Saturday, January 8, 2011

Where Inflammatory Rhetoric Can Lead - Congresswoman Shot in Arizona

There are just initial reports that a Democratic Congresswoman has been shot in Arizona while holding a public event. While it is scary and shocking, unfortunately I can't say I am truly surprised. If you listen to the rhetoric and inflammatory language from the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann and others, it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to envision crazies acting upon their words. It has been a turbulent time with a bad economy, high unemployment and people getting frustrated and angry. Just take a look at some of these quotes and try to tell me that these people aren't inciting violence.

"I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies [emphasis added] and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." Sharron Angle

"Don't retreat. Instead - reload" Sarah Palin

"To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter." Glenn Beck

"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous [emphasis added] on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." and "...having a revolution every now and then is a good thing" Michele Bachmann

Huffington Post is live blogging updates here. Apparently at least 12 people were shot, and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot point-blank in the head. There is no word on her condition yet. This is a horrible incident and one that should make the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs of the world think very carefully about their words. I certainly hope this is an isolated incident and doesn't lead to more violence.

UPDATE: It is being reported that Representative Giffords has died. What a sad day. My thoughts go out to her family and loved ones. We are speculating about the motive of the gunman, but whatever the case, I truly believe words have power, and the rhetoric in this country needs to be toned down.

UPDATE2: Apparently, Representative Giffords may be alive. NPR, CNN and Reuters have all retracted that she has died. She is in critical condition.


Christine said...

Amazing that comments won't show...

Christine said...

Hmm...let's try this again.
It is amazing to me that you would take words and twist them so. These quotes are totally taken out of context. The young man that did this shooting was not a conservative, he was a left winger. You might want to get the whole story before you get on your soap box about hate speech while spewing hate speech.

Anonymous said...

I don't think calling for people to choose words carefully is spewing hate speech. And it's pretty hard to find any other meaning or context for "2nd amendment solution" other than using a gun.

ElisaC said...

Christine, I tried posting a comment several times yesterday and could not, so I think Blogger was having some issues.

We actually don't know the specific politics of the young man who did this. A high school chum said he was left-wing in several years ago, big deal. So was Dennis Miller! He had books representing the most far left and most far right you can go, big deal. He had weird anti-federal government ramblings on his sites...more associated with the right, but still...hardly conclusive.

What is clear is that he was psychotic.

But is' also clear that the language quoted above is totally irresponsible and inappropriate for party leaders, and bonafide media stars of that party to spew.

I have certainly seen far left bloggers or people in large crowds at Democratic rallies go too far, absolutely. But I have not seen anyone cite someone at the level of prominence of the above people using such language.

Bring it, if you've got it. But no one else has yet.

Alicia said...

I totally agree with Cristina. It amazes me that depending on whether one is on the Left or the Right, we see this issue so differently. Is anyone on the Right willing to admit that this type of rhetoric can and does fan the flames of an already volatile situation? No one is blaming any of these policitians/pundits/personalities for the events that occured last Saturday-we are simply asking these individuals to think about how this language can be perceived and then speak. We are, in a reasonable (not hateful) manner, asking them to be responsible for their own words.