Perhaps I was too quick to point a finger, a knee-jerk reaction to yesterday' shooting in Tucson. However, I cannot help but think had Sarah Palin not put the crosshairs of a gun sight on her website over those in districts who challenged her politics, districts that included yesterday's victim, Gabrielle Gifford, or had she not said "Don't retreat, reload," there wouldn't be a national discussion on whether or not Palin's responsible to any degree for the tragedy that occurred.
Perhaps, also, I was too quick to point a finger at those pundits who are given a voice on the airwaves advocating opinions without fact, even suggesting harm to those who challenge their sensibilities, but had they not called for violence, had they not fabricated mistruths, then there wouldn't be this conversation about them being culpable in any way.
Yes, there will always be senseless killings by those who are unbalanced, but had Ms. Palin and those many angry Opinionmeisters not created an environment implying justification to take out those who disagree with their ideals, then we wouldn't be having this debate. People who are given a platform should be more responsible in their message. It won't be as dramatic or as entertaining, but it appears we've had enough drama for quite some time.
After reading the several disturbing articles in today's New York Times about the nightmare surrounding Gabrielle Gifford, I moved to the Arts & Leisure section and began reading Dan Saltzstein's "The Comic Who Explores Comedy's Dark Side" where Marc Maron is quoted telling Dane Cook, "You've got to have rage, man. Because I see the posture -- your posture is built for rage." Maybe encouraging rage in a comedian will get laughs from stage, but there's nothing funny about someone being shot because the shooter was stirred by those who have been given a podium and, in turn, credibility thanks to our country's insatiable hunger for misinformation. It's time we agree to learn to disagree without making threats to permanently snuff out the messenger. At least the finger pointing, to a degree, will be abated.
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