On Gabrielle Giffords

9 Jan

I never imagined that the first post from my nearly four month hiatus would be about a tragedy.

You’d have to live under a rock or in a foreign country to not know that an apparently deranged twentysomething gunman shot U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others, including a judge and a nine-year-old girl who went to Rep. Giffords’ event to understand how government works. Initial reports and speculation (I myself admit to getting caught up in this) pointed fingers at the right-wing reaction and that figures like Sarah Palin were to blame for provoking such attacks because of their references to violent political reaction, especially with posters like these.

Turns out later that the alleged gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, has a history of provocation and bizarre behavior, and that the Tea Party movement apparently had nothing to do with his condition. It is still unclear what his political beliefs are, but Sarah Palin had nothing to do with it.

While some of the truth has been revealed, it is increasingly clear that violent imagery has no place in politics, no matter the political ideology. Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, et al should not be held directly responsible for their incendiary words, but in light of this, it is clear that the best thing they could do at the moment is tone down the rhetoric. We may have a lot to disagree on, but it doesn’t mean we wish any harm on other people.

Most of all, the important thing at the moment is not wondering if the right-wing and the left-wing had anything to do with the culture of violence, but rather that the community (and the United States as a whole) has lost six souls and many others, including Rep. Giffords, injured. My condolences to the lives lost and I hope that the injured–especially Rep. Giffords–will have a speedy recovery.

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