Palin’s Gun Targets & Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

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Sarah Palin has just put out a pretty weak statement regarding the tragic shooting of House Member Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of many others, including a federal judge.
As Giffords herself states in the MSNBC interview above, there can be consequences when politicos like Palin release campaign literature going after rivals with “gun site targets”. Palin owes the nation more than the statement she has posted on her website – - and she needs to get her followers to recognize that there is no place in our country for this kind of violence.
Here is the ad Palin put out after the health care vote:
palin targets congress people.jpg
– Steve Clemons

Comments

44 comments on “Palin’s Gun Targets & Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

  1. alene says:

    I am one pist off American today. It should be a crime for one political person to take out a hit on another political person, I’m just saying. What kind of example is Sarah Palin making for our kids, because if a student made a hit list and took it to school that student would be suspended or worse. How can a person who suppose to represent the people of the US encourage such violence and be allowed to go unpunished. The American people should be outraged from this kind of shenanigans. How people can make light of Sarah Palin’s part in this is short of being in denial. Sarah Palin own words said she targeted congress woman, and the outcome encouraged this violent act. It turns my stomach.

    Reply

  2. Cee says:

    My answer is that when it comes to the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, nobody has to seriously believe the charges, they are just desperate to find something that sticks.
    LOL! No retreat from you and a pitiful try at “reloading”

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    Well, it’s time for a little… Plato! But first, re-read some of Loughner’s writings and look for something that looks a whole lot like syllogisms, a little theory of the Forms, and a touch of critical thinking meets intro to poetry and some political tracts…. It’s all there in odd form. He’s working through what’s real and what isn’t, what guarantees truth and what doesn’t, what makes things exist and what doesn’t, how language and action structure the world. A budding philosopher? With voices in his head (all the odd outbursts in class would seem to be responses to voices, maybe).
    And now, on to Plato. One of the central issues in the Republic is the extent to which our nastier tendencies are caused by inner demons or outer demons. In the first run through an “ideal” city, Socrates settles on the outer demons theory. So he bans Homer, poetry in general, any depiction of crazy gods, rejection of death, strong emotion, raucous laughter, imitation, theater, most music…. All banned with the hope of eliminating the thoughts, feelings, and actions that these presentations can elicit in the audience.
    This banning spree rests on the idea of a naive, purely receptive, and utterly plastic audience that will respond quite badly as the creators of these images don’t really know what they are doing.
    As much as one feels one cannot ever be quite so plastic and responsive, as much as one feels one is never manipulated bu is always truth-seeing, one ought to be aware that images can manipulate, that one could be being used by image-makers.
    The naive philosophically able type in the Republic is subject to precisely this kind of manipulation. Without sophistication on the part of the audience, the image-makers really do have significant power.
    But Socrates is too thorough to park it here and let censorship be the only concern. He delves further into what makes us think what we think, fantasize as we fantasize, and act as we act. And in all honesty, he realizes there are indeed inner demons that don’t have a lot to do with external images, Homer, or, say, Sarah Palin’s target list.
    These inner demons come, Socrates suggests, from our dreams, from the three parts of the soul doing inner battle with one another (rational, war and honor-loving, and desiring parts). If there’s an inner war, it’ll bleed out. If we dream, and the rational part sleeps, the beastly parts will rise and battle. Sleeping life will invade waking life eventually.
    So, as we analyze this incident and all that surrounds it, we should not give in to the easy “it’s the target list” or “it’s absolutely NOT the target list”.
    There do seem to be inner and outer demons that work on our souls, that shape our fantasies, that encourage action based on fantasies.
    Jared Loughner clearly has inner demons. I think there can be no doubt that he was in the early to middle stages of some version of schizophrenia or whatever condition makes people do what he did, hear what he heard, think as he thought.
    But at the same time, he had access to a gun, he had access to anxiety about the government, to eliminationist rhetoric, to profound concern about the currency and its legitimacy, to both left and right freak out fantasies. All of this got mushed about in his head in pretty terrifying ways, and led to horror.
    Don’t simplify the situation, don’t reduce one set of demons to the other. He had both.
    The way that suicide terrorism in Pape, especially transnational suicide terrorism, is actually a pretty complex chain of events, so it is in this case. We need to be thankful it’s rare, we need to alter conditions as we can to make it rarer, we need to work on the kinds of external fantasy structures we create. We really need to know that there are plenty of people for whom metaphor doesn’t make a lot of sense, and we probably should be watching our metaphors.
    We also need to make sure that we have strong access to community mental health services. The cost is nothing compared to a news day like Saturday was. These families will never meet again intact. That’s a terrible cost to pay for the meeting of inner and outer demons that we didn’t try to avoid in measured fashion.
    (Note that Socrates gives up on the censorship regime by the end, and figures instead that we are just going to have to police ourselves. The social and political side will never consent to watching its own rhetoric. It’ll pay the cost eventually, as it does in Book X.)

    Reply

  4. Steve Clemons says:

    jonst — thanks for your note which is one of the few that
    acknowledges the tension between constructive and informed
    commentary and that which crosses lines. I’ve repeatedly said
    that I want a comments section that self-steers and that
    promotes responsible discussion. There are a few here that
    make the comments really toxic and seem unwilling to do their
    part in making the comments section something better than it is.
    i’ve just deleted quite a number of comments as I have only now
    gotten time to review them. When I have to spend too much time
    policing, then yes — i will shut comments down, and regrettably
    – I have deleted large swaths of comments made by people who
    regularly violate my standards here.
    All best and thanks for your note.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  5. jonst says:

    If this batch of comments does not prompt you to shut down comments permanently I don’t know what will.
    If I were in your position Steve the only thing that would stop me would the joyous, crazy, laughter I derive from ‘both sides do it’ moral equivalency bunch. Although the ‘Sarah’s cross-hairs map means nothing’ bunch rivals moral equivalency buffoons.

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  6. nadine says:

    This might be an appropriate moment to recall just how much time the Left spent fantasizing about political violence when Bush was President. Do you remember “Death of President”, the 2006 movie that presented an approving mockumentary of the assassination of George W Bush?
    Really, the Left is in no position to wax indignant over Sarah Palin’s mundane use of target clipart in her campaign literature almost a year ago.

    Reply

  7. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Jan 09 2011, 1:02AM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I have to say that given the ‘actual point’ there is nothing so despicable as the hypocrisy of providing the guns to kill others while whining about the one held to your own head.
    Maybe you should have studied more heavily on Ethics instead of Philosophy and then your opinions on real world reality might actually have some meaning.

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  8. nadine says:

    jd, Military metaphors are used on a daily basis during political campaigns.
    Here’s a link to a 2004 Democratic campaign graphic with bull’s eye targets over certain states:
    http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253055&kaid=127&subid=171
    “Targeting Strategy: Behind enemy lines. President Bush won nine states by single-digit margins. Those states should be ripe targets for Democrats.”
    Howard Kurtz applies some common sense to the situation: “Let

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    jd, the leftosphere has gone up in flames because Sarah Palin had a “target list” so it must be HER fault some nutjob (a very nutty nutjob too, from the information we know so far) shot Rep. Giffords.
    That sounds like accusations of Sarah Palin being “evil and treasonous” to me. This spread like a prairie fire too, which is not a measure of anything Sarah Palin actually did, only a measure of how much the left hates and fears her.
    Here’s a link to Chris Cilizza’s The Fix from last May, discussing Sarah Palin’s 20 seat target list, which came out on her Facebook page:
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/morning-fix/20100324-sarah-palin-midterms.html
    As you can see, Chriss Cilizza saw only a normal political campaign announcement – like everybody else did. Sarah’s Facebook page makes it perfectly clear that the 20 are being targeted for political defeat in the midterms, and were selected for their districts and their votes, nothing more. The hyper-ventilating is strictly in hindsight.

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “How about the possibility that she was targeted for being Jewish”
    Get back under your rock. Its the one over there marked “Pitiful Eternal Victim That Thinks The Universe Revolves Around Anti-Semitism”.
    *************************
    “If Loughner’s garbled thinking had settled on any particular political favorites, I’m betting on Ron Paul”
    Maybe. But my money is on Glen Beck. This wackjob, as described, seems emotionally and psychologically incapable of forming political biases on his own. Odds are he needed a daily dose of media wackjobbery to get his juices boiling.

    Reply

  11. Cee says:

    Bill,
    I only brought it up because of Nadine’s defense of Palin.
    This insane man (and accomplice)? could have made her a target because she’s Jewish or simply because she defeated a tea party candidate. We’ll find out.
    I don’t condone violence. Are we clear?

    Reply

  12. republicanshateamerica says:

    “Maybe the poor delusional guy was being used by another or others.”
    Yup: Sarah Palin, Sharron Engle, and the rest of the Tea Party Traitors

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Supposedly there might be a second person involved….an older man in his fifties according to the police.
    Maybe the poor delusional guy was being used by another or others.

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by Bill Pearlman, Jan 08 2011, 8:11PM – Link
    How about the possibility that she was targeted for being Jewish. Given the tenor of the talk backs on this blog. Which is actually somewhat reasonable has opposed to others, thats not exactly beyond the realm.
    I’m not sure I get anything from the the video lyrics except lunacy.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Maybe her being Jewish did have something to do with it–then again maybe her being a democrat, or a perceived ‘socialist liberal’, or, for or against, illegal amnesty had something to do with it, — maybe all those things had something to do with it in his mixed up mind…or mayne she was just a handy politician he could get to easily.
    However if “getting the Jews” had anything to do with his motives or was his main goal– I think he would have chosen to shoot up some temple or gathering where all his victims would have been Jewish.
    So, I think you are fishing in the wrong pond on that one.

    Reply

  15. Republicans Hate America says:

    The Tea Party did this along with the Republican Party. They are internal enemies of America and traitors to this country.

    Reply

  16. questions says:

    KOLD is reporting something second or third hand — someone in the neighborhood of the family house sold and moved because Loughner’s father is disturbing. Who knows. This could spin wider….
    19 people shot. The girl was 9, 3rd grade, born on 9/11, written up in a book about kids born on 9/11. She went to the event with a friend. The judge went just to say hi.
    And the suspicious coffee can in the parking lot at Gifford’s office is being looked at too….

    Reply

  17. Dan Kervick says:

    If Loughner’s garbled thinking had settled on any particular political favorites, I’m betting on Ron Paul.
    And I would agree that it is certainly possible anti-Semitism is one motivation, given the two pieces of circumstantial evidence that Giffords was Jewish and Loughner liked Mein Kamph.
    All of the the business about currency and gold standards and article 10 and such suggests an affinity with the radical libertarian right – Paul, Ayn Rand, etc.
    There is an alienated, paranoid, anti-government, anti-social element in the country where militia guys, left-anarchists, nativists and minutemen, right-libertarians, gold bugs and conspiracy mongers all come together and fuse.

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    The Pima County sheriff is pushing the rhetoric line. Good to hear that a sheriff notes that vitriolic rhetoric has consequences.

    Reply

  19. Cee says:

    Bill,
    The flag obsession belongs to Sistah Sarah.

    Reply

  20. questions says:

    Things we might end up finding out — the breakdown in community mental health support, easy access to guns, overwrought rhetoric, people kind of “knowing” that there’s something wrong but not really having any way to deal with that sense of things, desperate and incredibly sad parents of this guy who must have known that there was something wrong with their son.
    He clearly has something akin to paranoid schizophrenia (I’m not a diagnostician, and an internet diagnosis is likely way off base), he found patterns where there weren’t any (like John Nash who found words speaking to him from the NYTimes).
    The patterns were filled in for him by political rhetoric or he wouldn’t have felt the need to attempt suicide by killing a congresswoman and spraying a crowd and hitting a federal judge on top of it all.
    He could take this action because of the wide availability of guns and because he wasn’t taking his meds, wasn’t on meds, wasn’t supported… however it plays out.
    There are things we can’t control — schizophrenia happens to people and its causes are pretty much unknown. It shows up generally in the teen years or early 20s as far as I know.
    We can’t stop every crazy guy from pushing people onto train tracks or whatever.
    But we can take some basic responsibility for our language, for the way we duke it out politically, for our playing up eliminationist fantasies, for the wide availability of guns, for the dearth of social services that will only get worse because the only thing we seem to hate more than taxes is taxation.
    Our competitive electoral system creates the structural space for this kind of rhetoric, encourages escalation dominance games, and makes it pay off to use crazier and crazier rhetoric to gain an advantage. It’s a non-cooperative game, after all, so it makes good sense to use this kind of strategy to win elections, to get support, to mobilize people.
    But the check against all the crazy talk should be what Rawls calls a “sense of justice” — the feeling that there are some boundaries to how far we push the dear self. Without those boundaries, without that sense that, geeze, maybe I shouldn’t really push this line too far, maybe I should give up on the eliminationist rhetoric, maybe I shouldn’t encourage panic over currency or whatever the day’s line is, without that sense of justice, we create a background in which those among us who do have “issues” have a wide wide field to act in. And we’re not going to like this action.
    So if we make guns available, we cut mental health services, we preach eliminationism, we’re asking for this kind of day to happen again.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    Posted by Bill Pearlman, Jan 08 2011, 7:53PM – Link
    Jewish congresswomen gets gunned down. And no Carrol I’m not forgetting the others. Just don’t know their names. Yet people get off topic. Why
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am not off topic, I am dead on topic about our entire political class and their street gang mentality and tactics and how they fostered the state of politics we have today that attracts these unstable nuts to take this kind of action.
    And– I don’t know anything about Clifford and don’t care if she’s Jewish or not—what pray tell, does that have to do with this?

    Reply

  22. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Given Palin’s gunsight ad and Sharon Angle’s second amendment remedies can you quote any Democrat using these kind of metaphors in politics?
    Also, I would say Obama has been subjected to far more personal vituperation than Palin. Generally the criticism of Palin is about her intellectual capabilities. With Obama he is generally categorized as evil and treasonous. You tell me which is worse.
    You seem to be unable to handle any criticism of your favorites, be it republicans or Israel. You seem to have built an intellectual and emotional house of cards where acceptance of even a a slight criticism will crater your foundation.
    Can you bring yourself to admit that cross hairs targeting of political opponenets is probably never a good idea? Can you admit that a politician proposing “second amendment remedies” is never a good idea? I suspect when all is said and done we will find that Loughner was a paranoid psychotic and was intellectually incapable of being either left or right wing politically. However that may not be the case next time.

    Reply

  23. Bill says:

    Congratulations to Palin. Words DO have consequences and here we are. Sara had this congresswoman in her crosshairs. The angry/hostile/divisive and irresponsible words and attitudes of the far right have landed. No one should be surprised at the result. It is a sad day, but a very predictable day.

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    This is from one of the guy’s videos. He ended it by burning an American flag.
    “If there’s no flag in the constitution then the flag in the film is unknown.
    There’s no flag in the constitution.
    Therefore, the flag in the film is unknown.
    Burn every new and old flag that you see.
    Burn your flag!
    I bet you can imagine this in your mind with a faster speed.
    Watch this protest in reverse!
    Ask the local police; “What’s your illegal activity on duty?”.
    If you protest the government then there’s a new government from protesting.
    There’s not a new government from protesting.
    Thus, you aren’t protesting the government.
    There’s something important in this video: There’s no communication to
    anyone in this location.
    You shouldn’t be afraid of the stars.
    There’s a new bird on my right shoulder. The beak is two feet and lime
    green. The rarest bird on earth, there’s no feathers, but small grey scales
    all over the body. It’s with one large red eye with a light blue iris. The
    bird feet are the same as a woodpecker. This new bird and there’s only one,
    the gender is not female or male. The wings of this bird are beautiful; 3
    feet wide with the shape of a bald eagle that you could die for. If you can
    see this bird then you will understand. You think this bird is able to chat
    about a government?
    I want you to imagine a comet or meteoroid coming through the atmosphere.
    On the other hand, welcome yourself to the desert: Maybe your ability to
    protest is from the brainwash of the current government structure.”
    Sounds fustrated over protest and his bird obviously symbolizes something to do with the US gone wrong as a monster bird with the red and blue.
    He says he served in Afaghanistan but no proof of it yet.
    With all the stuff he put out someone around him should have noticed he was in melt down.

    Reply

  25. humanity weeps says:

    For the one size fits all, islamofascists blah, blah, blah fools:
    “Thousands Of Egyptian Muslims Show Up As

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    I am furious over a innocent 9 year old child being killed in this. The politicians need to blame themselves.
    Our two sleezy political parties both started this fight among Americans….Cause?…neither one of them represent America, they just spin crap and have pretend fights to incite the public
    and distract them from what they both are actually doing.
    Now we are going to have a week of listening to how we have a democracy–how all America has been attacked –oh gawd! bomb Az!– and more dribbling, drooling spin on how this will make it harder for them to listen to us –as if they ever have– and then next up will be a trillion dollar congressional bill for security for politicians.
    There will be more of this no doubt–the frustration level in the US is reaching the boiling point — the politicians better pray it stays just lone nuts acting out and never becomes organized.

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    “Still, the use of suggestive political ads and fomenting rage based on targeting and violence is contributory to the environment — and ought to be condemned by any right thinking individual.”
    I agree with that. And it is also just not true that “everybody does it.” You can find that kind of iconography of targets and weapons in the turgid propaganda literature of both the militant right and militant left. But it is very strange to see that sort of thing from mainstream political figures, particularly one who was a major party candidate for the vice presidency.

    Reply

  28. DonS says:

    What you say might well be true Dan. I know from personal working experience with the largest US massacre of the past decade, mental imbalance must be a factor.
    Still, the use of suggestive political ads and fomenting rage based on targeting and violence is contributory to the environment — and ought to be condemned by any right thinking individual. No equivocation. That’s hardly too much to expect in a ‘civilized’ nation.

    Reply

  29. Dan Kervick says:

    Based on his videos, the guy seems like a fairly typical black helicopter psychotic: the government is controlling our minds, controlling our grammar, making us pay taxes in fake money not backed by gold, etc. He says he’s responding by creating his own currency, etc. His sentence structure is very disordered, and his obsessions with sleep, sleepwalking and waking dreaming suggest to me that he might have been suffering from some severe sleep deprivation.
    I doubt it makes much sense to classify him politically as any kind of wingnut of either the far left or far left. He comes across as quite intellectually disintegrated. This seems like more of a Son of Sam case than genuine political violence.
    Of course, people like this are often attracted to extremists and extremist rhetoric, or set off by something they have heard in the press on one side or another.

    Reply

  30. Cee says:

    Giffords Opponent, Jesse Kelly, Held June Event to

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    Of course this fruitcake was a leftist. Not only did he read
    Mein Kampf. Among his favorites he also listed Animal Farm,
    Brave New World, Odyssevs, The Republic, Meno, Alice In
    Wonderland, and The Old Man And The Sea.
    Do you need further proof that he was a Trotskist with
    sympathies for Malcolm X and the United Nations?

    Reply

  32. Maw of America says:

    Let the false comparisons of the left and the right commence… Right on cue, Wag!
    Let’s see – On the left, you pretty much have to go back to the Sixties and Seventies (unless you include the radical animal-rights groups). On the right, you have Waco, Oklahoma City, and now Tucson.

    Reply

  33. DonS says:

    “Everyone knows that Mein Kamp is beloved in the Muslim world; which side is it today that makes excuses for Islamofascism.”
    Wig wag takes another unconscionable cheap shot.
    I wouldn’t jump to conclusions either, although the odds on are RW, If that turns out to be true, no doubt we can expect the Sarah bots to walk back their pique?

    Reply

  34. Cee says:

    Perhaps Giffords (who is Jewish) doesn’t have an Israeli flag hanging in her office like Nadine’s girl Palin did.

    Reply

  35. Judy says:

    This is ridiculous. How Sarah Palin is responsible to the tragedy today is a stretch on the left.
    Maybe what the media or the liberal media should be looking at is that this guy is a communist and for the most part a representation of their ideology. so get a grip and try to think critically.

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    “The thing is that on can have paranoid thoughts or feelings, but the paranoia will latch on to something in the world. ”
    You mean like declaring that my knowledge of computer programming is proof that I work for the Mossad?
    The thing about paranoia is that it is self-sustaining: to a paranoid, the slightest coincidence will do for proof.

    Reply

  37. questions says:

    Loughner seems to have something of a history of, umm, thoughts (?)
    KOLD Arizona is streaming in the background via the WaPo and they will be interviewing a classmate from HS and have hinted at this.
    Loughner has gold standard issues, some mind control anxieties, gov’t anxieties….
    The thing is that on can have paranoid thoughts or feelings, but the paranoia will latch on to something in the world. The real question is whether or not violent and eliminationist rhetoric is such a latching point. It seems certain that it could be.
    There was, by the way, a “goodbye” on his MySpace page, so probably this was a suicide/murder not merely a murder. But he survived. So, yes, crazy guy, but crazy guy fed a set of ideas that aren’t likely the best ideas to feed people.

    Reply

  38. WigWag says:

    Palin’s rhetoric may sometimes be overblown and even border on the irresponsible but that makes her no different from many politicians on both the right and the left. In fact, it makes her no different than a few of the frequent commentators at the Washington Note.
    In the meantime, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the nut job that carried out the shootings was motivated by right wing politics nor was a member of the Tea Party. In fact, according to Politico, early indications suggest that he had a left wing orientation.
    According to his You Tube profile his favorite books were

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    I think we know who’s lost their mind nadine, and it’s not Steve.
    All Sarah Pallin’s rabble rousing and pointed gun imagery has come home to roost.
    Now that she is a rich woman, we can only hope that she is finished, for good, in politics. She could have avoided much ‘vituperation’, I suspect, but the money has been too good.
    As has been frequently said of you nadine, you are a piece of work.

    Reply

  40. crister says:

    So what, is Palin finally going to get real blow-back for all the foolish things she says and does? I’m waiting for the self-engineered outrage that people like her will come up with when their actions and over the top comments will be tied into this thing in some way.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    kos has up MySpace and YouTube transcripts from a person who shares the name of the gunman.

    Reply

  42. questions says:

    Jan Brewer is speaking and she’s distancing political rhetoric, the gunness of AZ, the rancor between the parties from this incident.
    Until we see that yes, there are crazy people, but no, the particular response to inner demons isn’t necessitated but rather can be responsive, we’re not going to get anywhere at all.
    Our rhetoric matters. It sticks in the heads of people and guides their actions in various ways. Most people indeed don’t fire point blank into MCs’ heads and then spray crowds, but why is it ever a response to anything to shoot this way?
    Competitive politics makes structural space for a lot of rhetorical turns. Moral sense, what Rawls calls “a sense of justice” needs to limit the possibilities.

    Reply

  43. Keith Porter says:

    I think it goes without saying that this kind of graphic is deeply irresponsible regardless of the party or political beliefs of the person who posted it. Did it cause the shooting? Hopefully not. But I hope whoever created it and endorsed it (and the people now defending it) understand that there is no place for this in politics. And we will never fix what is wrong with this country as long as leaders resort to this kind of imagery.

    Reply

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