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On Giffords, Palin, and Blame

January 10, 2011

By now I suspect most anyone reading this blog has learned of the tragic shootings in my home state. Among the injured and killed was of course, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who already had crosshairs on her in an image from Sarah Palin’s website.

Hello, controversy.

Though we do not know the shooter’s political affiliations, beliefs, or motivations, we all can look at Sarah Palin’s targeting image and speculate a connection, rather it be an inspirational image, a triggering one, or a guide.

Does this make Palin responsible for the shooting? To blame for the shooting?

No, of course not. She cannot be held responsible for another person’s actions.

But that doesn’t mean she is in the right.

I have written before about Palin’s tendency to use violence and harassment in her speeches as a means to “rally up and inspire” her followers. Palin of course is not the first, last, or only politician to use metaphors of violence, but it doesn’t make it right in her instance or any instance.

The fact of the matter is, this sort of metaphorical call to violence is a factor, whether it was even linked to the shooting or not.

People are looking at this image and blaming the right, the conservatives, the Republican party for the shooting.

The family of Giffords will always remember that a person explicitly drew crosshairs over their loved one because of her political beliefs, not caring that she truly could have been (and was) shot for those beliefs.

Even on Palin’s Facebook fanpage, people are posting, “liberal scum deserved it” and “I wish the rest of Sarah’s targets got shot too”.

No, Palin is not responsible for the shootings. She does not have blood on her hands. She is not at fault.

But she is not in the clear, she is not in the right for posting such an image.

What I find most disgusting from her is that, before issuing a statement, before posting her condolences, she had the image removed from her site and less than 24 hours later is already talking to the media, pushing the blame away from her and REFUSING to aknowledge that she put crosshairs over a woman who was shot in the head.

Have some dignity, Palin. Stop backpedaling and making up scenarios and just admit your image was tasteless and you are sorry for putting the image up. You don’t have to take the blame, or connect the shooter’s action to your image, but you need to have some goddamn respect and acknowledge that your constant push for violence is wrong.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 7:03 am

    Excellent post on the effects of images and words in the media and on taking responsibility for what we say and do in public.

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