Sunday, January 9, 2011


So far, six people have died and Congressman Gabrielle Giffords struggles for her life after being shot at point blank range by a deranged shooter. Nineteen people in all were shot at a public meet and greet outside a Safeway in Tucson.

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik (shown above) of Pima County makes the connection between the tragic violence and the politicians and pundits who make a living fanning the flames of hatred. Some Republicans are eager to point out that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and their Tea Party ilk didn't pull the trigger, but they have helped create an overheated climate of threats and violence that helped set this up.

Conservatives are saying this has nothing to do with right wing talk radio or the virulent state of politics in America today, or even the specific political climate of Arizona. They say that this lone gunman was unbalanced (and of course he was) and that Rush and Beck and Palin and all the amped-up tea party types didn't pull the trigger. True, but slimy. There are consequences for stirring people up, and Giffords has been under attack for a while. Maybe this sniper acted alone, guided by voices in his head, but the voices of talk radio and political advertisements surely added to that cacophony, and it's disingenuous to say those well-payed pundits who egged on the crazies, and cashed their checks, don't have any responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

Some background: Gabrielle Giffords was one of the twenty Democrats who were elected in 2008 and voted for health care reform and were then targeted for defeat by Sarah Palin in a "takebackthe20" campaign that included a map )above) showing each congressional district in cross-hairs -- as in a gunsight. Recently, "an attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by a group called Conservatives for Congress hoodwinks viewers with selectively edited clips from a House hearing earlier this year. The TV ad, which has been running in the Tucson market, lampoons the Arizona Democrat for asking Gen. David Petraeus about the military’s use of alternative energy sources such as hydro and solar power in Afghanistan."

Not long ago, Gabrielle Giffords spoke out about Sarah Palin's violent rhetoric and the Tea Party threats and attacks.

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