Palin’s crosshairs and the First Amendment

As much fun as it is to call out the clueless Sarah Palin for her long list of gaffes, lies and inflammatory nonsense, neither she or her supporters caused the Arizona atrocity. If Jared Loughner, the suspect, is the culprit, it’s likely that we’ll find that he suffers from a serious mental illness — perhaps paranoid schizophrenia — and probably hears voices. Maybe he hears Palin. It’s just as likely he hears Zeus or the Green Hornet.
Palin has taken a lot of grief since the shooting spree because of an irresponsible image she used on her Facebook page during the campaign. In listing a group of Democratic Congressional seats that she wanted Republicans to win, she used a map of the United States and imposed images of gunsights over several Congressional seats. One of those was the seat held by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
(Palin has since claimed the image wasn’t crosshairs, but that’s nonsense. It was.)
In response, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.) wants to make it illegal to use such imagery. He told Fox News yesterday (via TPM):

“It wouldn’t be harm putting that in the bill. It is on both sides. It’s not a partisan bill. Again, we’ve got to stop our bickering amongst each other. We’re setting a bad example for the American people. We need to cut down rhetoric amongst each other. We can disagree without being so disagreeable,” Brady said.

I agree with Brady that we can disagree without being disagreeable. But his proposal for outlawing political speech is foolish and dangerous — as much a threat as a lunatic with a gun. The freedom that Americans enjoy to say almost whatever they like — especially in the political arena — is one of the cornerstones of this great democracy. Brady ought to be ashamed of trying to impose limits on that freedom.

There is no evidence that Loughner ever saw Palin’s Facebook page. But even if the investigation shows that he was specifically motivated by it, such imagery should not be outlawed. (Whether Palin should have used better judgement is quite another matter. She should have, as should all the violent-imagery-worshiping pols who have seen fit to invoke martial accessories for their ads.)

Last week, when Speaker John Boehner set aside time for the new House to read the U.S. Constitution aloud, U.S. Rep. Giffords read the First Amendment. Afterwards, she told several people that she was especially pleased that was the part she was given.

It would dishonor her for Brady to push a law that infringes on that sacred text.

544 comments Add your comment

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
6:58 pm

ND, sickening that people would stoop to creating false webpages (and I dont care what their politics are).

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
6:58 pm

Another example of the dangers of “right wing vitriol”….

MSNBC Matthews Cites Radio Stars Mark Levin, Michael Savage As Reason For AZ Shooting…

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:01 pm

Leg Lamp…I happen to be listening and that is a lie. Shame on you.

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:04 pm

CT’s appearance on Mathews is well done.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:04 pm

Keep up the good fight!

Why the hysteria? Just go to clearpolitics dot com and watch what matthews said.

Minister James

January 11th, 2011
7:05 pm

Shallow, hateful Palin actually thought that she was widely loved and admired. The truth is that most people can’t stand her. Not just so called liberal Democrats but most Americans period. As Barbara Bush so blithely put it; we wish she’d stayed in Alaska. She has been a pawn for people who actually consider her low-class. She’s on par with Pig Limbaugh. In life we all reap what we sow. Palin has just had a backlash of what she has put out there. Pig Limbaugh probably has cancer. That’s what he sows. Cancerous hate and devision. You people who follow these clowns are in more of a minority than you think. The whole world is watching you and waiting to see you suffer the consequences of your hateful direction.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:06 pm

By the way, am I the only one who thinks the creepy mugshot of the bald and smiling shooter reminds them of Uncle Fester of the Addams Family?

Jim

January 11th, 2011
7:06 pm

How do you reload surveyors equiptment? Crosshairs on a scope of a rifle/reload! Annie Oakley she is not. Poor Sarah she is the victim again.

Civil liberites was a liberal thing.

January 11th, 2011
7:06 pm

Retired early, the members of congress told Bush to invade Iraq,
C.T. done a good job on this one, it stired all the flys up around the milk churn this time. Somebody will spill the milk in a little while so everybody can cry over it.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:07 pm

Rev James. Please read your own post. Speaking of hate……

demsundance

January 11th, 2011
7:09 pm

No law shoudl be passed and free speech shoudl be preserved. but free speech doesn’t protect you from consequences. she might not have a legal responsibilty but more likely a moral responsibilty especially if they find this sociopath saw her facebook page.

that will be the reason why her approval ratings will fall and her negatives will skyrocket. 43 % people strongly dislike her, 29 percent strongly like her, and the others in between. interestingly only 4% of people are undecided about her which is not a good thing….

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
7:10 pm

Geez….I leave for several hours and the liberal diarrhea is still spewing from every orifice. Come on guys and gals take some Kaopectate or something. Every “reasonably” intelligent person knows that to the point there is absolutely ZERO, NADA, ZILCH evidence connecting this psycho to ANY political speech and/or rhetoric that has been surrounding us for some time now.

As far as we know he may have been set off by watching the Wizard of Oz or reading a recipe on the back of a Betty Crocker cake mix….

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:10 pm

Leggie…now why go to a website when I have it on MSNBC now.

Mathews also said Palin’s surveyor claim is idiotic.

Stein

January 11th, 2011
7:12 pm

This article has a number of misleading if not down right false statements in it. Palin is in no way at fault for the terrible tragedy that took place in Arizona. As for the @$$hat ctucker that said “In the wake of the weekend atrocity, all you can think of is to try to make Loughner a liberal? That’s where your head is? That’s pathetic” Is that not what the MSM tried to do and still is trying to do? Paint him as a conservative wingnut? When in reality the only quote on the matter from someone who actually knew him said he was a radical left winger. I’m watching MSNBC right now, and the past couple of hours of coverage on the network have been highly critical of rightwing commentators for doing exactly what they are doing in criticizing. Is it Fox that has that segment called “Psycho Talk”??? What about “Worst person in the world”? Is that one coming from the right??? Was it Chris Matthews or Glenn Beck who suggested it was only a matter of time before a CO2 cartridge was shoved in the neck of someone who he repeatedly disagrees with???? I could go on and on about the hypocrisy here, I think you get the point.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:13 pm

Hey libs, were you equally quick to pass judgement and spew your hate and disgust for Muslims after the Ft Hood shooter killed 12 people?

Gary Rockk

January 11th, 2011
7:13 pm

Cynthia is to ugly to be on TV.

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:13 pm

Get Real…now lets be honest. There are attempts by crazies on both sides to try to pin this on the other. Whether those posters are real or fake does not matter. We can all admit that there is vitriol language that is over the top. And bring the discussion back to the acceptable levels.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:14 pm

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:10 pm

If you claimed that I lied and that Matthews didn’t say it then yes, you need to go to the website I listed.

Stein

January 11th, 2011
7:14 pm

Is it Fox that has that segment called “Psycho Talk”??? What about “Worst person in the world”? Is that one coming from the right??? Was it Chris Matthews or Glenn Beck who suggested it was only a matter of time before a CO2 cartridge was shoved in the neck of someone who he repeatedly disagrees with???? I could go on and on about the hypocrisy here, I think you get the point.

John Nail

January 11th, 2011
7:17 pm

Cynthia I agree with you completely but Palin STILL has the map and post on her Facebook page even after cleansing the website on Saturday AM. Clueless?? Irresponsible? Pick a name…

...

January 11th, 2011
7:17 pm

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I know not,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:18 pm

Gary Rockk
January 11th, 2011
7:13 pm

Wouldn’t the nice thing to say was she has the perfect face for radio?

ck hall

January 11th, 2011
7:18 pm

You really can’t stand her can you? You LIbs kill me with your garbage!

lynn

January 11th, 2011
7:19 pm

If no one believes how Sara Palin entices violence just review the show that she did on TLC (the one where she was shooting the shotgun with her daughter) and listen to her say to her daughter “who are you thinking of when you shoot the gun” boy she sure speeks alot about violence and hurting people! She is very much enticing people!

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
7:21 pm

Keep…perhaps I am not objective, yes there is enough vitriol to go around to last several lifetimes but it came from the LEFT right out of the gate almost immediately upon the reporting of the Tucson tragedy.

I acknowledge that two wrongs to do make a right but you have got to admit that several on the LEFT, especially my favorite Paul Krugman and the NYT, were salivating at the opportunity to attack the right….

John Nail

January 11th, 2011
7:22 pm

FYI – On Saturday AM at 11 if you Google “Palin crosshairs” you got 490,000 pages. 5 minutes ago it was 15,700,000 pages. The echo chamber of the web will forever enshrine her mistake of using this as well as her Facebook page which STILL has her map and post up.

OldTimer

January 11th, 2011
7:22 pm

On the surface, it seems that the young man was reacting to his parents abuse of alcohol. Clearly he had an over reaction. There has to be a way to identify such people and prevent them from damaging others.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:24 pm

BILL CLINTON: ‘WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT THINGS WE SAY’…

Sort of like, “I did not have sexual relations what that woman, Miss Lewinski”……

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
7:24 pm

Rich sez: “The DCCC, itself, used the tactics of a map with targets over congressional districts. In fact, DailyKos used the tactic of the map with targets with this Congresswoman’s name on the map!”
——————————————————————-
I’m sorry you were so easily manipulated, Rich. The DCCC map had archery targets on them. And your Daily Kos reference was a rather cleverly photoshopped manipulation of an original post which didn’t contain the congresswoman’s name or targets. The manipulation was purposely done in hopes that lots of unknowing right wing followers would repeat the claim until someone believed them.
Perhaps the bigger question that should be raised in identifying such manipulation is why does anyone need to do it – especially over this incident?

Steveo

January 11th, 2011
7:25 pm

Thank you Cynthia for being a voice of unusual reason. Funny to hear you call anyone “clueless” though…

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:26 pm

John Nail
January 11th, 2011
7:22 pm

I just googled “John Nail” and it shows 27,600,000 hits. Your point?

dawg

January 11th, 2011
7:26 pm

CT–How wonderful, now you’re a psychic that can read Sarah Palin’s mind. Suggestion–why don’t you make a list of all things that you and your far left brethern would like to see made illegal and while you’re at it why not read the CONSTITUTION for the FIRST TIME….??

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
7:26 pm

Gosh Lynn….what was your opinion when Joe Manchin of WV was shooting a hole through the Cap and Tax bill in a campaign ad…did you have a problem with that or it was OK because he is a democrat???

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:27 pm

kevinbgoode
January 11th, 2011
7:24 pm

Would you prefer this:

OBAMA FLASHBACK: ‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun’…

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:29 pm

Real….I disagree with your statement of facts but it is of no real matter to the outcome. You can see my post this morning about Joh Stewart. The simple fact is that words have meaning and political leaders should be responsible. There are nuances in language and there are complete non-equivalence claims. It is absurd that the claim of a cliche “bring a gun to a knife fight” is compared to repeated references to guns, reload. Candidates who talked about second amendment remedies or who say if we’ll use bullets if ballots odnt work. People attending political rallies with guns, people having politicial rallies at gun shops where targets are shot and some included the names/initials of elected officials on those targets, Ms. Palin clearly failed the test of responsible discussion.

The vitroil needs to stop.

Jim A

January 11th, 2011
7:30 pm

Everyone can say what they want, but Sarah Palin’s political career is now over.

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
7:31 pm

Keep…we will agree to disagree

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:31 pm

Keep up the good fight!
January 11th, 2011
7:29 pm

“Ms. Palin clearly failed the test of responsible discussion.”

As did our POTUS

“OBAMA FLASHBACK: ‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun’…”

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:33 pm

Jim A

January 11th, 2011
7:30 pm

I believe we established that back in 2008.

STW

January 11th, 2011
7:34 pm

Minister James–I would love to come to your church and hear you preach one day. With the vitreol that spews from your mouth the congregants (probably less than a dozen) probably have a group picture at the post office..What a sick individual you are…

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:36 pm

STW
January 11th, 2011
7:34 pm

Minister james = Jeremiah Wright

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:36 pm

Leggie…I commented on that this morning, you are welcome to read it. It is of course a false equivalence.

Paddy O

January 11th, 2011
7:37 pm

You folks need to remember that Ms Tucker is 55, and even now is fairly darn good looking. If you have watched the Alaska show, you must concur that Sarah Palin is a genuine red neck, which explains the things she does, and her clipped, platitude filled commentary. However, she is a babe, which I believe led McCain to make his last mistake on his last run for the Presidency. Any sane Presidential candidate who spoke to her for say, 5 hours consecutive, would know she is NOT qualified.

Paddy O

January 11th, 2011
7:38 pm

Minister James is a hate purveyor. Sad anal sphinctor of a guy.

Paddy O

January 11th, 2011
7:41 pm

keep – you know the emotional language sells, and that there are two very deeply divided groups of American – with a gigantic chasm between them regarding how the government is operated & for what purpose. Neither aligns with my philosophy – but, I would prefer to lean toward repubs IF THEY CAN BALANCE THE BUDGET, as opposed to the Dems who have not desire to balance the budget. The preception of responsible discussion is in the eye of the beholder, and thus capricious & arbitrary. The better standard is: NO VIOLENCE.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:43 pm

Paddy O
January 11th, 2011
7:37 pm

And most Americans agreed back in 2008. So your point?

Educated, not deaf, independent

January 11th, 2011
7:44 pm

quod erat demonstrandum,
Every day, at some point, I listen to Boortz, Hannity, and Limbaugh. I am appalled at least once per day by the condescending and often vitriolic spun dreck that one or all of them put on the air. I think that they immediately went on the defensive (except Boortz who did a rerun of his program) yesterday because they know in their consciences that part of what is said about them being a negative influence on the general public is true. While I want to be educated on both sides of the arguments, these programs have become too much and I will not be listening anymore. I don’t need anyone to tell me these pundits don’t like me. They are too in love with themselves and their own opinions to care about me.

As far as Palin and her symbolism, it was decidedly stupid, but I don’t believe she intended someone to go out and shoot another politician. Now she should say that.

I

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
7:46 pm

Paddy..you are entitled to your opinion.

Leggie, just listened the Mathews clip again. Mathews said the 3 radio talking head mentioned are furious and participate in ugly talk. Perhaps you need to review the clip on MSNBC to be sure you are getting accurate information and not some edited clip put up by some wingnut.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:46 pm

Educated, not deaf, independent
January 11th, 2011
7:44 pm

“but I don’t believe she intended someone to go out and shoot another politician. ”

Wow, and you came up with that all by yourself? Amazing…….

The Leg Lamp is a "major award" much like CT's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

January 11th, 2011
7:48 pm

Keep up the good fight!
January 11th, 2011
7:46 pm

“edited clip”? How did you decide it was edited?