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

[...] the last major presidential campaign we began to see incited riots based on inflaming language. Now I really hate to sound politically incorrect, but my memory serve me in this way. The real [...]

WAR

January 11th, 2011
12:40 pm

the arizona murderer was not a leftie or rightie. he was a crazie.

mary sellers

January 11th, 2011
12:40 pm

I stumbled across this article and wanted to respond. I find it inflammatory. Cynthia, you state up front in your article that Sara Palin is liar, speaks nonesense and has made gaffes. Cynthia, I put a lot of stock in speaking the truth. Would you please tell just what lies Sara Palin has told. I can understand gaffes, don’t bother getting back to me with those, but lies bother me. Thanks

Avenger

January 11th, 2011
12:41 pm

Scout. “Headline (ABC) : “Lone Wolf Killers: It’s About Fame, Not Politics” What you might want to believe might be true. In that same piece, a young woman who hung with the same group as this guy said they played music together and talk politics. They talk about changing politics. He talk about politics,he voted, he went to political meeting, and he shot a politican. Why are a lot of people running from the fact that this guy could have done this because of politics. I understand Limbaugh’s and Hannity’s motive. The guy apparently was alunatic, but that doesn’t mean that some of the stimulants that stimulate you don’t stimulate him. It obvious a lunatic responds to some stimulants in a lunatic way.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 11th, 2011
12:41 pm

Enter your comments here

zeke

January 11th, 2011
12:41 pm

Finally after how many ever years, I can agree with one of you opinions! Probably will never happen again!

verbotten

January 11th, 2011
12:42 pm

Fed Up @10:30 am “Don’t think the guy is a nut case. If he was he would have gone to any public arena and kill innocent people. He went to the meeting specifically to shoot a liberal politician.”

More to the point, he went to an event to shoot a *specific* politician who he appears to believe “dissed” him before. According the WSJ, “He wrote notes that suggested a grudge against Ms. Giffords over a perceived slight during a 2007 public event.” “That interest might have triggered Mr. Loughner’s first meeting with Ms. Giffords in 2007. Mr. Loughner said he asked the lawmaker, “How do you know words mean anything?” recalled Mr. Montanaro. He said Mr. Loughner was “aggravated” when Ms. Giffords, after pausing for a couple of seconds, “responded to him in Spanish and moved on with the meeting.”

WAR

January 11th, 2011
12:43 pm

mary sellers

the “death panels”
maybe that wasnt a lie… but it definitely wasnt the truth.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 11th, 2011
12:44 pm

Yeah, those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but dummycrats do anyway, just sayin…

MarkV

January 11th, 2011
12:46 pm

Paddy O@11:36:
You should pay more attention to what you respond to.

Chris Matthews

January 11th, 2011
12:47 pm

MS TUCKER IS THE WORST HATER OF ALL!

WAR

January 11th, 2011
12:47 pm

today is a remarkable example how CT writes an opinion, and many on here who have disagreed with her before, now agree with her. just goes to show that we can find a balance in our conversation even when we dont agree.

Commonsense

January 11th, 2011
12:51 pm

If you want to gauge what the kook leftists are up to, this is the blog to read. Cynthia, “irresponsible” is having a President that talks about destroying your “enemies,” putting your foot on their throats and bringing a gun to a knife fight. All comments your Messiah has made. The rage is from the left, and has been for the better part of the past 8 years. Let’s recap what FACTS we know about the shooter:

-Registered Independent (9 times out of 10 actually means you are a Dem)

-Fan of Mein Kampf

-Refers to US officials as “Zionists”

-Hates God

-Hates Christians

-Loves drugs

-Burns the American flag

Nevermind the fact the people that actually know him, HIS PEERS, refer to him as a leftwing, pothead nutjob and extremist, and also comfirm he’s had an issue with the Congresswoman since a year ago (long before her Nazi healthcare vote), all lead to one simple, and obvious conclusion….

Nice try on the spin, but as usual, no cigar ;)

Avenger

January 11th, 2011
12:53 pm

Kayaker. “Rational political discourse lost out quite awhile back and there is not much hope of it returning….. not while these idiots are in the White House ” Hey- you left out BOZO. You are too old to do the moon walk – you might hurt your self. Of course every one knows that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. “you shall return”

WAR

January 11th, 2011
12:53 pm

i wish palin would say something about the incident beyond facebook or tweets. i am no palin fan, but i really dont want her to get canned on this one. that would not be fair.

james

January 11th, 2011
12:54 pm

DK- leadership does start at the top, doesn’t it

hind tit

January 11th, 2011
12:55 pm

It’s a shame it takes a tragedy for you to use good judgment.

WAR

January 11th, 2011
12:58 pm

commonsense

he sounds more like a terrorist or supremist. you do know there are libs who love God, dont do drugs, burn flags, and are christians.

Commonsense

January 11th, 2011
12:58 pm

And to further add to the “well she voted for Obamacare” spin, this quack was a fan of Mein Kampf as I stated above. Every intelligent, educated person knows that Hitler tried to establish Nationalized healthcare when he first took power of Germeny, so someone please explain to me why someone who appears to be a fan of Nazism would then be angered at someone for voting in support of the same type of healthcare??? Your spin is riddled with holes people.

quod erat demonstrandum

January 11th, 2011
12:59 pm

I do think some speech should be restricted – Cynthia’s is definitely close to hate speech in her attack on Palin.

I think most of the left should be muzzled.

Regarding the fairness doctrine, All the leftie shows should have at least one conservative on the payroll. Not a RINO, but a true conservative.

When the shoe is on the other foot, it sounds kind of nutty – doesn’t it.

Scout

January 11th, 2011
12:59 pm

Avenger :

There is some truth in what you say but there is no way to get into his head.

However, the is always a price to pay for freedom.

Commonsense

January 11th, 2011
1:01 pm

WAR,

Just like there are supposedly Muslims that don’t support the killing of innocents and just want to live in peace and get along, right? You never hear from these people. I do agree with your assessment, but if one had to label this POS one way or the other, he’d be a lefty, just like his former friends and classmates have stated.

Civil liberites was a liberal thing.

January 11th, 2011
1:01 pm

The liberals started this type of disorder way back in the sixities. They used the 1st to be able to protest the war, burn the flags, burn their draft cards. They turnned the younger kids into hippies following them into the liberal way of life, The schools started using all of the liberal minded teachers to transform this country into a bunch educated protesters. This is what caused the Kent State shooting in the 70’s. THe liberals have always used the 1st for their purpose, and when it backfires on them,blame the republicans. Now they have the tea party to blame. Sara Palin is more of a leader than 90% of the people we have in goverment. People do not like her because she is real. She hunts, fish, takes care of her family and life. She has beenm the butt of so many jokes and still standing tall. She had to give up her job as governor because the liberal madia would not let her do her job to help her state. She did what was best for the state.
It does not matter what any of us say here, nothing is going to change what happen this weekend. You can not stop one person from doing something he has set his mind to do if no one knows he is going to do it. Blame the shooter, blame his family, don’t blame anyone else.

LD

January 11th, 2011
1:03 pm

Claiming that Loughner was influenced by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the Tea Party is akin to claiming Hugh Chavez was influenced by George Bush or Ronald Regan was influenced by Fidel Castro.

But never let fact-less comparison stop a liberal from baseless accusations.

Commonsense

January 11th, 2011
1:05 pm

WAR,

And as far as Palin needing to defend herself, are you serious? Defend herself from who? The same lefty headcases that have been desperately trying to pin any and all tragedies on the right since the beginning of time? Why even acknowledge their flith?

That’d be almost as stupid as Christine O’Donnell feeling the need to explain she’s not a witch. Sarah is smarter than that, no way she’ll be baited into feeling she needs to defend herself from the actions of a disturbed, angry libnut with a gun.

DK

January 11th, 2011
1:06 pm

James, please clarify comment.

Last time I checked, Palin is not the leadership of anything. She is not the leader of the Republicans, she is not the leader of the Democrats and there is no defined Tea Party leadership, so she can’t be the leader of that.

Nice try though.

WAR

January 11th, 2011
1:08 pm

civil liberties
you do know that civil liberties began with the republic when we wanted our independence from the brits… right?

WAR

January 11th, 2011
1:11 pm

commonsense

defend herself from the accuasations that are being leveled against her is all. this is what leaders do. they lead. this is a chance to demonstrate she is a leader during times of tragedy. isnt this what we expect from (future) presidents.

james

January 11th, 2011
1:12 pm

DK- misread my comment I think. Comment was to Obama’s inflammtory rhetoric.

MarkV

January 11th, 2011
1:13 pm

LD: Claiming that Loughner was influenced by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the Tea Party is claiming something without evidence of it. Claiming that he was not influenced by those people is the same.

Hootinanny Yum Yum

January 11th, 2011
1:14 pm

“Bullseye”
“Behind Enemy Lines”
“Targeting Strategy”

verumserum.com/?p=13647

retired early

January 11th, 2011
1:14 pm

Commonsense

“…everyone knows that Hitler tried to pass National Health ….”.
Actually “everyone knows” is an all too common false statement by you on the right…Germany has had National Health Care since The mid 1800’s … Yes, I said 1800’s . Everyone pays 10% of income…regardless of income level…and their health care is the best around . BTW you obviously have some form of health insurance and therefore , don’t really care about your fellow Americans who do not…typical right winger .

DK

January 11th, 2011
1:15 pm

OK James, thanks for clarifying.

fultonresident

January 11th, 2011
1:16 pm

According to Dudley any gun seller is free to sell semi automatic guns to any crazy loon and Walmart is entitled to sell him magazine clips regardless of his behavior and no one under circumstances can hold them accountable. This is what Sharon Anglin calls “second amendment solutions” isn’t it?
Just put the money in the cash register, pay your NRA dues and “reload.” Maybe we can just start selling them in vending machines.Can’t hold a vending machine accountable either.
But I do agree with Cynthia Mr. Brady is going down the wrong track and attacking the wrong part of the constitution – freedom of speech. It is the second amendment we should be focused on,

There you have it...

January 11th, 2011
1:19 pm

The extremists on the far right own this tragedy… Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Palin… They have pushed the boundaries of violent rhetoric and have encouraged deranged individuals such as this fool to act out. They can white wash this all they want and try and link this guy to the liberal left… But when you hear his comments about the government enslaving the people and the Gold Standard… it’s full on Beck and Limbaugh.

Ice Station Zebra

January 11th, 2011
1:22 pm

“…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.”

His looney proposal is about as likely to go anywhere as the snow ‘n ice is to melt off my driveway today. He’s one guy in the minority party in the House of Representatives. There will probably be a few more similar kneejerk-type ideas from fellow Dems before this is over.

BuzztheKiller

January 11th, 2011
1:23 pm

I am no Sarah Palin fan, I think she is a distraction from serious conservatives issues, and more of a celebrity than anything (in other words- entertainment), but she is no more to blame for what happened in AZ than is Obama who uses inflammatory speech all the time. Of course, Cindy is not going to call out his highness in her weekly anti- GOP column. Hilarous to run down the titles of her columns- do you dream about Republicans? Do they scare you? Or is it your job? So much for journalism.

DK

January 11th, 2011
1:23 pm

There you have it-
It was President Obama that said to bring the gun to the fight. When did those in your post say it?

midtownguy

January 11th, 2011
1:25 pm

Cindy writes a positive post about Republicans just as often as Kyle and Jim write positive posts about Democrats.

BuzztheKiller

January 11th, 2011
1:28 pm

There you have it- I personally don’t listen or watch any of the shows you mention, but have you ever watched Rachel Madcow or Keith I used-to-be-a-sportscaster-but-got-fired-and-this-is-all-I-could-get Olberman? There are plenty of idiots all around. Just read some of Cindy’s columns and the comments that follow for proof.

Real Athens

January 11th, 2011
1:33 pm

Commonsense:

Try using some — read a book or use your internet connection for something other than flaming uninformed views.

Hitler had nothing to do with NPH in Germany or Austria, or at least, not with organizing it. And that’s by 62 years, incidentally.

Germany, like almost the the entire civilized world EXCEPT the UnitedStates, had universal national public health a very long time ago, and the right wing Nazi scum bags were not involved in its inception in 1871, which was under the almost equally conservative Bismarck Plan.

We are about 100 years behind in this aspect, and 37th in health care, worldwide. We are the most expensive on the order of four to fifteen times, depending upon which cost area is under discussion.

But the right wing Nutzies had nothing to do with enacting that legislation.

BOB

January 11th, 2011
1:36 pm

Maybe he hears Palin. – Maybe he i very, very sick and hears the voices of Tucker and Bookman

Wilma

January 11th, 2011
1:37 pm

Using the killings in Arizona for political advantage however slyly reveals a heart committed to politics above humanity. The partisan sherrif in Glendale chose to seek a partisan advantage without regard fo the facts of the case and without including the excesses, some extreme, of those who share his politcal perspective.
The feds took over the case so we don’t have to wonder if he is too political to actually investigate the case.

sally

January 11th, 2011
1:39 pm

Roger Ailes, Prez of FauxNews Channel-has asked the three stooges of hate (beck, hannity, o’reilly) to tone it down. Guilt is a powerful emotion.

Commonsense

January 11th, 2011
1:40 pm

WAR,

How bout this. I will agree that Palin should defend herself. She should defend herself with as much effort as Obama did his relationship with Bill Ayers, being a Kenyan, having a birth certificate and being a Marxist. Fair enough?

Tea Party Meber

January 11th, 2011
1:40 pm

Her stance on ileagle emmigration was a joke.

Kamchak

January 11th, 2011
1:42 pm

I personally don’t listen or watch any of the shows you mention…

It never ceases to amaze me when I read this kind of statement, ’cause Fox News is supposed to be the most bestest news network like eveh, on account of it has the mostest people watching. Same thing with Rushbo—20 million people reportedly listen to him daily, yet just like Peter, they deny El Rusbo.

Is that a rooster I hear crowing in the background?

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
1:46 pm

Nah, Kam, if there were a rooster, we’d be also hearing about “ilegals”. Oh wait, we are.

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
1:47 pm

Words only have important influential meaning when a retail clerk accidentally says “Happy Holidays” in front of a rightwing activist.

retired early

January 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

Bob

Former President George W Bush acknowledged that God spoke to him and told him to run for president . Personally , that is pretty scary when you think this man was in charge of this country for 8 years . God probably also told him to invade Iraq .