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January 8, 2011

The Giffords Shooting and the Palin Graphic: Almost Predictable

There’s certainly a lot of imagery to look at regarding the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  The most troubling image I saw, however, occurred in the interview Giffords gave to MSNBC back in March after her office was vandalized following the health care vote.

Specifically, I wanted to show you this one frame I grabbed from that interview. In describing how extremists were working people up and creating a dangerous atmosphere, Giffords not only cites Sarah Palin’s Facebook graphic targeting Democratic Congressman for defeat in the mid-term election, Giffords actually demonstrates with her hands how Palin targeted her district with the crosshairs of a gun sight.  Studying this frame, it’s hard to imagine a person would model her own fate this directly unless the atmosphere, the specificity of the suggestion and the blatant irresponsibility of Sarah Palin and right wing extremists didn’t make it this predictable.

YouTube video here.

  • Stan B.

    “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. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

    -Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

    • tinwoman

      He’s now being painted as a lefty fifth columnist for even saying this. The character assassination has begun and he’ll be lucky to keep his job.

    • BenT.

      As a former REAL law enforcement officer, I’m ashamed of you Dupnik.

  • lilychrystie

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Republicans and Tea Party: You CAN’T use hate speech and violent references, AND support the NRA, and suggest that an armed citizenry is ’safer’… without actually inciting people to MURDER. The rhetoric of the right these days is uninformed and demeaning even when it’s not irresponsibly provocative. “Tree-huggers” “Baby-killers” “Socialist Nazis” “Government wants to take away our freedoms” “The Government doesn’t want us to eat dessert, wants to tell us where we can smoke”, “Armed revolution is the only solution”. ALL OF THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. Listen up, right wingers:

    You are not getting a fair shake; you’re being vigorously misinformed (by Fox News, by lobbyists, by ‘consultants’ who create thousands of websites, etc to blame everything on Obama and liberals of different colors and persuasions.

    In the middle of the 20th century, America became THE RICHEST AND MOST POWERFUL nation on earth because it created the most ENORMOUS, PROSPEROUS CLASS the world had ever known. That was done by trying to LIFT people out of poverty, by PROVIDING hundreds of thousands of immigrants (which ALL AMericans are, btw)) with social programs and protections (not socialist, the distinction is SIGNIFICANT). The social programs worked! Government safety nets and regulations acted to prevent US from HURTING EACHOTHER, based on the assumption that we WOULD, given a chance. That was the height of a subtle, evolved political philosophy. ‘Government’ needs a great ad campaign; American government matured in a complex and unprecedented way because there are SO MANY DIFFERENT kinds of people here, and it’s a BIG COUNTRY. Small countries with homogeneous populations share values and cultural touchstones- they don’t NEED to spell everything out. America’s diversity forced into being a carefully calibrated legal system, and a government of checks and balances intended to HELP US PROSPER. Let it work. Angry gun-toting people who are bereft of jobs and purpose believe taxes are going to bankrupt them and healthcare means death panels.

    The irony, of course, is that the Tea Party gun enthusiasts are being manipulated by big money. Who gets rich if there’s no government or regulation? NOT the “main streeters”, as right wing slogans would have it. Michele Bachman thinks Obama is a ‘communist’ for ‘ordering’ BP to clean up the Gulf oil spill. Government’s JOB is to ensure that WE eat uncontaminated food, at un-manipulated or unfair prices, and that the little guy can sue a big guy for infractions of this nature.

    Birds are falling out of the sky, there are islands of garbage the size of small continents in the middle of the Pacific and Atlantic, bananas and tigers are extinct, flooding and freak storms all over the world, interest on credit cards is 25-50%, health insurers are seeking a 49% increase, and do not be surprised when a sandwich is a hundred bucks and humming with disease. It’s almost unbearably sad that decency, statesmanship, and history are reviled by the right.

    The tea party is promoting violent revolution; they’re reminiscent of the jihadists. They’re missing key information (cynically withheld by giant corporate entities who prosper from the unregulated confusion and contentiousness.) People need meaningful work and a secure identity, which have NOT been provided by ‘tax-free, trickle-down’ propaganda.

    If we lift eachother up, we’ll have a richer, cleaner, more peaceful nation.

    • texanflyer

      Please don’t lump all conservatives in this “right-wing extremist” group. What is truly unacceptable is the knee-jerk, reflexive name calling, purely because someone might disagree with you. The only person responsible for the murders in Tucson is the disturbed murderer who pulled the trigger. Below are links to quotes and ads that are equally “hateful” and “inflammatory” from the left and our own President. I’m not including these to imply that “the other side does it, so the right must also”, but rather to show that ALL discourse and debate in this country had turned from an exchange of ideas to tone-deaf screeching and rejection of any idea different from your own. We won’t all agree, obviously, but we can agree to discuss differences of opinions in a compassionate, understanding manner. I have nothing against immigrants, only illegal immigration. I have nothing against government programs, unless and until those programs create a country of dependents rather than free individuals who have an incentive to reach their own potential and I certainly don’t “revile decency, statesmanship and history.” And when did bananas go extinct? I have a bunch on my kitchen counter as I type. My point is, ultimately, let’s decide, even if it’s just the two of us, to be polite and respectful. Let’s agree to hear legitimate concerns from the other side and not automatically assume they disagree because of some inherent character flaw.

      ** Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”
      ** Obama to His Followers: “Get in Their Faces!”
      ** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”
      ** Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard”
      ** Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“
      ** Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”
      ** Obama to lib supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.”
      ** Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”
      ** Obama to democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.”

    • Rafael

      Yes, because combativeness-based comments are the same as fear-fueled rants about the end of the world based on abject lies.

      Same thing, really. No difference what so ever.

      And again, equating an obscure DK blog versus the very high-profile mutterings of Beck and Palin, sure, exactly the same.

    • Mayfly

      I couldn’t agree more. And you said it kindly and beautifully. If only those on the radical right could read your comments and give them some thought.

  • jonst

    I would say that the over/under is 4 days before the wingnuts turn this around and become the ‘victims’ they excel at being. ‘Oh the media is piling on us…’ ‘It’s not fair to link us…’

    4 days from Sun. And the Dems will fall for it once again. And the ‘balance’ will be restored, in that Dems will end up defending the very people who directly, or indirectly, egged this on. And most know who they are.

    • Rafael

      Already doing it on CNN and I read people blaming the left for this as well.

    • jonst

      Rafael is correct. We have a ‘winner’. The under, less than a day. Whew…….

      It is painful to watch the Dems get the wingnuts off the hook.

    • Wayne Dickson

      It’s just been done right here on BNN.

    • Bob Hopeless

      Your prediction was correct but you overestimated how long it would take them to start playing the victim – it only took about 12 hours.

  • marc sobel

    I’m really confused. Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs Website was Quickly Scrubbed From Internet

    Why should she do that, she had always insisted there was nothing wrong with it. (2nd Amendment etc. the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. And as they know in Alaska, if you don’t shoot the bear, the bear will shoot you)

    Obviously she reacted too quickly to reports that Giffords was dead. It will go back up, now that she thinks it is still needed

  • jmac

    Both sides need to tone down the rhetoric, says Dana Bash.

    A guy holding a peace sign and a guy waving a semi-automatic on his campaign web site – not equal. The rhetoric is not equal. The Dallas Morning News continually plays the equal side in their editorials – as they promote the mind-set of Texas, which isn’t far from the mind-set of Arizona. The main stream media plays a part in this and they need to stop.

  • Robin Moore

    I don’t have the benefit (?) of television in my home, so I am not up on the current spin. I really hope the Democrats, led by the President himself, stand up to this crime. It was the natural destination on the trail of fear blazed by the teabaggers.

  • black dog barking
  • serr8d

    If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” – Barack Obama, 6/14/2008

    Jared Lee Loughner listened to whom ? Not to Sarah Palin; Loughner was a lefty who likely hated Sarah Palin.

    But he listened to his President, obviously.

    • Stan B.

      I was wondering when you’d chime in with whatever you savored from your last trip to the loo. I bet ya he loves Negroes too- that’s why he spouted American Renaissance hate group rhetoric, and that’s why he tried to take out a Democrat targeted in the cross hairs of Sarah’s “Target List.” Funny, this time around, I don’t hear her screeching, “Bullseye!”

      PS- Nice boots! Thought they’d be a tad fay for such a manly man like yourself- so nice to see you reaching out.

    • black dog barking

      What knife was Rep Giffords brandishing, obviously?

    • Rafael

      Except the target was a Democratic Congresswoman and Obama was talking about the GOP.


    • serr8d

      So, StanB., from your perspective it’s fine and dandy to use the words ‘gun’ and ‘fight’ in the same sentence, as long as it’s Baracky, but have Sarah Palin use a common iconic graphic on a State map, why, that’s obviously causing psychotics to snap! And this: those iconic target sights were focused on states, not on people. No weapon was mentioned at all. Maybe Sarah has a giant rock-cannon on the moon, to necessitate such a giant sight picture? She’s a harsh mistress, indeed~!

      Obama mentioned a specific weapon; a gun. Clearly he was at fault, using such incendiary rhetoric; if you want to condemn Sarah, you must also condemn Barack Obama with the same brush, or suffer flaws in your logic (not that that would stop most of you). Most leftists are pretending OUTRAGE! over Sarah’s use of these iconic symbols just to push their agenda; obviously they wouldn’t go through such tortured mental gymnastics unless they see a clear way to advance their ideology. Can’t let something like this go to waste, right? Shoe on the other foot: if Palin had mentioned a ‘gun’, would you not be even more LIVID! than you’re now pretending to be ?

      Rafeal, this was your psychotic. He voted for Obama, natch. The target was a blue-dog Democratic Congresswoman. I’ve seen and heard classless leftists speak unfavorably of blue-dogs; some right here on this site. You can’t sneak away that easily.

      Best if you and yours could see this as it is: a senseless tragedy made worse by the Left using the opportunity to advance their ideology.

    • Stan B.

      Surprise, guy with the bad nickname and even worse photo icon- I am neither an Obama supporter, nor apologist. But why did the person who was once a governor, before she up and quit mid term to make more money for herself, take down her beloved “Target List?” Isn’t she all about principle, and freedom and all those other patriotic things she can’t even spell? Can’t be she’s feeling guilty (no conscience); cant be she’s scared of a few spineless Dems.

      And after you explain that one away, perhaps you can explain how she and the rest of the Christian Right managed to turn a long haired hippie who preached peace and love, who said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, who said to LOVE YOUR ENEMY and to turn the other cheek… Please, Please, Please, tell me how he mutated into a gun loving, war mongering, money hungry GOD who despises the poor, the meek, the suffering.

      Cause just like you- I wanna believe! I wanna believe every single lie The Right makes up, just like you do! And I wanna spread those lies far and wide and be happy in my greed and denial and self righteousness- just like you! Hallelujah!!!

      And until you do- you got nothing to say at all.

    • tinwoman

      The shooter was a member of an anti-immigration hate group and compared women who got abortions to terrorists. Not many lefties fit that profile. Nice try, though.

    • serr8d

      Sarah Palin took nothing down. Look here:

      The only thing that’s come down is Daily KOS’s post two days before the shooting proclaiming that Gabrielle Giffords ‘is DEAD to me’, for voting against Nancy Pelosi.

      Professor Glenn Reynolds asks

      To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

      I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.

      Where is the decency in that?

      I see nothing here to indicate anything except thinly-disguised contemptibility.

    • Rafael

      He voted for Obama? And you got that from where exactly?

      And btw, no one on the left has call for gunning down or attacking the so called Blue Dogs except to remove them through the electoral process. Yet, here on bag news and across the Internet the vitriolic and hateful rhetoric from the Far-Right is in plain evidence.

      Why don’t you man up and accept that? Instead I see and hear a lot of whining from the Right. Cowardly lot aren’t you?

      And to your professor, yes there is a connection, as the Right always points out in their pursuit of

    • Rafael
  • Wayne Dickson

    Interesting that in this interview Chuck Todd kept trying to get her to say both sides are equally guilty of inciting violence. I guess he was more interested in the semblance of balance than in acknowledging reality.

  • jmac

    Erick Erickson of Redstate: ” Ironically, by perpetuating the lie— that the right and the tea party incited this evil act, the left and media may very well incite violence against the right.”

    Why can’t Mr. Erickson just say maybe Tea Party types need to tone down the gun rhetoric? Hasselback spoke up against it. Andrew Sullivan spoke up:

    “The entire psychological structure of the ‘Tea Party’ is rooted in the theme of patriotic armed revolt against an illegitimate tyrant. Violence and the rhetoric of violence is embedded within it. When you do that, someone somewhere will take you seriously.”

  • g

    Actually, I give a pass to Palin on the cross-hairs map, even though she was stupid enough to not only defend it after its danger was pointed out to her, but also brag about it after the election. But still, I’m sure she never intended that anyone would actually take her at her word and shoot someone on it, did she? Probably because she lacks the imagination and sense of propriety, but give her that, she probably never intended it to be taken literally.

    But OK – let’s say that she’s not culpable. So – what should she have done once there was an incident? she’s in a leadership role, she has people who listen to her, people who look up to her to set the tone for political discourse, to whom she could set an example in reaction to this horrible tragedy.’

    What does she do?

    Does she face the camera, talk to the American people and say, “Although I never intended anything like this, I can understand now how heated rhetoric might inflame violence, and I think we should tone down our political discourse” ? Does she vow to help heal the nation, to reach across the divide?

    No, she chose to hide behind a tepid Facebook statement, and let her spokespeople defend her with the most ludicrous, false excuses, and counter accuse other people.

    She had the opportunity to be a leader and a stateswoman here – she chose instead to rely on people like Serr8d to speak for her.

    • momly

      And that last sentence is why she has zero credibility. With me, anyway.

  • jmac

    “I think we’re the tombstone of the United States of America,” Pima county Sheriff Dupnik said. “I have never been a proponent of letting everybody in this state carry weapons under any circumstance they want, and that’s almost where we are.”

    Rand Paul: “But the weapons don’t kill people, it’s he individual that kills — that killed these people.”

    Loughner used a semi-automatic 9MM Glock with an extended magazine.

    “Under the federal assault weapons ban, enacted in 1994 and allowed to expire in 2004, these extended magazines, which can hold over 30 rounds, were prohibited. No company was allowed to manufacture any magazine that could hold more than 10 rounds.”

    • momly

      “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and monkeys do too (if they have a gun).” ~Eddie Izzard

      Actually, it is the bullet that kills, but just chucking them at a person is pretty ineffective and also annoying. You need SOMETHING for propulsion.

  • thomas

    I can’t help but wonder in looking at this image who it is that Giffords thinks she’s addressing? By now Steve Driehaus’ exchange with Boehner has become emblematic of this new national conversation about loaded rhetoric:

    “I didn’t think it was funny at all,” Driehaus says. “I’ve got three little kids and a wife. I said to him, ‘John, this is bullshit, and way out of bounds. For you to say something like that is wildly irresponsible.’”

    Of course Boehner is essentially unresponsive. Of course Palin washes her hands of this. Of course the conservative consensus now taking shape is that there is no link between broadcasting hatred and acts of mass murder.

    When Giffords is saying that a person is responsible for the consequences of their public invective she’s only being heard by the adults of the world who already know this. But if Palin’s graphic was “way out of bounds” and “wildly irresponsible” it hardly matters to the unbalanced isolated individuals or the established national political party that already has a firm emotional commitment to political violence.

  • Rafael

    And too top it off, Sister Sarah, like her cowardly ilk not only does not own up to her words but throws in an anti-Semetic slur to defend herself in the form of “Blood Libel!”

    Congrats Sarah, you just won the Internet!

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