Sarah Palin: you have a right to free speech, but have you no shame?

It’s too bad someone could not stand up to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Rush Limburger Cheese and their ilk and say to them what that Army counsel said to Sen. Joseph McCarthy all those years ago: “… Have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency?…”

(Okay, I’ve now read the actual quote was, in part: “… Have you no sense of decency…? At long last have you no sense of decency?” )

Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whose head was made a symbolic target by Palin, darling of the Tea Party set, is critically wounded, a federal judge and several others, six in all, dead and some 20 people in all shot and all they can think to do is circle the wagons around their constant inflammatory rhetoric — and it is just that, rhetoric with little to no substance — and use the whole tragic event to continue to charge that people want to take guns away from American citizens, violating their Second Amendment rights, and to prevent Tea Partiers and others from exercising free speech.

It is not Sarah Palin’s fault that a deranged young man who had reportedly spouted off incomprehensible statements and posted disturbing stuff online took it upon himself to be an assassin. But certainly if she had any decency she would be contrite and publicly express some contrition (or at least shut up) about her own actions.

As everyone who follows such stuff knows, Palin had before the last election posted maps of various congressional districts with the cross hairs of gun sights overlaying the heads of various office holders, including Giffords, she felt the Republicans and Tea Party should go after (bring down in electoral defeat).

Because the issue of gun rights is such a hot button and such a draw, particularly among the far right, she used the analogy of the target range or hunting or war in her call for political victory over said opponents.

In a most tragic irony, the gravely wounded Tucson, Arizona area congresswoman, Giffords, was one of those with the Palin target on her head.

Then last Saturday (Jan. 8, 2011) one Jared Lee Loughner, 22, of Tucson, without warning, shot Congresswoman Giffords and the others in a shopping mall parking lot near a Safeway store while the congresswoman was meeting with constituents.

So does Palin lay low or offer quiet and circumspect apology? Well, she did lay low for a few days, but then in the modern, and particularly Palin style, she posted a video response where she can talk and not have to respond in person to any troubling questions.

I watched the video (as much as I could stomach). She seemed to be charging that her opponents were using the incident to stifle her — and to a limited extent she might be correct.

(In a New York Times article and elsewhere she was sniped at for using the term “blood libel” (you can look that one up), which she claimed described what she was being subjected to. On that I just felt she or her script writers were just using a little acceptable license in a kind of analogistic word play. But the disturbing thing is the fact either Palin or her detractors might see it appropriate to dwell on the ongoing political tug of war rather than the tragedy itself and how to prevent such things from happening, to the extent they can be prevented in a free and gun-toting society.

I think she could have defended her free speech rights and at the same time expressed sorrow that she had ever used the device of the targets, while assuring everyone she in no way meant it literally.

While I doubt Palin’s actions, or her actions alone at least, are what incited the nut case to act, it’s those type of actions that create an atmosphere in which certain nutcases are prompted to act. And it sets an evil, ugly tone in society that we would not want the younger and future generations to emulate or adopt. (And even though the nut case seemed to have been following  Palin’s right-wing-driven lead, some have described his rantings as left wing — but really there is not much difference between rants from the extremes.


In a bizarre twist to this whole thing, the suspect in last Saturday’s shooting tragedy in Tucson had been pulled over for running a red light, I understand, just before the incident. Kind of similar to the Oklahoma federal building bomber being pulled over for a traffic violation after the fact with no immediate connection made by law enforcement, which is all meaningless, except that it goes to show the police are not all-knowing — would you want them to be? We don’t want the police state.

On one extreme all would carry guns and be shooting it out with each other and in the other extreme the black helicopters would be circling and all citizens would be stripped of their weapons and personal rights. It’s extremism from all the political angles that is the danger.

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