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More on the Giffords Shooting

If my original posting on the Giffords shooting seemed a little truncated, that's because I truncated it. I originally intended to answer the "blame Sarah Palin" crowd, but decided it was better just to condemn the shooting itself , offer well wishes to the victims and leave the political bickering for later.

It is now later, so below is the rest of my original posting.

Many people are blaming Sara Palin. It seems like I see her name more than I see Jared Loughner's. (The question of who Jared Loughner is I will leave as an exercise for the reader.) It's because she put cross hairs on certain districts on an electoral map. It's pretty clear to me, and should be clear to any reasonable person, that this was a metaphor, and not a suggestion that anyone be assassinated. It is not Palin's fault that some people out there do not understand the concept of metaphor.

Someone could say "but not everybody's reasonable". That's true. A crazy person might respond to rhetoric in violent ways that a reasonable person does not. But do we want the standard of disallowable rhetoric to be anything that a mentally disturbed person might take as a call to violence? Do we want to ban the song Helter Skelter or the film Taxi Driver?

I'm not sure what Jared Loughner's motives were in shooting Rep. Giffords. I have not seen anyone present evidence he was a follower of Palin (and I'm sure if such evidence existed it would be presented by now.) From what I've read about him, he was quite the loon, and might have shot ANY congressperson. Or even any person.It's also possible that if  there were political reasons, it might have been because she was a blue dog and not far enough to the left for him. He might have been inspired by this piece from the Daily Kos:

My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!

But it probably wasn't. The point is, if  you are going to blame the shooting on anyone other than Jared Loughner, you are opening the door to blame to anyone who uses incendiary rhetoric.