This is a vile and hideous thing: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head point-blank at a public appearance in Arizona
. She and six others were killed. Giffords was one of the names listed on the "target map" Sarah Palin's PAC put out last March
. No way of knowing yet if the two events are connected; either way, Palin should have "refudiated" the map's message from the moment it was first released; will she at least have the decency to repudiate it now?
Assassination is never the answer, dammit. When I saw the horrific news about Giffords, I'd originally gone online intending to blog about yesterday's news that a package addressed to Janet Napolitano ignited in Washington DC
. As head of the DHS, Napolitano is personally responsible for every atrocity committed by any TSA agent -- but the way to solve the TSA problem is not
through assassination, damn it. And damn you
, whoever sent that package. And especially damn the gunman in Arizona who murdered Congresswoman Giffords.
What the hell is happening to my country?
EDIT: It's maybe 20 minutes later, and the news just said Giffords is in surgery. So she is not dead after all; I have no idea what her chances are, but of course hope the surgeons can bring about as full a recovery as possible.
SECONDARY EDIT: Still no word on the shooter's stated motivation, but even if he outright said "I did it for the glory of Sarah," I highly doubt Palin literally wants the 20 Democrats on her target list to be shot and killed; she's simply too goddamned dumb to understand why such imagery goes beyond the pale. Palin's dangerous the way a very small child is dangerous: not from ill intent, but utter cluelessness.
Lord knows I'm not above using emotive imagery rather than cool logic to discuss politics -- in my last anti-TSA column
I linked to a photo of a TSA agent on his knees feeling a traveler's crotch, then invited a hypothetical agent to "sniff my crotch like the dog that you are." So fine, yeah, I'll compare my political opponents to animals ... but "crotch-sniffing dog," while undeniably insulting (as was my intent), doesn't have the implied threat of, say, "cockroach deserving of extermination." In a years-ago blog post here I discussed the difference
between saying "I wish Fred Phelps would drop dead" versus "I wish someone would kill Fred Phelps." I'm fine with the former, not with the latter, and the problem with Palin is that she so often uses the latter mode of speaking, not even because she really believes it, but because she's too goddamned stupid
to realize why she shouldn't.
TERTIARY EDIT, 8:15 pm: So it appears the man who shot Congresswoman Giffords and killed five other people -- including a little girl only nine years old -- is a rambling loon whose motivation for the shooting only makes sense to people who also know which part of Catcher in the Rye
includes the message "go kill John Lennon."
With luck, Giffords will not only live, but make a full recovery. But a little piece of our democracy just died; for all the problems facing our country -- yes, and outright corruption and criminality, too -- our elected officials should well fear losing their jobs in an election, or even impeachment. Our bureaucrats should fear getting fired, with loss of all pensions and benefits. None of these people should ever fear for their lives, only their livelihoods in politics, and while I hope Giffords makes a full recovery, I also hope this leads to a toning down of the violent, vitriolic tone that's been paralyzing politics too long.