by David Safier
There are rarely straight line, cause-and-effect relationships between political rhetoric and violence. But a constant onslaught of violent imagery and language directed at the government in general and political candidates in particular can almost be guaranteed to raise thoughts of violence in some individuals, and may promote violent actions in a few of them.
In the spring of 2010, Palin’s SarahPac had this image on its website:
Yes, those are gun sights on the districts Palin is “targeting.” Note that Representative Giffords’ name is on the list.
A similar, updated map with gun sights on Democrats still in office was on Palin’s Take Back the 20 website until today, when it was taken down.
Here is a screen shot from the Pima County Republican website announcing a Jesse Kelly event last summer.
I posted about it when it appeared in June. The pairing of “Get on target,” “remove Gabrielle Giffords” and “Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly” is too damned close for comfort.
This event was from Jesse Kelly, a candidate who used ads with photos like this:
The ad is included in a glowing World Net Daily story on Kelly titled:
I suggest Congressional Democrats create a resolution condemning violence-laced rhetoric directed at the government or at specific politicians. It should cite examples, including the use of gun sights on maps, suggestions that we may need to resort to Second Amendment solutions to government problems, and on and on. It’s a non-binding resolution which carries no more weight than a resolution condemning the use of the word “nigger.” People’s First Amendment and Second Amendment rights aren’t harmed. Congress should be able to pass it unanimously, unless some politicians think it’s OK to suggest that encouraging politically motivated violence is justified.
(h/t to the Maddow Blog for bringing some of these pieces together.)