Yesterday’s shooting of a United States congresswoman in a rampage that killed six people and wounded 13 others has shined a spotlight on political rhetoric and its role in provoking individuals to irrational levels of outrage.
What follows is an amalgam, of a sort, of the responses coming from one particular side of the political spectrum…
The tragic events of Saturday morning were a heinous act committed by an obviously troubled individual. But the idea that Republicans or Fox News somehow encouraged this sort of senselessness is, I sense, senseless.
While it is technically true that Sarah Palin placed crosshairs over Rep. Giffords’ district, they were not meant to suggest that the congresswoman be “taken out” – crosshairs are commonly placed over many things, like deer, varmint, and terrorists, and when hunters or vigilantes answer the call, they merely intend to remove the thing from its office in life, not from its “life” life.
“While some have called [our tactics] ‘troubling’ and ‘irrational,’ they could not have influenced the shooter, for he was clearly troubled and irrational.”
Furthermore, 16 other Democrats were also listed as targets in the 2010 campaign. The fact that the assailant chose to take out someone on this list is sheer coincidence. The odds that any random House member targeted for assassination was on this list is a full 4%. That’s four times more than one-in-a-hundred odds.
Also, the liberal media are ignoring the fact that only one of the 17 targeted Democrats has been physically harmed. So instead of looking for connections between what Sarah Palin tells her fans to do and what her fans do do, the media should be asking, “Why haven’t the others been assaulted yet?” (Our lawyer would like me be clear that I do not mean this as a provocation.)
Yes, our party has worked to achieve certain goals like repeal of the president’s health care reform law, and at times we have employed rhetoric like “massive government takeover” and “death panels.” Yet, while some have called this “troubling” and “irrational,” it could not have influenced the shooter, for he was clearly troubled and irrational.
I will end with a quote from the proposal our party endorsed this very morning for ensuring that such a heinous act happens never again:
“We unambiguously deny responsibility for the connection between our party’s vitriol and its consequences. Lest anyone doubt our dedication to work tirelessly towards a calmer and safer political environment, consider not our words but our concrete proposal: We ask all Americans to come together to join us – and pray.”