The Latest Attack on Free Speech

When somebody uses imagery, many times it is figuritive wouldn't you say? It helps paint a picture by using metaphores and symbolism to help drive a message you want to bring out. Imagery has been used for centuries.

So apparently, Sarah Palin used crosshairs on several different states during the 2010 election. Anybody with half a brain would understand what was going on here. Because she put certain districts in crosshairs, did she really mean for people to take up arms and shoot up these districts? Um, no, I think it's quite clear what she was saying. She was suggesting that those districts specifically should be targeted by a strong Republican Challenger because they are held by Democrats who voted for the healthcare bill in traditionally conservative states and therefore a good possibility that if they played their cards right (oh look, another analogy!) they could win these districts

Now obviously this isn't the case, as Giffords won reelection. From what I understand she was a moderate democrat that voted for the Healthcare Bill but also voted against Pelosi (who is an idiot I must say, or a crafty woman who has no care what the citizens of this country think and has the mentality that she knows better then anyone) as Minority Leader.

First and foremost, what happened was a great tragedy, what appears to be a lone gunman shot into a crowd of innocent bystanders and took the lives of six people and wounded dozens more. He alone is responsible for his actions, he's the one that made the decision to take a gun to a public place and open fire on a woman who he disagreed with. There is nobody to blame here but this man and any possible accomplices to this murder he may have had.

What really bothers me the most about this was how quickly people were jumping to conclusions on the matter. Palin used crosshairs so she was inciting violence and now she is to blame. Don't be ridiculous, crosshairs in political imagery has been used countless times before, by both sides of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans both do it, how about this map, which I was shown originally by a commentator about this topic that was actually used by the Democrats in 2004?

I don't know, that looks pretty inciteful to me! What's more, they actually use the term 'behind enemy lines' to target states that went to Bush.

You know, I think myself and people like me can probably figure out for ourselves that the democrats didn't mean to incite actual violence in those states. Those are contested states, and any lame brain can probably figure that out.

Of course, go to any website featuring this story prominantly and Sarah Palin's alleged connection to it and you can see the insanity as people are quick to blame somebody, ANYBODY, especially if it is politically convenient, except for the actual person who did the shooting. People, the only person to blame is Jared Loughner. They list a series of acts of violence towards people who supported the health care bill and link it to Sarah Palin. You know what? I bet, if you are in public office, death threats are actually pretty common. Take a quick look, there are over 300 million people in the United States, a good majority of them are good decent hard working people. And then there are some that are a little loose in the head. You take an unpopular bit of legislation like the Healthcare Bill and I wouldn't think it uncommon after any unpopular act that some politicians get a few death threats or vandalism by some people who decide to take matters into their own hands. Are these people wrong in their actions? Yes, but let's get real here, the only person to blame here are the people who act on it. Whatever happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

Besides, with this shooting, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that Loughner even liked Palin, chances are if he got inspiration from this shooting from anywhere, it seems in line more from a regrettably titled Daily Kos article (My congresswoman is now Dead to me, in referreing to Congresswoman Giffords, no link since story has been scrubbed from the website) then from a call to arms by Sarah Palin. It is quite humorous (in a terribly unfunny sort of way) how quick people were to pin this action on Sarah Palin and put the blame on her. Quite crazy actually, that people have to jump to conclusions by trying to figure out why and place the scape goat on somebody for their own political needs.

Of course, during the Ft Hood shooting, when it quickly came out that the mastermind behind that monstrocity was a Psychiatrist that got promoted to his station because nobody wanted to hurt anybody's feelings by the obvious conclusion anybody could have made that he was a radical islamist, it seemed like everywhere you looked people were falling over themselves trying to explain to people that it was so important not to jump to conclusions. Well, sorry, this is my conclusion on that story. Now everyone is rushing to conclusions to blame this on a convenient political scapegoat and saying somebody else's imagery influenced a person to shoot into a crowd at a grocery store. Stop trying to figure out the whys of why somebody did something an accept that we all have influences in every part of our lives. We, the individual, are ultimately responsible for our own actions. There is one person to blame here in this incident, and that person is a man by the name of Jared Loughner. Last I saw, he was an adult.

People are talking about being civil in talk, but man I hear the hate flowing toward Sarah Palin on this when there is no connection. Stop drawing conclusions!

And what do I see this as? This is a blatant attack on free speech. What, anybody who says anything about using figures of speech and imagery to drive their point is now guilty of inciting violence? The means some people go to connect Sarah Palin (a private citizen I might add) to other people's actions is absolutely insane. Yes, Sarah Palin has a lot of influence, a lot of people see her as bold, fresh and a source of common sense. Other people, for whatever reason, can't stand the sight of her. Because of her polarizing nature and a few other reasons, I don't think she could ever be President, though if the choice is between Palin and our current President, I'm willing to give Palin a shot, but that aside, people are trying to paint her as a scape goat in this, saying that she has blood on her hands or what not. I call Bull. As in shit, not eye. If you want to go down that slippery slope of a person's words and rhetoric as the means of inciting action in another individual, and then holding the person accountable for their words, then i would suggest that every person that Jared Loughner knew and was influenced by during his entire life, his parents, teachers, friends, coworkers, the media, etc, is accountable for his actions. And that is simply not the case. This man made his choice, he acted upon it, and he alone is responsible.

When we stand in front of those pearly gates and St Peter decides whether or not we are going to enter into the kingdom of heaven or be cast into the fiery pits of hell, I would suggest that we will be judged according to our own actions and not given a pass because we may or may not have been influenced by the words of someone else.

Another excellent blog post describing other examples of the use of the crosshairs or bullseye imagery by politicians other then Sarah Palin. Both sides are guilty if one is.

Sarah Palin comments to Glenn Beck on this tragedy, and everyone's hasty connection of her to it. Really, where do we draw the line?

The Boyz at Hillbuzz have done an excellent job at showing the hypocracy in this incident and how the media and various people are trying to pin it on Sarah Palin. A must read for anybody remotely interested in the story.


Anonymous said...

Although you are right. There is no need to jump to conclusions and Democrats are guilty of using fiery imagery and rhetoric at times as well we must understand that imagery like that is irresponsible and Rep. Giffords did call out Sarah Palin that imagery like that is irresponsible and is gonna make crazy people think stuff like that is ok especially when shes writing things on her twitter page like "DONT RETREAT, RELOAD". Does that sound ok to you? Well I dont know but I believe it doesn't. She has all the right in the world to write whatever she wants and some people have exaggerated claims that she has blood on her hands this is by no means an attack on free speech. We all just gotta learn as Americans in general to agree to disagree and not demonize another party so much at times. Republican or Democrat. Speaking on the Health Care bill I do not agree on how it was passed but I believe it was mostly unpopular with Republicans only. The CBO has warned that repeal of the health care law would add 230 billion to the deficit so republicans saying they need to repeal it and is gonna add to the deficit is obviously not true. It has not done things like lowered costs and some premiums have gone up. I believe better situation would be to tweak it and take away the individual mandate and add things to control costs.

Sigivald said...

He's been "obsessed" with Giffords for ages, though; see here.

Note that 2007 is before pretty much anyone outside of Alaska had ever heard of Sarah Palin.

Anonymous: Robert Brady's announced bill to "ban anything we think sounds threatening" is an attack on free speech, however.

(Also, with no mandate on the health care "reform" costs aren't ever going to go down. Their entire logic depends on risk pooling with healthy people - the exact sort who are never going to "join" without a mandate.

It never had the slightest chance of controllable costs and everyone involved either knew it or was a complete fool.

Being Congressmen I give them even odds.)

I've seen no evidence of "imagery" like that ever actually makes crazy people think it's okay to shoot people.

It's the crazy that does that, not a picture of a crosshairs over a map.

Anonymous said...

Although most sane people would not think twice about an image with sights a person like Sarah Palin made means to KILL all the people on the map there are always crazies that will take it at face value. This Jared Loughner obviously had no real political agenda and was more of just crazy its still not responsible to put a map up like that then right after wards put a status on your twitter that says "DONT RETREAT RELOAD". It just does not look right. Now all I say is that the sane people in this country call for responsible rhetoric in this country. Agree to disagree and know that Sarah Palin did not cause this shooting. A crazy person did it that is it.

Risawn said...

Anon, being an avid 2nd Ammendment Supporter, and Sarah Palin being known as a 2nd Ammendment supporter also (and actually heavily known for that) I can see why she uses firearm analogy, but I can also differentiate that her remark was also rhetorical. She wasn't telling us to literally reload our firearms, (since to literally reload, we had to expend our literal ammo first) she was suggesting to keep on with the figurative fight by continuing on forward instead of falling back. War analogies are used all the time, especially in politics. If you blame her for inciting violence, then look no further then our president telling an audience that if the other side brings a knife to the fight, then he brings a gun, what's the difference? It seems like the same type of rhetoric to me.

And yes, this is a censor of speech. I can't stand political correctness because of it, because it sanitizes speech to the point that you don't offend anybody's sensibilities. Anything you say can be construed in another fashion by an audience. This situation irritates me mostly because it is a prime example of taking a national tragedy and immediately politicizing it by putting blame where there is none, in this case, on Sarah Palin for something she said. It was insanity how quickly the left pounced on this narrative, immediately painting Sarah Palin as responsible before they even had the facts, and now whenever anybody thinks about the Arizona shooting they are going to associate it with Palin. That is politics at it's absolute worst.

I say again, there is nobody to blame here but the man who committed the crime. There are 300 million people in this country, chances are some of those people are just crazy and no matter what you say they are going to misconstrue it in a manner in which they act. The more I hear about him, it appears that Jared Loughner was just wanting to create chaos and boy did it work. Pulling Sarah Palin into it is madness.

Anonymous said...

Well ok now thinking of it you might be right about it and I did say republicans and democrats all use incendiary rhetoric at times. Political Correctness is just one thing that can get out of hand at times. It's the same thing with saying Merry Christmas. I might be more agnostic than anything but if its the holidays I say Merry Christmas to everyone I see or anyone who tells me Merry Christmas. They have to be obviously be some type of Conservative Muslim or Orthodox Jew for me not to even bother to say it. A better point would be that this country needs to get its head outta of its 4th point of contact and not care about political correctness as much.

Anonymous said...

Last bit I will leave is that a situation like this should not be so black and white and it is not. You cant say some map sarah palin put up caused this shooting just as much as Marylin Manson caused the Colombine shootings back in 99. It is not right and not responsible. You cant put a face on crazy. Responsible Rhetoric is a worthwhile goal every politician can try to live up too though.

Anonymous said...

That map that democrats used was only targeting specific states. Not any specific individuals.

Risawn said...

Why is everyone anonymous? Really? It's not that hard to log in, and it's free. Or at least use the Name/URL option, you don't even have to log in to do that. Why do you mask yourself behind a generalized moniker of Anonymous? You can remain anonymous but at least can I distinguish Anonymous Person A from Anonymous Person B? Are you the same person? Different person from earlier Anon? Seriously, it is annoying, please call yourself SOMETHING other then Anonymous.

And to the last comment, I don't think it was highlighting specific individuals, it looked like it was targeting a general area on a map. How was that different then what the democrats did? Oh, because she was more precise and posted THREE targets in Arizona instead of one massive one to blanket the whole state? Now you are getting ridiculous. The rhetoric is the same.