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Targeting the Targeters

Yes, [the Republican] party has worked to achieve certain goals like repeal of the president’s health care reform law, and at times we have employed rhetoric like “massive government takeover” and “death panels.” Yet, while some have called this “troubling” and “irrational,” it certainly could not have influenced the shooter, for he was clearly troubled and irrational.

Chris Ryan at Political Relief, making fun of how the Republicans are backpedaling their rhetoric in the face of the shootings in Arizona. Sarah Palin has completely removed from her website all instances of the maps with the gun sights over Gifford’s district (among other things).



  1. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    The saddest thing about the announcement that S.P. has removed all references to gunsights and the Arizona Representative is that her action was more likely driven by fear of lawsuits than recognition that this type of rhetoric has to go away if we are to maintain a representative democracy.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 3:39 am | Permalink
  2. Jeff wrote:

    It’s interesting that such an incident would put the GOP into damage-control mode. If they are going to tote that this individual was mentally unstable, as the media is clearly portraying him, then why would they also be attempting to quietly distance themselves from their previously expressed criticisms of the victim and her support of HCR? Of course, I don’t know the mental state of the assailant, the reasoning behind the attack, or the reason for different people and groups reacting the way that they are.

    By the way, the radio host Tammy Bruce said that the gun sights on Palin’s site were “simply crosshairs like you’d see on maps” and said they could be seen as “surveyor’s symbols.” Has anyone ever seen crosshairs on a map?

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink
  3. starluna wrote:

    Jeff – My husband is a GIS (computerized mapping and spatial analysis) expert and teaches it regularly. I asked him about that. He said that there are some USGS maps that use surveyors symbols, which is a cross inside a circle, to indicate the point of intersection of latitude and longitude. When I showed him symbol used in the Palin map, he stated that it is clearly a gun sight and not a surveyor’s symbol. The difference between the two is that in the gun sight symbol, the cross extends outside the circle.

    My normally calm and not very excitable husband then went on to rant that the argument described by Bruce was “inane” and that the use of a gun sight symbol would be considered violent imagery by any cartographer or anyone trained in GIS. He doesn’t believe that Palin was necessarily promoting that the individual’s specified be shot, but the imagery is unambiguously violent.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  4. RR Anderson wrote:

    was so disturbed by weekend shooting events in AZ I drew a political cartoon about it.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  5. Chris wrote:

    The “surveyor’s symbol” excuse is so ridiculous that, ironically, it does more to prove they know their crosshairs targets went to far than if they had said nothing at all.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  6. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I think the reaction is from the Sheriff’s comments. The Sheriff commented – without mentioning any parties, networks, or names – about the state of political discourse. The right wing machine immediately bucked back against the “leftist” Sheriff and complained that specific people (Rush, Beck, Palin) weren’t to blame for this at all.

    What is funny/sad about this is, while it is true that they aren’t responsible for the guy’s actions and the guy probably didn’t have a political motivation…why do they mention specific people? And why those people? Why not Chris Wallace? He has been on Fox News for a while. Why wasn’t he included in the right wing machine’s response to the Sheriff’s comments?

    To me, this has to be self-incriminatory. If the shoe fits, wear it. If those people they mentioned were not engaged in inflammatory rhetoric, like Chris Wallace, Shep Smith, or the hundreds of other conservative news people/commentators that don’t participate in it on that level, there would have been no reason to mention them in the first place.

    So it is funny to me because it indicates they are obviously aware of what those people do. It is sad to me because they obviously don’t care about changing it.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink
  7. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    T32: You hit the nail on the head — to use a somewhat violent metaphor!

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  8. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    An interesting wrinkle — on Sunday I went to church (staid liturgical if you;re interested) and overheard a visiting young person comment offhandedly about the shooting: “It doesn’t matter if you shoot the right [politicians] ones!” If that’s not enough to prove that the NATIONAL dialogue has to change, I don’t know what is. By the way, this young person saw absolutely nothing wrong with his statement —

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    Add Bachman. As a mentally unstable person, she also has made threats.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink