gabrielle giffords shooting

w/r/t the Gabrielle Giffords shooting

I deleted my old Tumblr on Friday and it was my intention to stay away for at least a month. However, the Gabrielle Giffords shooting drove me straight back to the arms of Tumblr as I realised that this site has become my primary source of news, along with Twitter. I had to deal with some personal things yesterday, some of it related to this, so I didn’t have a chance to really process my thoughts on this. I will do so now, sorry if incoherent:

  1. This is the logical end of the heated rhetoric that has infested American politics since the election of President Obama. After voting for health care, Giffords’ office was vandalised. Tea Party terrorists (this word is entirely appropriate) tried to blow up a Democratic congressman’s home. We had a Senate candidate from Nevada speak of armed revolt and a chief of staff for a congressman say that ‘if ballots don’t work, bullets will.’ I was shocked when I heard the news but in a way, I wasn’t. The US has been a seething cauldron of economic malaise and political deadlock for a while. It was a matter of time before it bubbled over.
  2. I am so sick of the mainstream media that should be calling out Sarah Palin’s fucking bullseye thing (and this larger pattern of hate emanating from the right) either ignoring it or trying to equivocate between the right and the left. NO. This is not right. There is nothing, NOTHING on the American left similar to the Tea Party or Sharron Angle or 'don’t retreat, reload’ and it reeks of moral cowardice not to broadcast this as loudly as possible. I have realised how useless CNN is for some time now, but now, I don’t know if I’ll ever watch it again.
  3. Yes, we have freedom of speech. But there has got to be some responsibility for what you say. If you are one of the most prominent figures in the nation, you cannot go about using this sort of incendiary language. Words can have an effect beyond the result of the next election and we all seem to have lost sight of that. In this case, it’s entirely possible that Palin’s words led to bloodshed.
  4. My heart is aching for this little girl and the other victim and their families. Can we blame politics for this? No, especially as we aren’t yet sure of what motivated this rampage. But we do need to have a frank discussion as a country about gun control and mental health care.