It’s not Sarah Palin’s fault that some guy went and shot some people in Tucson, any more than it’s Taxi Driver’s fault that some guy went and shot Ronald Reagan to impress Jodie Foster. For one, there are no accounts whatsoever of Sarah Palin’s whereabouts being in the vicinity of the shooting (even though her daughter Bristol did just buy a house less than two hours away).
The responsibility of a gunman ultimately lies in their deciding to become what will invariably be described as a “gunman” — being the one operating a gun. Jared Lee Loughner is widely reported to be the shooter taken into custody, but it was also widely reported that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was dead, until it was reported that she was in surgery and then looked likely to survive. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik blamed the attack on the violent rhetoric that has become the voice of accepted right wing discourse:
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” he said. “And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
A perusal of Jared Lee Loughner’s YouTube videos give a convincing first impression of crazy. Having edited graphics, text, and music a lot over the years, just a few seconds of looking at his nonsensical messages in small, off-centered type with weird electronic music convinced me, professionally speaking, that this guy was complete crazy pants. The pathetic burning of an American flag in the woods while wearing trash bags? These little videos are disconcerting and creepy like that haunting VHS tape in The Ring tried to be, but instead ended up looking like a music video by Nine Inch Nails.
It’s not like if FOX News were a little less incendiary, this guy wouldn’t be having violent fantasies. In what constitutes a massacre, as well as a brazen act of domestic terrorism, there will no doubt be endless review of the killer’s background and lead-up to this tragic day of shooting 18 people, killing six, including a 9 year old girl. All the warning signs are always there in hindsight.
But this isn’t Sarah’s fault.
As soon as the shooting occurred, the Internet lit up with people pointing out that Sarah Palin had put a gun sight target over Giffords’ district as a target, which was controversial at the time for being incendiary. Sarah even kept it up after election day when she Tweeted:
Remember months ago “bullseye” icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin’ incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T’aint bad)
But now, to Sarah, all this linking of her gun talk to gun rampages is just the Gotcha Media at it again. Read more »