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A Joke, A Guy, A Gun, Six Bodies: Why We’re Careful.

So, here is a thing Sarah Palin had up on her website yesterday, for funsies, and for politics, and suchlike:

And here is why she took it down today, one imagines. It is a headline that came up today, while I was browsing my personal internet:

Doctors ‘optimistic’ for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery after Arizona shooting that killed 6

Published: Saturday, January 08, 2011, 4:46 PM


Because, no, Sarah Palin is not going to get a gun and shoot Gabrielle Giffords and/or anyone who gets in her way, while she’s shooting Gabrielle Giffords. Of course not! That’s wacky talk! So why would Sarah Palin think twice about utilizing images of crosshairs over the areas where people live, next to some words reading “It’s Time To Take A Stand?” That is just some effective rhetoric for a cause one believes in, designed to get people fightin’ and votin’ mad! No-one is going to be shooting anyone over this, right? No-one is going to grab a gun and start shooting. Because you’d have to be deeply fucked up and stupid and monstrous, to grab a gun and start shooting, over the “metaphorically shoot these people” Sarah Palin web poster.

Oh, whoops! One guy who saw that was deeply fucked up and monstrous! Oh, WHOOPS AGAIN: That guy’s got a gun. Oh, ULTRA WHOOPS: Gabrielle Giffords is, “optimistically” speaking, probably going to get better. And six other people are dead.

And that’s why we are careful. That’s why we pitch big fucking fits about the importance of being careful, because you know what? All it takes — all it ever takes — is that one fucked-up guy, out of however many people are listening to you. All it takes is that one guy. And you don’t know who he is. Or where. Or what he’s planning.

[EDIT: Kateoplis has video of Gabrielle Giffords talking about how the death threats and harassment are a little extreme — “Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action” — and really, people ought to be responsible and stop and condemn them, and the white guy interviewing her asks her if her reaction to the Palin thing isn’t a LITTLE unfair, and she says, y’know, maybe it’s not? But she’s not scared. Kateoplis has video of this conversation, about how Gabrielle Giffords finds this extreme and irresponsible but she’s not scared, from about nine months before Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at point-blank range.]

[But Sarah Palin took down the cross-hairs poster that Giffords said was inciting death threats against her. After Giffords got shot.]

[H/T Meredith for the graphic.]


  1. Rachel wrote:

    Ive been saying this all night on my facebook, and you managed to put all my jumbled, angry thoughts together in a single fabulous post.

    Thank you for all you do, Sady Doyle.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
  2. Sooz wrote:

    Graphic’s not showing up, at least on my computer.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink
  3. Adam wrote:

    THANK YOU! I am so glad people are calling out leaders who irresponsibly use the rhetoric of violence in their reprehensible brand of political theatre! In a totally unrelated note, I purchased a Tiger Beatdown shirt this morning! You rock!

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Jenny North wrote:

    @ Sooz: it doesn’t show up on my computer if I click on the post page, but it does on the front page. You can also view the graphic here, from Palin’s site:

    And now I’ll go back to screaming at my computer screen. Jesus fuck. Given that the shooter is supposedly a young white dude, let’s see how long it takes for him to be described as a troubled, isolated loner. Oh no, you could never have a mass, society-supported problem of white, violent, misogynist assholes, of course not!

    Wonkette has actually compiled a pretty disturbing roll of cognitive dissonance on the shootings here:

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  5. de Pizan wrote:

    Graphic’s not working for me either, but presumably it’s this one:

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink
  6. Sady wrote:

    Hmmm. The graphic shows up on my computer. Let me see if I can convert it to a JPG or something, or at least re-upload it. That might work better?

    Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
  7. Dell wrote:

    I waited until the shooter being an unhinged anti-government conspiracist was a matter of fact and not a “most likely” before throwing my hat in the ring re: this being a consequence of incisive political rhetoric, but: sure enough.

    And then I immediately thought about “Why I Didn’t Delete Tiger Beatdown”, and am glad to see that you addressed this already, and tied it to your own experience, even if you didn’t do so overtly.

    You hope people are learning…

    Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 12:21 am | Permalink
  8. Amadi wrote:

    Given that the shooter is supposedly a young white dude, let’s see how long it takes for him to be described as a troubled, isolated loner.

    We’ve got the extraordinarily popular “President Bartlet” character (from The West Wing) on Twitter beating that drum, saying that of course this person is a “mad man” because sane people don’t do these things, ergo, ipso facto, done deal. He’s a loon, move on, and don’t point fingers at Sarah Palin, we’re all to blame.

    We’re also getting a lot of “we’re all to blame, we all created the atmosphere in which this happened” rhetoric. People, even on the left, are scrambling to keep the focus on Giffords & Judge Roll & the little girl, but in doing so are sloppily and dangerously providing cover to Palin, Giffords’s opponent in November who had a campaign event built around shooting targets with a machine gun, Sharon Angle with her “second amendment remedies” rhetoric and other voices on the right who have a platform and have used it to plant these poisonous seeds.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 2:51 am | Permalink
  9. xtinA wrote:

    I’m still up looking for some sort of…I don’t know…answers?
    I’m so not buying that we’re-all-to-blame bullshit. I’m willing to do any number of things to stop fascism but not shoot people or even threaten to shoot them. And the ableism about the “crazy gunman”-oh my! Lots (like 36% of USians)have mental health issues but few of us go out and shoot people. *ranting*

    Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 4:03 am | Permalink
  10. SKM wrote:

    I saw another version of this graphic that said across the top over the gunsight map, “we’ve diagnosed the problem…help us prescribe the solution”

    Get that? Here are the targets, in the crosshairs, now help us “solve” them!

    But no, most people will swear up and down that there’s no possible connection between a climate of eliminationist talk and actual violence.

    If words have no effect on human actions, why all the $$ poured into commercial advertising and campaign rhetoric?

    Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  11. NJH wrote:

    What? ‘Crosshairs’ Palin’s “Don’t retreat. Reload.” campaign might have led to violence? That’s just crazy talk, you betcha.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink
  12. claudia wrote:

    I think it is likely that such language IS dangerous, and I believe that it should be abandoned. I do fully expect that all the hateful and violent rhetoric will one day lead to someone acting on it- but I won’t say anymore on that, because Teddy Roosevelt said it better.

    I do think that in this case it’s likely just that this one guy was cracked; not because he went and killed a lot of people (though that counts too) but because a lot of the stuff he’s posted on the internet has been revealed to be actually, honest-to-god certifiable, and not in any easily politically catagorized way. More like “words have no meaning, grammatical brainwashing”. He makes the time cube guy sound sane.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 2:01 am | Permalink
  13. orestes wrote:

    Palin’s camp is claiming they weren’t crosshairs, oh no. They are in fact “surveyor’s symbols.”

    At least they’ve had the sense to take the map down. Unsurprisingly, they lack the humility to apologise and have taken the weaseling out option instead.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
  14. PatientC wrote:

    Thanks for this article, and for keeping Tiger Beatdown going.

    On that video — I have been waiting for Chuck Todd to say he is sorry for blowing off Rep. Gifford’s concerns, but I have not seen it thus far.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink
  15. gogo wrote:

    If those were surveyors’ symbols, why remove them? Seems like taking them down proves they were targets.

    Isn’t Arizona the lovely state where armed people marched out in front of a venue where Obama was making an appearance—just because they could?

    That wasn’t meant to be a threat, either!

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink