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Sarah Palin Says She Is Not To Blame for Violent Imagery Using Violent Imagery

January 12, 2011
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05:  Jackie Holler poses fo...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Okay, Sarah, I get the whole idea that you aren’t responsible for what mentally ill people do, but did you have to rally on in your quest to prove you didn’t use irresponsible imagery by using violent imagery to try to make your point?

Sarah Palin released a video statement Wednesday calling the rush to pin blame on conservatives for the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., a “blood libel.”

“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” she said. “They begin and end with the criminals who commit them.”

In the eight-minute video, Palin says, “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.

Palin’s use of the charged phrase “blood libel” — which refers to the anti-Semitic accusation from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzo for Passover — touched off an immediate backlash. (see: Full text of Sarah Palin’s statement)

“The blood libel is something anti-Semites have historically used in Europe as an excuse to murder Jews — the comparison is stupid. Jews and rational people will find it objectionable,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic political consultant and devout Jew. “This will forever link her to the events in Tucson. It deepens the hole she’s already dug for herself. … It’s absolutely inappropriate.”

Palin has faced criticism this week for images that look like gun cross hairs she used to identify the districts of Democrats who were vulnerable in the 2010 elections, including that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot on Saturday.

Not a smart move, Sarah.  I know we are already on a first-name basis with the offensive comments, but seriously using a reference that was associated with drinking or eating children’s blood? That’s not even offensive, but in my opinion, another example of shining irresponsible stupidity.  Not a day goes by that I am surprised by Palin’s seeming lack of any concept of self awareness, but this appears to really cross the line into inciting violence.

Yesterday, my main critique (You can see the post below…) was that Sarah Palin has managed to turn an assassination attempt against a congresswoman and the death of a child, among others, into a story about her.

While Palin is now crying “free speech” regarding her imagery of cross hairs and Democratic candidates, there is such a crime as inciting hatred or riots, and I feel Palin is coming dangerously close to such criminality.  It’s one thing to speak freely, even if it’s offensive, but it’s a whole different issue if that speech is used as the impetus for a killing spree, which it appears in Palin’s case, it might have been.  (Well, she and the other Tea Party candidates who used hunting imagery to describe Democratic candidates.)

As another columnist comments, perhaps Palin’s response was a rallying cry:

Andrew Sullivan, the Atlantic: “This message—even at a time of national crisis—was a base-rousing rallying cry, perpetuating her own victimhood and alleged bloodthirstiness of her opponents. One would have thought that Palin, like any responsible person in her shoes right now, could have mustered some sort of regret about the unfortunate coincidence of what she had done in the campaign and what happened afterwards. Wouldn’t you? If you had publicly defended a map with cross-hairs on a congresswoman’s district, and that congresswoman had subsequently been shot, would you not be able to express even some measure of regret at what has taken place, even while denying, rightly, any actual guilt? Could you not even acknowledge the possibility that your critics have and had a point, including the chief Palin-critic on this, who happens to be struggling for her life in hospital, Gabrielle Giffords.”

Whether or not Sarah Palin wanted to be labeled things like, “firebrand,” or “terrorist,” as she has been described on other blogs, let us not forget that she has described herself as an animal that attacks, that is prone to violent attacks.  She purports to describe other people as “in her crosshairs,” which is an implied threat, in my opinion.  She isn’t threatening with hopscotch, but with gun imagery.  When someone says that he or she has you “in the crosshairs,” is that like saying you want to shoot them or are only looking through the scope of gun while looking at them?  And is it any better if you are scoping someone out with no alleged intent to shoot, as opposed to say using a microscope or magnifying glass as others might say?

Maybe the gun imagery is just another example of her undereducated state interfering with her mouth and nationwide acceptance of her, that she appears to be the back woods hick that looks at things through scopes as opposed to a magnifying glass and looks for Russia from her back porch.  Maybe it’s possible, and maybe that’s why she says “blood libel,” because she has no concept of history or the appalling terminology associated with the word.  Maybe, but that’s an awful lot of “maybe” to excuse something that sounds threatening to me and has ended in people dying.

Greg Sargent, “Unfortunately for Palin, Giffords herself was one of those who objected to the crosshairs map. ‘The way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district,’ Giffords said last March. ‘When people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.’

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