On the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic nominee and gen...

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I haven’t written anything political on this blog for a very long time but today I’m very upset. Yesterday the Democratic Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head at close range, along with several other people, six of them killed. One of them being a 9 year old child.

Am I jumping the gun by saying this was an assassination attempt? Maybe I am. I’m sure people could accuse me of that since “the facts aren’t in yet.” But there are facts that are in. And some of those facts are that the person who committed this terrible act posted anti-government ramblings on a website (according to the New York Times).

Just a little observation here: I do wonder why the media isn’t immediately calling this an assassination attempt. If this were a male congressman would it be different?

These events have shed some light on something that has been in the shadows of our culture for a few years now. This culture of hate that has been lingering underneath the surface. It was brought to light yesterday in the form of an image that appeared on Sarah Palin‘s website earlier this year. It is the image of the United States of America with cross-hairs over those districts that Palin wants to “take back.” This image was accompanied by tweets that used violent rhetoric to make her point. Example:

It is interesting to note that Congresswoman Giffords, herself, commented on Palin’s crosshair graphic in an interview, and was concerned with what it implied.

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” Ms. Giffords said last March. “But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that.”

Palin was caught in the beam of the light-shedding yesterday, and was the focus of it. But it’s not just Palin. It’s our media culture. It’s bigger than just Palin, though Palin should be held responsible for her actions. It is this idea that it is o.k. to incite the pubic in this way. It is this idea that it is o.k. to use violent rhetoric to make a point. Sure, most people can read Palin’s tweets and not go out and commit murder. But, obviously, there are people who take this language to heart and will go out and literally point the crosshairs at the target, aim, and fire. This is not acceptable. A fucking 9 year old child was killed yesterday.

So what is the answer? I don’t know. I’m angry and I’m not sure how to direct this anger. Obviously, spewing more hate is not the answer. You can’t get rid of hate with more hate. But the good thing about anger is that it does spur action. The question is, what action needs to be taken? How can we move away from this culture of hate that seems to be getting worse?