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

Commonsense

January 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

Simpletons,

Obama’s bill is the same as Hitler’s Enabling Act. Hitler’s version, just like Obama’s, deals with rationing. Hitler, just like Obama, promised healthcare for all, jobs for all and safety. Simply looking at video footage from this era and you can see for youself these people had zero healthcare. How foolish are you?

And yes, I do care about my fellow Americans that do not have healthcare. Just like every study and survey has proven for decades now, I give more in charity in a single year than any of you libweirdos have given in a lifetime.

If you need anymore educating, please let me know.

paleo-neo-Carlinist, aka Joe the Plutocrat

January 11th, 2011
1:51 pm

reired early, I think we’re on the same wavelength, but I did not use the word “forgive”. I used the word “defend” (and I specifically used this word, within the context of the legal insanity defense). the criteria you use to identify or define ‘mental illnesses’ (‘obsessed’… to the point…that it disturbs the normal , balance of facts , in critical decision making) is probably more common than the previously accepted (’barks at the moon’) lunatic. and this is because of the (what Stephen Colbert refers to as) “thruthiness” employed by the poli-media complex. shamelessly hiding behind ‘the First Amendment’ and the base level “I’m good-my opponent is evil” ethos of politics, and wrapping the entire excercise in a red, white and blue American flag (claiming the title of “patriot” as a right vs. left issue) “enables” the plutocracy to maintain its control over the unwashed masses. but you know what suggests to me the shooter is “mentally unstable”? the fact that people like him (and McVeigh, and Rudolph, et al) actually think they are patriots, or freedom fighters, or that their use of violence well “change” anything? of course, I think people who vote (and in a mea culpa; blog) are just as insane in thinking they (I) can “change” the relationship between the plutocracy and the people. to wit; “right wing radio” is no more “unchallenged” than Obama and the left’s disingenous “hope and change” mantra. I have long argued on these blogs that the whole process is like bookies setting lines, ergo each “ideology” attracts action from different sources, but I tend to agree with the previous post that said; right wing extremist = left wing extremist. mental illness/stability has nothing to do with it. every been to a pro wrestling event? again, consider the “birthers” as well as the “climate change” chicken littles. “distortion of facts” is not a sidebar to “modern history” IT IS MODERN HISTORY.

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
1:51 pm

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
1:55 pm

Wilma sez: “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.”
————————————————————————————–
Well, thank goodness you are so above partisan advantage (ever so slyly, of course).

Kamchak

January 11th, 2011
1:58 pm

WAR

January 11th, 2011
2:00 pm

commonsense
he did speak about bill ayers, his father is kenyan–the pres is American-born thus the birth certificate is a dead argument, and marxism is a stretch.

WAR

January 11th, 2011
2:01 pm

good day to you all. be safe if you must travel.

the second amendement protects the first.

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
2:02 pm

Hey CT…why don’t you tell your pals at NYT, especially Paul Krugman to back off the blame game, what a complete jerk…

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
2:04 pm

Frankly, I don’t know why the Right is being so defensive about this incident. Didn’t the alleged killer do exactly what the Right has been trumpeting for months? The young man, however disturbed, apparently believed government was tyranny. . .and that is how many steps removed from the rhetorical claims we’ve heard these last few months? So what makes the groups of demonstraters waving guns and talking about “watering the tree of liberty” and if-they-can’t-win-the-ballot-they-can-use-the-bullet less mentally disturbed than this young man?

It is going to be very interesting if the attorney for this man decides to employ the right to a second amendment remedy as part of the defense for his actions.

On the other hand, what we seem to be hearing from the Right now is that, no matter how inflammatory their symbolic rhetoric is, they really don’t MEAN it – it’s just a little political theater. . .just entertainment. Of course, if it really is meaningless, that rather removes any reason for them to bother with using it any longer.

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
2:04 pm

Simpletons….. Germany had superhighways, Ike adopted them and put them in the US. Germany had V2 rockets, we took the same scientists and went to the moon. Germany built the Bizmark, the local donut shop sells a bizmark. Gernany has a Kaiser, Whole Foods sells a Kaiser roll. Germans drank beer, and who owns our breweries (well okay some Dutch or other group close to Germany).

If you need more edumaction, contact Glenn Becky

paleo-neo-Carlinist, aka Joe the Plutocrat

January 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

retired early, AND “W” is a self-described alcoholic, which we all know is ‘a disease’. and we also know some mental health professionals/experts view addiction as a ‘mental illness’. the whole ‘mental illness’ styory is a canard; a ruse to occupy the minds of the dim-witted lemmings who think illnesses can be ‘cured’ (and if you believe Big Pharm, these diseases can be ‘cured’ with this bill or that, which is why we need healthcare reform to ensure we all get our pills, and Big Pharm gets paid… but that’s another kettle of fish, right?). when the gub-ment embraces violence (Kathryn Johnston, invasion of Iraq, the death penalty, Predator drone missile strikes) it is judicious and prudent and necessary, but when some citizen resolves an issue via violence, it HAS TO BE the result of mental illness. as I have said many times; ‘check mate’

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

War…be precise now. Where exactly does the 2d amendment protect the 1st?

MarkV

January 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

Commonsense@1:48pm
It is abundadently clear that your are the one who needs educating most. It is also clear that it would be a hopeless effort.

I'm with Kamchak

January 11th, 2011
2:10 pm

Found the real story for “Targeting” Democrats here:

w w w.verumserum.com/?p=13647

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:15 pm

Keep up the good fight!

Order your bumper sticker (The 2nd Amendment Protects the 1st) from “Zazzle”.

Get yours today !

ODDOWL

January 11th, 2011
2:17 pm

BAN ALL HAND GUNS…. The second amendment doesn’t allow for the ownership of hand guns by private citizens. The Constitution allow for a well regulated militia that use long rifles and shot guns. All hand guns should be banned. All long rifles and shot guns should not have clips that hold more than 10 rounds. BAN ALL HAND GUNS…

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
2:20 pm

Come on Bingo…you can be clearer. Take responsibility for your words. Be clear. What do you mean at 2:15 PM. How do you use the second amendment to protect the first?

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:20 pm

“I say that the Second Amendment is, in order of importance, the first amendment. It is America’s First Freedom, the one right that protects all the others. Among freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly, of redress of grievances, it is the first among equals. It alone offers the absolute capacity to live without fear. The right to keep and bear arms is the one right that allows “rights” to exist at all.”

Moses

Bob in Alpharetta

January 11th, 2011
2:21 pm

CT, I agree. Also, I have been appalled at the venom spewed all over by msNBC and HuffPo….trying, so outrageously to associate this national tragedy with those with differing political views. I see their attempts at that misdirection as a clear indication of the content of their character.

Lake Burton

January 11th, 2011
2:22 pm

@commonsense,

And don’t forget that Hitler liked Israel as much as our modern day Liberal/Neo-Comms do. The similiarities between Odumba and Hitler are frightening.

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:23 pm

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.”

Emerson

The King wouldn’t listen to reason so we gave him lead.

That’s how we got our free speech.

And if a future form of our government becomes tyrannical.

We will use it again.

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
2:24 pm

Bingo sez: ““I say that the Second Amendment is, in order of importance, the first amendment. It is America’s First Freedom, the one right that protects all the others. Among freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly, of redress of grievances, it is the first among equals.”
——————————————————-
It sure did a great job of protecting Gabby Gifford’s freedom of speech last weekend, didn’t it? And what about the freedom of speech for those who are dead. . .? Did they unwillingly sacrifice their freedoms in order for the second amendment to continue to “protect” yours?

juno

January 11th, 2011
2:26 pm

Exactly. Hitler’s Enabling Act is the same as Obamacare, or as close to it as it could legally get in today’s climate. No one ever brings that up. And a simple internet search proves that Hitler did campaign on “improving” their healthcare, which as you pointed out, was not being implemented whatsoever. Great comparrison.

bawahahahha!!!

January 11th, 2011
2:28 pm

Next the kooks are going to say Obama isn’t a liberal at all, he’s really a Centrist/Moderate!! Oh wait, they already do say that!!! LOL!!!

Helen Thomas must be the biggest Conservative in the world then since she hates Zionists and Jews equally, LOL!!!!

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:30 pm

kevinbegoode:

Basically yes. Freedom has a price.

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
2:32 pm

Bob in Alpharetta sez: “Also, I have been appalled at the venom spewed all over by msNBC and HuffPo….trying, so outrageously to associate this national tragedy with those with differing political views. I see their attempts at that misdirection as a clear indication of the content of their character.”
——————————————————————
Well now, if conservatives hadn’t gotten all so immediately thrown off and defensive about their own rhetoric, the political controversy wouldn’t have lasted very long. Instead, when the sheriff merely mentions talk radio (without pointing to any one group or ideology), they go ballistic.
There never was any excuse for the level of vitriol that has been going on in this country. We’ve seen examples already of how it has affected people (note the Knoxville unitarian church shootings, the Kansas Tiller murder). Each time the groups the perpetrator was associated with scurried away from any responsibility.
Now if we are all going to go around and say that someone who starts taking that speech into real action is mentally unstable, then why can’t we start claiming that the people airing that speech to begin with are mentally unstable?

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:32 pm

Keep up the good fight! :

Plus, your president feels the same way ……………

‘That’s exactly what Barack Obama said he would do to counter Republican attacks “If they bring a knife to the fight, WE BRING A GUN,” Obama said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
2:33 pm

Bingo at 2:23 PM And if a future form of our government becomes tyrannical. We will use it again

That is the exact stupidity that kills people. But I guess it does not take much to double down on stupid. You did it well. It has no place in our current political environment with a lawfully elected president.

So if you have a problem, with our current elected officials and are threatening them….. be clearer. You’re not too cowardly are you because you will be visited by the FBI or Secret Service. Or are you just going to play weasel now and fail to take responsibility for your stupidity.

Matin Dean

January 11th, 2011
2:34 pm

You people are honestly trying to associate Sarah Palin with this freak when your very own President has himself said bring a gun to a knife fight and has referred to Republicans as “the enemy?” Nevermind his administration talking about stepping on the oppositions’ throat?

You all as stupid as you are pathetic. But what more should you expect from a soulless liberal??

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:34 pm

kevinbegoode:

How many innoncent people (citizens and law enforcement) die each year because of the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments?

The 2nd is not different.

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
2:37 pm

Bingo sez: “Basically yes. Freedom has a price.”
—————————————————————————

So, essentially, no one has any real freedoms, because anyone else wishing to extinguish those individuals is free to do so at will, with the aid and assistance of the government and some political partisans encouraging the imagery and legality of using weapons. for the purpose of extinguishing those rights and lives of other citizens.
Perhaps what we should do is get some brave patriots to step up to the plate and become voluntary victims for the next rampage instead of forcing innocent people to make the sacrifices at the simple whim of a “mentally disturbed” person.

So whose rights did that second amendment protect last weekend?

Real Athens

January 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

Hitler liked Israel? Now that’s one I haven’t heard before. Seeing that Hitler was dead in April of 1945 and Israel was created in 1948 — I’d have to say that is a stretch.

Hal Boyd

January 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

Ms. Tucker -

I always read your column, but I do not often agree with you. You always make me think though.

Today, I think you have it spot on ! I have three things to say about todays’ column and how you have nailed how many of us feel about Ms. Palin:
Right on, right on, right on !

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:39 pm

Keep up the good fight! :

Oh, I’m sorry.

I was just kind of quoting the Declaration of Independence wherein it was referring to tyrannical government. Exxxuuuuuuuuse Me!

“That whenever (ANY) Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the (RIGHT) of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute (NEW) Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to (THEM) shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
2:42 pm

Yep…Bingo is a weasel and stupid about it too.

So Bingo do you believe the current Obama administration is tyrannical?

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:43 pm

Kevinbegoode:

“So whose rights did that second amendment protect last weekend?”

Easy …………. Any legal gun toter who could have been in the crowd that day.

Those brave people who did tackle him had to wait until that gun was empty and it took another 3 minutes for the police to arrive.

It’s a shame a gun toter wasn’t close by. It might have saved lives.

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
2:44 pm

Bob in Alpharetta

What else does MSNBC and the Huffington Post have? Their entire reason for existing is bashing the right with lies and excoriating venom….they simply have nothing else

Real Athens

January 11th, 2011
2:45 pm

Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1935 is the same as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

There not even in the same ballpark. Hell, they’re not even the same game.

“The Enabling Act was passed by Germany’s Reichstag and signed by President Paul von Hindenburg on 24 March 1933. It was the second major step, after the Reichstag Fire Decree, through which Chancellor Adolf Hitler legally obtained plenary powers and established his dictatorship. It received its name from its legal status as an enabling act granting the Cabinet the authority to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag. The act stated that it was to last for four years unless renewed by the Reichstag, which occurred twice.”

Really, you need to stop listening to Glenn Beck.

Why should any of us believe anything you say when you have such a hard time telling the truth.

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:48 pm

Keep up the good fight! :

1) “Yep…Bingo is a weasel and stupid about it too.” I answer your question and you resort to name calling. Brilliant but doesn’t make for a good debator.

Do you have a problem with that language in the Declaration of Independence?

2) “So Bingo do you believe the current Obama administration is tyrannical?”

Nope. You obviously need a course in reading comprehension or you would have seen that I said “FUTURE” government.

FUTURE means not this one. Got it?

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
2:52 pm

I have no problem with the Declaration… I have a problem with your effort to “kinda quote it” but not and to twist it. As for your second comment, since you agree there is no tyranny, your comments are inappropriate to the entire discussion. Thanks for playing. Enjoy the visit you may be getting. Perhaps you can try the cutesy kinda quote as you wet your pants in fear of a real arrest.

gm

January 11th, 2011
2:55 pm

When you tea party, conservatives get it, using words like take our country back, calling the President of the United States a socialist, we need to destroy government , these are racist tones no matter how you people try to defend it.

Palin, Beck, Rush, Hannity are responsible for this act of violent, these people speak this trash to low middle class whites, who are mad at society because they did not change with the times.

Bingo

January 11th, 2011
2:59 pm

Keep up the good fight! :

I’m scared and you’re still a bad debator.

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
3:00 pm

gm

You are hopelessly adrift

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
3:05 pm

Bingo…That’s okay. I am sure your are a master debator. You proved that you are not responsible and you are a coward. I can live with being a bad debator anytime over being a nonsensical coward like you.

A+A

January 11th, 2011
3:07 pm

Here is a collection of Republican quotes from the mid-term elections:

Target Practice
Robert Lowry, a Republican challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL), stopped by a local Republican event in October. The event was at a gun range, andLowry shot at a human-shaped target that had Wasserman Schulz’s initials written next to it. He later said it was a “mistake.”
….

Shooting With The Candidate

Giffords’ own opponent, Republican Jesse Kelly, had a gun-themed fund-raiser in June in which supporters could come and shoot an M-16 rifle with Kelly. It was promoted thusly: Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”
….

Cleaning My Guns
About a year ago, Richard Behney, a tea partier from Indiana running for former Sen. Evan Bayh’s seat, told a group of Second Amendment activists that they didn’t have to resort to armed insurrection — “yet.”

“We can get new faces in. Whether it’s my face or not, I pray to God that I see new faces. And if we don’t see new faces, I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too. But I know none of us want to go that far yet, and we can do it with our vote,” he said.

Second Amendment Remedies
Erstwhile Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) found herself in June defending comments she had made six months earlier about the Second Amendment.

“People are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out,” she said.
….

Armed And Dangerous
This example is a little older, but it’s notable that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is one of the few to win her race after repeated references to guns and violence.

In March 2009, she said on a radio show: “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us having a revolution every now and then is a good thing. And the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”
….

We Hunt Democrats
Another one from 2009: Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) told Politico that he hunts Democrats. Asked about the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, he said, “We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition.”

Ballots & Bullets
New Rep. Allen West (R-FL) almost hired a Florida talk-radio host, Joyce Kaufman, as his chief of staff. But Kaufman withdrew after media coverage of some of her more fiery statements, such as:

“I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave a Second Amendment,” she told a tea party crowd last summer. “And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”

Thanks to the Daily Kos, I found these quotes there.

Dick Hertz

January 11th, 2011
3:09 pm

Bit dishonest here. Only one group of people have made their political movement about removing legally elected politicians with a second amendment solution. It’s disingenuous to say that a group may have stacked the wood and poured gas on the pile but gosh, never foresaw that someone would light it and burn a house down.

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
3:09 pm

Now gm, the conservatives keep saying they don’t really mean anything with such rhetoric – it’s just good ole fashioned political entertainment. Why, they’d never actually REALLY declare other political parties or fellow citizens “tyrants” who should be targeted for elimination. . .they’ve just said that stuff to put the fear into people.

Keep up the good fight!

January 11th, 2011
3:12 pm

kevinb and Dick….yes they do like to play their little games and then cry out “well we did not tell them to do it” or you said this so that is the same nonequivalence. I dont care what their political affliations. Show them for the true cowards that they are.

kevinbgoode

January 11th, 2011
3:14 pm

A+A sez: “I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave a Second Amendment,” she told a tea party crowd last summer. “And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
—————————————————————————–
I believe the American Revolution was not supported by the majority of citizens at the time. So it seems the Right’s philosophy here is that the ONLY time it is legit to exercise second amendment remedies is when THEY decide to do it, whether the majority of Americans support them or not. Otherwise, as apparently is the case with this young man in Tucson who killed these people, the perpetrator is mentally disturbed.

Get Real

January 11th, 2011
3:14 pm

Ahhhhh….the liberal diarrhea continues…blah blah blah…plop squirt and fizzle..