to use this tragedy to attack Palin and Beck.

The crazy was increased later that same day.


“#Tea Party #tcot #2nd Civil War? : I hope, as American's, that we'll realize that #TeaParty members are HOME GROWN TERRORISTS. #BanTeaParty!”

“@GeorgiaElliott7 : I'll tell u what motivated that 22 yo #Gifford shooter: Gun loving, bible-thumping, all Americans. #TeaParty #Terrorists”

This Tweeter actually advocates the banning of a Movement! And the label “HOME GROWN TERRORISTS” is used without any supporting evidence! HOW, in God’s name are Tea Party Members terrorists!? Where is the proof? What is even more egregious is the fact that she HAS ASSIGNED A MOTIVE TO THIS HORRIBLE ACT! What special powers does she have that she can possibly KNOW this? This is perhaps the most irresponsible tweet I have ever witnessed.
Another person on Twitter refused to respond to me directly, only referring once to this blog in an indirect, and incorrect, manner.


“@SarahPalinUSA hoping that you begin to take some responsibility for the rhetoric & pot-stirring you do & renounce violence very clearly ;("

“Dear Rush Limbaugh: Please begin to use your powers for the greater good instead of scum-sucking evil -- luv, ABT”

This person apparently read my tweets to her, yet refused to back up her opinions. I understand this desire to not engage me in debate. She realizes she has nothing with which to back up her rhetoric. Like many of the tweeters condemning the Tea Party Movement, Palin, et al, much retweeting was being done. These people only see a hateful tweet against these people and immediately, instinctually, slap their big paws on the RT button, thinking they are making a point. I would simply like some answers. Why take this tragedy and politicize it? Why shamelessly mischaracterize the views of those you dislike? Failure to do so will grant you the label, “fucktard”, as I rightly called Ms. Bus_Ticket.

“To the dude spewing his prolific skill set of hate-language on me tonight, liked your scintillating series expose' of tuna sandwiches”

I spewed no hate, I asked her questions. Anyone is free to look at my timeline and judge for his/herself. Oh, and my opinions on tuna sandwiches were explained. Even when the subject is, as she intimated, slight, I am still more deep and intellectual than she is.
In conclusion, let us all pray (oops, that will be a banned word shortly) for Rep. Giffords and her family, the family of 9 year old Christine Green, and all the others involved in this incident. Let’s also place blame on the gunman, Jared Loughner, the sole person responsible for this horror. The irony of those wishing to involve anyone other than this man in this situation and then condemning the political climate as being so hateful should be apparent and regarded as silly.



  1. I don't think guns need to be banned (nor do I think words should, or can, be banned). I do think we need tighter gun laws and much more thorough background checks on people who want to own guns.

    I do think that people like Sarah Palin et al use words that can incite unstable people to do unspeakable things. Operative word: unstable. I don't believe that every tea party member wants to kill liberals, but I do think that using violent rhetoric, whether it's done by the right or the left, is just stupid. Debate is possible when it's done civilly but most of the so-called debates that you see on TV or hear on the radio aren't debates; they are merely people trying to scream louder than the other guy. They aren't listening to one another, they are simply pushing their viewpoints and doing nothing to try to further understanding and cooperation.

  2. This entire thing was just another fucking senseless act of violence happening here in our country and around the world. People are so quick to place blame on things/people that they don't understand on things/people whom they don't understand.

    I don't believe in the tea party, but I don't believe that they are the reason that so many were killed and injured yesterday; the shooter obviously had his own reasons for doing what he did.

    I'm saying many prayers for this little girl, her family, the other victims and their families.

    What a sad day for all of us.

  3. I know you and I don't share a lot of the same political views, but this blog post is spot on. I found Palin's gun sights ads tasteless, but I in no way thought she was encouraging violence. Why do we not put the acts of violent, crazy people on them? Why is this tragedy being used for political purposes? It's sad and my heart goes out to those families.

  4. You said on Twitter that you may get some "unfollows" from this post and you may be right but I will not be one of them. I may not agree with everything you've said but I applaud your openess and honesty. Our right to speak our minds without fear of persecution is sacred.

    Until the shooter explains his motivation for his horrible actions, we cannot possibly lay blame anywhere other than on him.

    That being said, the fact that the main target was a politician makes it hard to separate this tragedy from the current political climate. I don't think that it is "hateful" or "silly" to point out that the political climate in the US can be downright nasty and there are plenty of people that buy into that ideology. Maps with gun-sights on political opponents don't help at all. I realize that Ms. Palin was not asking people to pick up guns and start shooting at those who they disagree with. I'm sure that she is just as horrified at the events of yesterday as we are. She needs to realize though that people in the public eye need to watch what they say and post because there are those who will take their words in ways that they never intended. Unfortunately, because she did not exercise enough caution, she is getting a lot of blame for an act that (we assume) had nothing to do with her.

    Being Canadian, I won't pretend that I understand all of the nuances of US politics so I'm sure that you could out-debate me without a problem; please go easy on me. All I know is that the political atmosphere in the US seems so much more hostile than it is here so I can see why people get so passionate in their arguments and blame-casting.

    Because of this, I have seen so many tweets that throw blame around but very few sending sympathy and prayers to the victims and their families. My heart goes out to them and my prayers go to those who are in hospital fighting for their lives.

  5. Don't know you from Adam, honestly. I followed a tweet from StaceyLT. Here's the thing. Reasonable people know that people who use violent rhetoric to make their points don't mean for their rhetoric to be taken literally, but I sincerely doubt that the shooter is a reasonable person.

    I don't believe calling on our public figures to cut this out and find another way (a better way) to express themselves is equivalent to censorship. It seems to me that it's a call for a return to civil discourse. My fear is that the discourse will continue to ratchet up and more unstable people will believe that they are being called upon to act on that rhetoric.

    Could he have a motive that is entirely apolitical, of course, but even if he does, it doesn't eliminate the fact that we have a political culture right now that is increasingly using the language and images of violence to motivate their bases. It needs to stop.

  6. Major Bedhead:
    I agree wholeheartedly. "Debate" on most shows means shouting intersecting monologues. Boring. Would love to see an actual debate going on. And nice of you to admit not every Tea Party member wants to kill liberals. Hehe. *wink*

    StaceyLT: I thought you and I agreed on Everything... oh well, I will simply try harder. =)

    Kat: I enjoyed reading your Canadian's view of American politics. Thank you. I can see where we may appear hostile to you. Americans are, however, a passionate bunch. Thank you for your comments.

    Adjunct Mom: Thank you for your comment. I will begin Following you on Twitter. My question to you would be to cite for me, other than the Palin gunsights ad, other examples of the "increasing" use of language/images of violence being used in political culture today. Thank you.

  7. Let's see, we have Obama and his gun to knife fight remark.

    Keith Olbermann has acknowledged publicly that he's done it and has apologized and swears he won't do it again. In fact, Olbermann has provided a list here:

    I've had the misfortune of listening to both Beck and Limbaugh and it's part of their stock in trade. Although Limbaugh has toned it down some in recent years.

    I'd find you more, but I have papers to grade.