nenena: (Devi - I'm Blue)
nenena ([personal profile] nenena) wrote2011-01-08 04:47 pm

Signal-boosting.

Because this is too important to let it get buried:

First, in case you haven't seen the news yet today, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at a "Congress in Your Corner" meeting today, and 12 other people in the crowd were shot as well. As of this writing Giffords is out of surgery and showing promising signs of responsiveness, but two six of the other shooting victims - a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl - have died.

The shooter has been arrested, but there's a bigger picture to be seen here than just the tale of one man with a gun.

Because of Sarah Palin's "Take Back the 20" list, which she is now desperately trying to delete off the internet. Unfortunately screencaps cannot lie.

For the record, this was Sarah Palin's campaign to target twenty congressional districts that were key for the Republicans to win back from the Democrats in order to secure control of the Congress, which normally wouldn't be an inherently malevolent thing - after all, there's nothing wrong with strategic campaigning - except for the fact Palin posted a map of the United States showing crosshairs on top of the targeted districts and actually sponsored an anti-Giffords rally that was widely advertised with the following text: "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."

In case you still don't believe that rhetoric like this has power, Giffords gave an interview back in March in which she discussed how she began receiving death threats, harassment, and vandalism right after Palin began the "Take Back the 20" campaign.

I don't believe for a second that Sarah Palin actually wanted to encourage anybody to shoot Gabrielle Giffords, but I do believe that Sarah Palin is a stupid lady who deliberately appeals to a demographic with a well-documented history of anti-government violence and who doesn't understand what the consequences of her rhetoric would be. EVEN IF you believe that "Take Back the 20" played no role in the shooter's motivation, that STILL doesn't change the fact that Palin's rhetoric was completely vile and totally out of line, even by US political standards (which is saying a lot!). Anybody not as famous as Palin would have been arrested for making terroristic threats if they put up that website and advertised an anti-Whoever rally that featured a firing of an automatic weapon as a symbolic gesture. Or, in other words, this comment thread.

Palin is trying to delete all evidence of her campaign, which at least tells us that she's smart enough to understand that she could very well deserve blame for her role in encouraging this vile act. Don't let the evidence be buried and don't let Palin get away with not owning up to her own rhetoric. The silver lining that could come from this tragedy is more people saying NO to violent and inappropriate campaign rhetoric, now that we've seen its consequences. That won't happen if Palin succeeds in burying the evidence and denying that her repulsive campaign ever existed in the first place.

ETA: Palin is now deleting old tweets, too.

ETA 2: Holy fucking shit. Palin's supporters are now commenting on her Facebook page and congratulating her for "getting rid of" Giffords. If anybody still has doubts that Palin's rhetoric was irresponsible, or that her campaign encouraged the shooter, this ought to remove that doubt. Congratulations, Sarah Palin, because your supporters include this guy who writes: "Go, Sarah! Gifford deserved to die. She was a liberal, a Jew, a health care reformer, an enemy of the NRA, pro abortion and pro gay... One down and 16 to go."

How did Palin not understand that PEOPLE LIKE THIS were her supporters. How.

ETA 3: Quoting this comment from [livejournal.com profile] elobelia, because it hits so many nails right on the head: "If a student at my brother's school posted an image on facebook with crosshairs over fellow students' faces while in other posts talking about solving their problems with these people with a gun, he/she would be arrested and expelled from school. It's funny that people aren't willing to hold Sarah Palin to the same standard they would hold a 15 year old kid. If I had posted those things on Twitter, you can bet the cops would have been swarming my house today to see if there was a connection between me and the shooting - as well they should have. I'm not saying Palin should be arrested, I'm saying we shouldn't put up with this bullshit from her." Yes, yes. THIS. (Actually I kind of doubt the latter part about the cops swarming somebody's house because of what they posted on Twitter, but the first part about the hypothetical 15-year-old kid? Absolutely true. I'm a teacher and I've seen kids actually arrested for saying even mildly threatening things on the internet before.)

ETA 4: From here: "Law enforcement officials said members of Congress reported 42 cases of threats or violence in the first three months of 2010, nearly three times the 15 cases reported during the same period a year earlier. Nearly all dealt with the health care bill, and Giffords was among the targets." Palin's "Take Back the 20" list specifically targeted congress members who voted in support of the health care bill. Tea Party rhetoric specifically targeted congress members who voted in support of the health care bill. And violence against these congress members drastically increased at the same time. Gee, you think there might be a connection?!

ETA 5: Sherriff Clarence Dupnik is a hero. It takes a lot of courage to be in the midst of all of that and still directly call out violent anti-government rhetoric as being one of the causes of the shooting, something which most of the major network news coverage of the shooting is still tip-toeing around or blatantly denying. It takes incredible courage to actually use the words "bigotry" and "prejudice" to describe the hateful rhetoric being stirred in Arizona, because although both of those words are 100% accurate descriptors, most reporters and commentators are still too cowardly to actually use them. Kudos to Dupnik for having the courage and honesty to call a spade a spade. Finally, it shows a great deal of sensitivity and intelligence to speak about Loughner's mental health the way that Dupnik did: YES Loughner is clearly mentally ill but NO that in no way shape or form absolves Palin, Kelly, and their ilk from being culpable for what happened. It is BECAUSE people with a combination of certain mental illnesses and prejudiced beliefs are suspectible to violent rhetoric that violent rhetoric is irresponsible for politicians to spew in the first place.

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