January 8, 2011
Arizona Rep. Giffords Shot
I'm very disturbed by what just happened today, when a gunman opened fire at an event in Tucson, Arizona. It appears his target was Arizona Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords or Judge John Roll, and possibly both. I'm not disturbed so much by the actual shooting, as there are always going to be people who do things like that. It's bad and unfortunate, but it's also something that we have to live with as human beings&emdash;we're not unselfish, unemotional robots.
The problem is that public figures and people associated with public service (and unfortunately all associating themselves with the Republican party) have been using rhetoric that probably contributed to today's shooting. Saying sorry isn't good enough. I hope they understand that what they say can have serious consequences and will try to change their behavior. I won't condemn someone for saying something in poor taste, that could be misinterpreted, or containing exaggerations. But after saying something like that, one should recognize that might have happened and clarify what was really meant. Because a lot of people aren't that intelligent or capable of in-depth rational thought.
Here's some of what I'm talking about:
- Sarah Palin posted a map with crosshairs targeting Giffords and wrote, "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" (Source: San Francisco Chronicle)
- Jesse Kelly, who was running for Congress in Arizona, promoted his campaign with the following words: "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly." He was advertising an offer to recreationally shoot guns with him for $50. (Source: Arizona Daily Star)
- Judge John Roll (killed at the shooting) had received death threats, spurred on by talk-radio shows, in relation to an civil-rights lawsuit involving illegal immigrants. (Source: The Arizona Republic)