Monday, January 10, 2011

What has our society come to?

What has our society come to that public servants we elect to serve us our targets for the deranged and disturbed. On Saturday, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head as she was conducting an open townhall type meet and greet outside a Tucson grocery store. In the attack, Gifford along with 13 others were wounded and 6 were killed, including Federal District Judge John Roll, a Giffords staffer, and a 9 year old girl. It is clear that the target was the congresswoman and that the district judge was only there by coincidence and not an actual target. But that doesn't matter as this clearly was an attack on the government. Today, the collective thoughts of the entire nation are with Rep. Giffords and all the other victims as the recover or in the worst cases, are remembered. Doctors are cautiously optimistic that she will pull through, and we all hope she does.

What is troubling by this is the cause of the shooting spree. Some political and domestic terror analysts are pointing at the violent rhetoric coming from the conservative end of the media, mainly Fox News and conservative talk radio. If you remember during th last election cycle, Sarah Palin placed on her PAC's website a map of the country with gun site cross-hairs on 10 districts that voted for McCain that had Democratic representatives that voted for the healthcare reform bill, one of those being Rep. Giffords district, another one being the one I currently reside in. Someone deranged like the young man who shot Giffords, could have taken those cross-hairs literally and went after her. Sarah Palin has taken down the map, but has yet to apologize for possibly being the reason for the shooting. However, this is not the first time someone from the right, mainly from Fox News, has inciting and been the reason behind a violent act. If you will remember, an abortion physician, Dr. George Tiller, was gunned down while in his church on a Sunday morning. This happened after Bill O'Reilly repeatedly called him Tiller the Baby Killer on his show. The violent rhetoric needs to end, and it must start with the FCC pulling the plug on Fox News. Free speech and press or not, Fox must take the blame for these terrible actions. Stating your opinion is one thing, calling for for violence against public figures is taking it entirely too far. We need to bring our society back from the edge of the cliff of sanity. John Stewart had the right idea with his Rally to Restore Sanity, because it appears we have lost it.

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  1. Sarah Palin's map was "violent rhetoric"??? "Fox news must take the blame for these terrible actions"??? I can cite Democrat maps that bear targets on Republican districts and i can also quote you plenty of liberal speech that could construed as "violent".

    I think its disgusting to try to link Palin to this tragedy. It is like a woman falsely accusing a man or rape. You are way out of line on this, RM. Way out of line. I'm no big fan of Palin's, but as MLK said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. By helping to point the finger at anyone besides the shooter (or direct conspirators in the crime), you are complicit in massive injustice. Shame on you. This is truly despicable behavior.

    What HAS our society come to? what has our society come to when corporate owned media shamelessly exploits a tragedy to further its agenda? what has our society come to when we've forgotten that each person's actions are his own? what has our society come to when we follow mindlessly like sheep those who will stoop to any level to discredit their political rivals?

  2. Ok then, show me where in the last 10 years a liberal commentator or politician used violent rhetoric and the act of violence that followed it. I'm waiting...

  3. Furthermore, how can you defend someone who used crosshairs as targets, bragged about it by saying those candidates are "in our sights now" and then said "don't retreat, reload."

  4. Stop it. The assumption your premise is based on is wrong. This horrible event did not "follow" anything Palin has said. The connection is incidental, at best. All reasonable people would understand that Palin (just as Obama and many others have) was speaking in metaphor. It is not the responsiblity of a speaker to filter everything said to avoid the possibility of it being misinterpreted by a "deranged" person.

    This is not unlike the lawsuits that came against Ozzy Osbourne, and many others, back in the 80s. After tragic suicides, musicians became popular scapegoats because of their lyrics. Luckily, I don't think any plantiff won in any of those cases.

    We are exposed to "violent rhetoric" everday- rap music, movies, etc. People get shot everyday. To indict anyone outside of those directly involved in this tragedy invites the government to regulate all media and all speech. NOT GOOD. Our 1st and 2nd amendents are under threat. MSNBC is merely attempting to silence dissent, nothing more. This is a distasteful play on the emotional pain and fear people feel after a tragedy of this short, designed to eradicate liberty, not unlike the introduction of the patriot act and homeland secuirty after 9/11.

    I defend Palin only because, if the situatin were reserved, and it was I who was being unfairly indicted with my name being dragged through the mud unfairly, I would hope there would be someone out there with enough independent thought and common sense to stand up and say "Woah, hold up a minute...."

    I think we can all agree on a zero-tolerance policy towards violence. The way to handle this tragedy is not to go searching for scapegoats. The answer is to hold this man accountable with his life, to get tougher on violent crime, to demonstrate it is not ever acceptable. Searching for scapegoats only gives the impression that we are not going to hold people accountable for their actions.

    I was first introduced to your blog by a mutual acquaintence, and i intend no malice in my comments here, they've all been a good-natured attempt to get you to see the bigger picture. I admit, I simply cannot help myself when I am exposed to the all-too-common "republicans are the enemy, democrats are our saviors" rhetoric. But I honestly feel this post was going too far on that front. I don't think you realize the line that has been crossed. It actually makes me feel sick to my stomach.

  5. As unfortunate as the events are, you should consider something that is on the blatantly obvious side. Think of the number of GOP candidates this past year that simply said something along the line of if x elected official is doing something you don't like, get your gun...

    To your example of Ozzy Osbourne, that is quite a different example than what you are comparing it to. The key difference is a simple one. In the case of any Fox News commentator their opinion is expressed as fact, and then repeated. Ozzy Osbourne's lyrics however are simply part of a song, a good song, but still presented as music, not fact.

  6. One candidate that comes to mind is Sharon Angle from Nevada, who advocated "Second Amendment Remedies." Basically meaning, "don't like what the government is doing? Grab your gun."

  7. This event will on doubt cause everyone to think think twice about what they say publicly. I am not condoning anything anyone has said (however, nor am I trying to link Obama's "if the republicans bring knifes, we'll bring the guns" quote to the next act of violence that occurs).

    I am going to go ahead and disagree with your assessment of my Ozzy analogy. Fox has opinion-based commentators, sure, just as MSNBC has Olbermann (Hannity and Olbermann are really quite similar). CNN has opinion-spouting commentators. Katie Couric lets her misguided thoughts fly regularly. There is nothing wrong with this. It is each person's own responsibility to be able to distinguish fact from opinion and form their own beliefs.

    I really can't speak to the Angle quote or the rest. I've honestly never heard any such quotes. Let's not pile on here. I could dig up all the violence in leftist speech, and several maps with targets on them. Let's not waste our time. This kid was no more conservative than he was a liberal, he was just nuts.

    I think you used the right word, "unfortunate". It is a very unfortunate coincidence that has come back to haunt a careless Palin. "We have them in our sights" is a cliche, and the "reload" bit doesn't really raise suspicion on its own.

    If this jackball was inspired to embark on a shooting rampage because of THAT, any random utterance could have set him off.

    Just as we'd like Palin to be responsible for herself here (whether that means taking the map down, further commentary from her, both or neither, I'm not to decide), we can only be responsible for ourselves. We can only ensure we ourselves are acting in a respectable manner, and I do not believe that includes blaming this gut-wrenching tragedy on anyone or anything, except squarely on the scumbag who is responsible for this horrific act.
    -Swayze from Roadhouse