At Least Stand By Your Free Speech

sarah palin's hit listSaturday morning 20 people were shot in a Tucson Safeway parking lot by a 22-year-old who stated on YouTube he “won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver.” Fifteen minutes after the news broke, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tweeted, “The price of gold today is at $1,368.90 an ounce.”

Coincidence?

Yes.

None of us want to live in a society where hyperbole, exaggeration, satire, bad taste and horrible timing are subjective.  Stupidity is legal. So are bad jokes. Ditto for calls for revolution. As are declarations using violent imagery. Pornography, too.

So Sarah Palin has a right to display images on her sites SarahPAC, Facebook and TakeDownthe20.com. On those sites she had riflescope icons over the districts of Democratic congresspersons who voted in favor of health care reform. She stated in bold red letters: “We’ve diagnosed the problem. Help us prescribe the solution.”

In March, shortly after TakeDownthe20.com was launched the window of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ Tucson office was shot out with a pellet gun. Giffords said in an interview, “The rhetoric and firing people up….we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district.  And when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”

There were reports of Tea Party protesters outside her office with signs like, “It’s time to reload” and “One way or another, you’re gone.”

Why? Because people listened to Sarah Palin. They listened to her debunked baloney that reforming health care would kill your grandmother. According to Palin, Giffords was trying to kill everyone’s favorite elderly relative. Therefore, there was a target on her.

There is no evidence any of those people who listened to Palin shot the member of Congress in the head with a semi-auto Glock. Besides being steeped in revolution, a cockeyed view of The Constitution and anti-government rhetoric, the shooter has no connection to Palin.

However, minutes after the former governor tweeted about gold, I reported her website was scrubbed of the now infamous crosshairs graphic. It was gone. Then there was a note on her Facebook page: “On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.”

So in a moment of national peril – when a political “enemy” who was on a hit list had been “taken down” – the FIRST thing Palin does is act in her own interests?

In a word: yes.

This is the most cowardly thing I’ve ever witnessed. If you are going to say outrageous things, then you are going to have to stand by outrageous things.

By law, Palin has the right to hurl verbal grenades. But free speech doesn’t mean you’re not accountable for the things you say. It means the government can’t pass laws to make saying them a crime. It doesn’t mean you can beat the drum of rebellion, sell a couple books, delete a graphic, embrace the Bill of Rights and you are magically not a selfish weasel.

Sarah Palin has the courage to delete her convictions and saunter away whistling like nothing happened. All of it is legal. I agree, and I will fight for that: Sarah Palin has the right to be spineless.

Here’s the thing: Palin had an opportunity to have a “bullhorn moment.” She had the opportunity to rise to the occasion and prove all her critics wrong. She could have proven she truly is a leader. That she’s not just a capitalizing catty mean girl who can’t tell the difference between an opponent and an enemy. That she is worthy of all this presidential buzz and not just skating by on some mushy conservative platitudes and good looks. She could have come out strong and expressed regret for demonizing a member of Congress who was shot in the head with a 9mm.

tina dupuyBut instead…she cowered. Pitiful.

To be clear, I’m not blaming Sarah Palin for 20 people being shot – six of them dying from their injuries. I’m blaming Sarah Palin for taking down her “take down” map sans comment. I’m not blaming her for throwing bombs. I am blaming her for not uttering remorse when they explode.

Palin wants her followers to “stand up?”

Her first.

Tina Dupuy

Taking Eternal Vigilance Too Far

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Comments

  1. Bill Gibbons says

    @James Hipps

    “While Sarah Palin made over $12 million speaking about things she’s not qualified to speak about“

    You mean, like the Clintons?

  2. Ryder says

    That so many here are USING this tragedy as simply another handy TOOL to attack the woman they love to hate… says a great deal about these people.

    Are you all over Obama when he said about political disagreements… “if they bring a knife we’ll bring a gun”???

    Of course not.

    You’re hypocrites.

    Grow up, people… grow up.

  3. paul says

    $arah’s hate-filled vitriolic speech has come back to haunt her. (The same could be said for Sharron Angle and possibly even Michelle Bachmann.)

    Palin is a very dangerous and mentally unstable person. It is disturbing to know that there actually those who devour and believe everything she says.

    Wonder how she feels now, knowing that she, in some way, was partially responsible for what happened?

  4. says

    Yes, Sarah Palin did not pull the trigger, and the shooter may not be a Republican. However, in her daily insistent brashness of imposing herself on us all (to the point of narcissism, many believe), Palin should have realized that many people, with or without her intentions, saw or heard her drumbeat messages. Unfortunately, these messages–such as on her SarahPAC and in her Facebook Notes–were laced with gun imagery and thinly-veiled exhortations to violence. How else can the millions of people she woos interpret “Don’t retreat. Reload”, along with internet videos she proudly posts of herself shooting powerful rifles? Add to that the rifle crosshairs on her infamous map. Everyone knew this was Sarah’s “hit list” of people to pay back for having voted for healthcare reform. She specifically wrote their names, specifically wrote Gabrielle Giffords’ name beside the crosshairs. Any connections here?

    Many Americans get upset when they read about extremist Muslim clerics preaching from their pulpits and advocating violence against Westerners. Did these clerics themselves go out and detonate bombs? Yet the same people who deny Palin’s accountability now very quickly condemn the clerics for stoking violence and murder. Conservatives have consistently claimed that radical clerics condone and cause the pattern of violence…but Palin is blameless??

    Some people cite the one time President Obama made a “gun” comment, and the times Democrats have used violent imagery. These Democrats’ comments were likewise unwise and unacceptable. However, the frequency, intensity, and extensiveness of such comments made by Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, many Tea Partiers, and their cohorts far, far outstrip what “the other side” has expressed.

  5. Pam says

    The chickens have come home to roost. How will Boehner reduce the Congressional budget now that all the reps are going to need security details? This is due to the very violence encouraged by his party. Hello Boehner, Hello Steele, whatcha gotta say now? And McCain, you’re the one who brought Palin to mainstream, and she has been nothing but bad for the U.S. When are these Republicans going to step forward and say they made a mistake? I’m waiting! They say they love their country so much, and they must love us, so I better hear them renouncing violence pronto. Who started the rumor that Obama was going to take away the guns? Who brought guns to Obama speeches? Who said We did not come armed. this time? I am waiting!

    • Thomas White says

      Weren’t those crosses, not crosshairs, on the Palin site? ;)
      Clinging to guns & bibles ring a bell?

      The majority, or perhaps all, of the instances of people bringing guns to rallys came AFTER that comment by Obama, IIRC. Additionally, those that brought guns abided by the law, all 23 or so out of the 300+ million citizens, which made them effectively little different than the police present. Armed citizens interested in the state and progress of their society.

      It is a high disservice, to all, to assume that increased security will result from this one rare incident. Do you consider all of Congress cowards? I hope it is not so. Many people each day suffer fates similar to, or worse, than any of the victims of this shooting. A cousin of mine was shot in the head with a 12 gauge rifled slug. She survived, but not as well as her attacker. No increased security occurred as a result of her plight. More people have been killed and injured in a single multi-vehicle accident, or when a turbo-prop airliner went down, or at Fort Hood as done by shooter Nidal Hasan.

      A friend’s sister was beheaded and her body dragged down the road behind a car. No increased security after that.

      Are we equal before the law, or do we make special laws for certain humans?

      Read again about the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and what happened to some of them and their families. Were any of them guaranteed a retirement, or security from hanging by the British Empire? Half of the men from New Hampshire that went to defend Fort Ticonderoga, died. My cousin Thomas Colcord was killed by a cannon ball/shot to the head at Bunker Hill. Apparently all those that survived the war, were happy enough with Articles, and later a Constitution, & Bill of Rights to provide security for selves & family. What has changed?

      If one wishes to serve their nation and make a sacrifice, so be it, and let’s wish them well. Do not feel so sorry for those who consciously choose to lead over such a large diverse nation.

      What did Teddy Roosevelt do right after being shot?
      Did he call for new legislation to prevent further incidents?
      Did Ronald Reagan?

      Why is it important for citizens to trust government, and vice versa?
      You say people distrust because of words. Some do.
      More are likely to distrust over evident harmful actions conducted by governments, like the Tuskegee incident, treatment of Native Americans, being taxed on phone bills for the Spanish-American War 100 years after it ended, the pay of laborers being taken and then given to unemployed drug dealers that sit at home collecting disability checks, or putting generations into debt to foreign interests.

      Where’s the increased security for citizens to protect them against government?
      Did increased security benefit Vicky Weaver, who committed no crime, and was shot by FBI agent Lon Horiuchi while she was holding her infant?
      How much time did Lon Horiuchi serve for the murder of Vicky Weaver?
      Are humans equal before the law?

      The media takes advantage of the average citizen, most of whom have not witnessed a seriously injured human, bleeding and gurgling through his cut throat for help, crumpled at their feet. I have, and helped keep him from becoming a corpse. A firearm was of great utility in the accomplishment, though it was not used to harm anyone. Law enforcement arrived about 40 minutes later.

      What is more callous & vile, what I speak of herein given the occasion, or what humans may do to each other, as proved this past weekend?
      Shall you defend yourself against bullets, with fists?

      It is a fundamental human right to be able prepare for, and resist uninvited aggression, and it is a primary mechanism for enforcing individual sovereignty. It should be one of your top priorities and not one to quickly or easily delegate, lest ye be taxed ever so mightily to protect yourself from those who are also mightily taxed.

      I’ll give Ted Kennedy this much; he hired his own security team and armed them with machine guns… ‘illegal’ ones at that.

      Are humans equal before the law?
      Vicky Weaver was armed with no machine gun when she was struck in the head by the FBI sniper’s bullet, or any gun for that matter. She was armed with an infant. She did not run for office and asked no one to vote for her to oversee society.

      By what means can you persuade, coerce, or force your fellow individual humans to give up all possible weapons, to become unarmed lovers of peace, and why would they trust you, the peacemaker?

      When you go attempt to talk your fellow individual humans into giving up all possible weapns, will you take a rifle or machine gun with you? Shall you enlist a few other like-minded peace lovers to come along with their own rifles and machine guns? Surely, any peace loving individual that could ever be talked into giving up all possible weapons, would surely give up his weapons more quickly, to an assemblage of armed peace lovers, right? Plus, if you were to confront any vile haters of peace, your team could quickly be rid of them then and there, if any excuse presented itself, right?

      If you doubt the promise of peace and goodwill from the U.N. and those within the U.S. government that would disarm you and all other mere individual human beings, is your mission clear? What are you to do if the armed peace lovers come to your home, beckoning for your weapons?

      To assume that any human with a weapon for self-defense is an enemy and means you harm, is to assume that any human with a voice will speak to discredit and denounce you. Shall all we mere savages be silent then, for ever more, while listening only to the very loud voice of governments & corporate leaders?

      The same type of people that wanted to take firearms away from Frederick Douglass wanted to silence Martin Luther King, Jr, or his namesake for that matter. Color & race were an excuse, a temptress. Individual sovereignty, liberty, and equal treatment were the issues.

      Are we equal before the law?

      So, ye lovers of peace, get the world governments to destroy all of their lethal & non-lethal arms, starting with their biggest toys first, so mere individuals may consider doing the same.

      Approximately 10,000 people are shot each year in the U.S.
      A majority of those shot had prior felony convictions.

      For all those deaths each year in the U.S., to equal the number of humans lost to war & totalitarian governments in the 20th century, would take over 20,000 years. Don’t worry about your neighbor’s firearm. You should be glad for it, in general.

      Take care of your families and friends, and choose to be with those that are peaceful. Sew content among your brethren, and turn your anger into laughter.

      May God rest the souls of those lost, may He quickly heal others injured, and comfort those close to the afflicted, who so deeply & rightly feel injured by the despicable act.
      Purity Innocence Hardiness Valor Vigilance Perseverance Justice

  6. Bill says

    Yeash-
    Limbaugh this morning spent a half hour saying “At no time has anybody ever called for violence,” Limbaugh said. “We’ve never subtly promoted it.” And, by the way, the Democrats’ language is and was worse” – well, Rush, I’ve got a better memory than that…what about this quote:

    Limbaugh in April, 2008 (April 23, 2008) describing his “Operation Chaos”
    “The dream end… I mean, if people say what’s your exit strategery, the dream end of this is that this keeps up to the convention and that we have a replay of Chicago 1968, with burning cars, protests, fires, literal riots, and all of that”
    “I’m dreaming of riots in Denver.”

  7. James Hipps says

    Sarah Palin professes to be an American, yet she’s a prime example of why it can be so embarrassing to be an American. While Sarah Palin made over $12 million speaking about things she’s not qualified to speak about, the real “Joe Six-packs” have had to deal with a recession. I am ashamed by how Sarah Palin portrays Americans to the rest of the world.

    • Ryder says

      What’s embarrassing is to see people here using a deranged shooter and his victims as simple political traction for the gutter talk of political rhetoric in what is just the politics of *political* greed. Anything to advance your agenda, right boys and girls? USE murder victims for politics.

      Way to go.

      • Clara says

        Dear Sir:

        Does this also apply to the United States joining in with European forces in two world wars? Does this apply to the current string of declared and undeclared wars we are now involved in? Wasn’t the mantra of the Bush administration that we collectively not dishonor the memory of the 9-11 victims?

        What is being discussed is whether or not Sarah Palin did or did not encourage the use of guns and violence in her postings. It’s very simple. And whether or not she has the guts and backbone to take responsibility for her own actions at this time.

  8. in_awe says

    Ditto for DailyKos scrubbing its site without comment about the posting last week of a liberal attacking Giffords and saying “she is dead to me now”. I am sure that the MANY examples of campaign graphics by Democrats with bulls-eye targets placed on republican Congressional districts and urging attacks on the Republican incumbent will be sliding down the memory hole as I type this.

    The denial by the left that they regularly use violence laced invective against the right is shameful. Stand up and take a look at your team before you self righteously point fingers elsewhere.

    As the details about the shooter keep revealing, he is a mentally deranged person whose use of drugs exacerbated his disconnect from reality.

    He said his favorites books included ones from Marx and Hitler – so was he a neo-Nazi or a Marxist?

    He ranted about enforcing proper English grammar – does that indict school teachers for encouraging violence?

    The guy was not a Republican or Tea Party member any more than his high school friends reporting his far left political leanings makes him a Democrat or progressive. Trying to politicize this tragedy is contemptible.

    • Donna says

      In many regards, you are absolutely correct. However, the natural tendency to go back and forth with who’s to blame is getting old.

      Bottom line, I had to cry when 9 year-old Christina’s dad told the reporter that she was born “…during a national tragedy and died during a national tragedy.” I am angry that we, as individuals, don’t take a few extra moments to filter what we say, consider the affect(s) of what we publish, and not accept responsibility when deranged individuals take our words literally. Many Democrats and Republicans alike (Sarah Palin [the subject content of the link in this post] and President Obama [on the recent mid-term campaign trail he said, "...if they come out with knives, we need to come out with guns..."] are two) have made the all too terrible mistake of throwing metaphors/rhetoric around without considering the overall ramifications!

      Left, Right, Center – we must take a step back and acknowledge that we ALL have a responsibility to one another to not only be civilized, but to realize that not everyone has the self control we believe we have. We’re all capable and often guilty of not filtering ourselves and then not being accountable for the consequences. For Christina and other victims, we should try biting our tongue!

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