I wanted to follow-up on comments I’ve seen on my own post about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and what I’ve seen around the web.  If that were not bad enough then you have what CBS put forth today in the name of *good* journalism.  The Washington Post has to point out that Jared Lee Loughner purchased his gun legally (as if it would have been oh so much better if the victims were shot with an illegal firearm).  This wasn’t mentioned prominently, but was the teaser in the email notification they sent out.


Then many of the posts, comments and rants from the left are pointing out the target map that Sarah Palin had up on her website prior to the 2010 elections.


Vernum Serum pointed out… oops it looks like the Democratic Leadership Committee did something eerily similar.


Interesting.  They also has graphics from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee which evidently has now been taken down since this URL now just takes you to their blog’s main page.  Here’s is what you’ve missed.


Each target represents a “targeted Republican” like Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) below:


Incase you couldn’t figure that out they also included a legend.

My point?  Both sides utilize this type of rhetoric, and every rationale person should understand that the only violence they want done to those targeted are at the polls – not literally.  Also political violence is a problem that knows no ideology.

Reading a transcript of one of the videos this guy made tells me this: he is absolutely certifiable, and being crazy isn’t an ideology.  So can we knock off the shameless politicizing of this horrible event?  This is one crisis that we can let go to waste.

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  1. While I see your point regarding similar rhetoric used by both sides, I must point out that I see a difference between targets and cross hairs. But, at this point, this is all just silly. Rational people surely see that the Palin map had nothing to do with today’s tragedy. Why the media uses these kinds of opportunities to make political attacks, grasp at straws to squeeze out a story and make ridiculous connections I’ll never know. The bottom line is that a mentally unstable individual committed an act of terrorism. Lives were lost and we should all be united in sending out condolences and support to the Giffords family and the Tuscon community.

      1. Perhaps I just think of the Bullseye type target as commonly used to mark goals. The cross hairs of a gun seem less mainstream in goal marking. They seem a bit more aggressive to me. I’m not saying my view makes sense to everyone, it’s just my personal reaction to the two. Specifically, the major difference in reaction is between the crosshairs and the first example of the bullseyes, which seem more of a honing in type of image. Again, just me.

    1. Well, “set one’s sights on” is a frequently used idiom. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the map was that we were supposed to set our sights on those races. If there had been faces behind them it would have been a different story.

  2. This, of course, is a great tragedy that transcends party lines. And as your post shows, both the GOP and Dems have used what I consider to be inappropriate and incendiary language/symbols in “targeting” their opponents. That said, it’s a Dem on Palin’s list that has been shot and, whatever the killer’s motivation, she should step up and acknowledge that her use of a target list with crosshairs was inappropriate. Any Dems who have used similar language should do the same. I know that Palin didn’t intend anyone to actually shoot a political opponent, but there’s way too much anger going around right now and our representatives should strive to keep the debate civilized.

    1. Matt,

      We don’t even know for sure why this guy shot Congresswoman Giffords.

      I do agree that the debate should be civil, but I don’t think saying particular races are targeted is uncivil.

      What word would you use instead?

  3. Blue Arrows and Red “Target” Logos are
    hardly comparable to the
    Crosshairs of a gun scope.

    I do agree that both “sides” use similar
    tactics…both are wrong.

    Just like a broadbrush of
    “crazy” versus mentally ill
    is wrong.

    Just as thinking that access to any kind
    of firearm we desire is the intent of the 2nd Amendment
    is wrong.

    By continuing to live by a code of violent
    rhetoric and behavior, this country is
    simultaneously preparing to end itself
    with violence.

    “Teach your children well…”
    a great song with a great lesson that is
    just too easy to sing and too difficult to live by.

    1. Sure they are. I know we throw water balloons at targets. Give me a break.

      Regarding the 2nd Amendment, your beef is with the Constitution, not me. If a mistake was made by not running background checks, etc then that is a different story. I don’t think anyone who has been diagnosed as being *mentally ill* should be issued a carry permit.

      There’s mentally ill and there is crazy.

      I could say evil as well, but I know somebody would jump on me for that.

      Which is why I find political correctness so inane.

  4. Good post. I still don’t understand why people on this board and on blogs elsewhere are trying to attack rhetoric, as the source today’s tragedy. That’s pure speculation. These people are seizing today’s tragedy as an opportunity to cast blame of those who exercise their 1st amendment right, when it’s this same right that has given them a platform to speak out against this rhetoric in the first place. The author is right–“crazy is not an ideology.” People shouldn’t have to curtail their free speech rights for fear that crazy people will react in ways that normal people wouldn’t. Someone’s abnormal “susceptibility” to highly politicized rhetoric is no justification for depriving people their freedoms. While we may wish that this event will cause many of us to consider what we say and how we say it, I don’t think that we should, in any way, suggest that the conversation be censored. When we move towards censorship, we encounter the problem of deciding what language is “vitriolic” or “incendiary”. Who gets to decide this–the government? I don’t know an appropriate way to conclude this post, but I can just say this–once we start to deprive human beings of the use of their own consciences and their own free will, they are no longer human beings.

    1. Learn the facts before you dismiss the rhetoric as major contributing factor. This guy’s crazy – no doubt but if you look at his YouTube posts, he’s clearly been influenced by the teabagger BS in his area.

      1. I already know the facts to the extent that they have been revealed to the public. You are no more privy to them than I am. I haven’t dismissed rhetoric as a contributing factor; I merely said it was speculation. And it still it. At this point in the investigation, there is nothing you can say or write that will prove otherwise. Supposed libertarian that you are, you, too, should be standing up for first amendment rights and limited government in controlling rhetoric. In any case, you can respond to this post, but I have no intention of arguing with you. I hardly think it’s worth it. Your “teabagger BS” comment says enough about the person you are the ideologies you champion and the fact that it’s okay for you to denigrate an entire party’s language as you do in that two-word comment all the while complaining that vitriolic language that has brought us to this place. Calling the tea party’s views “teabagger BS” is not exactly extending the olive branch.

      2. Really because those of who actually attend Tea Party events don’t think so. We typically aren’t inspired by Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto either. We also don’t burn flags.

        I’m not painting him as a right-wing or a left-wing. He is crazy period.

        By the way a real libertarian (based off of your disqus handle) wouldn’t refer to Tea Party folks as teabaggers.

      3. You’re right, he wasn’t inspired by the Tea Party, the Tea Party is an ideologically inconsistent mess. This guy’s ideology is clear. He was afraid of “big government” brainwashing him with grammar, and did not believe in fiat currency.

        Tea Party folks used the term “teabag” as a verb to express their discontent with the government. For example, “Teabag big government.” The term first appeared at Tea Party events on signs held by Tea Party people themselves. One who teabags is a teabagger. It isn’t a sign of disrespect, it is calling teabaggers what they self identified as.

        Also, I fail to see the connection between being a Libertarian and calling teabaggers, teabaggers. You’re basically making the argument “I don’t like that you called these people a name I don’t like so you’re not what you say you are. So there.” Pretty childish.

      4. That isn’t what teabagging means by people who are against the tea party. I have been to events in DC and in Des Moines and haven’t personally seen any signs like that.

        You could be right, but the left has turned into something else.

  5. The thing is Palin or her people pulled down the map with the cross hairs after the event. That means that they knew it was inappropriate, but I don’t think they understand it was always inappropriate.

    I think that the examples of democrats using similar iconography is that democrats don’t play to the same base and don’t accompany their election campaign maps with phrases like “don’t retreat – instead, RELOAD!” When you say things like “second amendment solutions” (Sharon Angle, whom Palin openly supported) what meaning other than violence can there possibly be?

    The guy was crazy, and it’s probably not Palin’s fault much more than it was Jodie Foster’s fault that Reagan almost died, but the people who make their living off of turning up the volume need to stop and think about what they’re doing.

      1. I agree that the cross hair imagery is used on both sides, but let us not forget Sharon Angle lamenting the fact that if her constituents didn’t get their way they might be forced to used Second Amendment remedies to solve their representation problem. Just a thought.

  6. How does anybody know if this guy even looked at the Palin website? Get ready for Monday morning in Congress,several new laws that prohibit the use of “cross hairs” or targets on any publication or website. This of course will occur after they come up with some more laws to circumvent the 2nd amendment.

  7. You are very correct… they are bullseys. Only purpose of either is to “target” an object. The author’s whole point was that Democrats, TeaParty, and Republicans all used them as part of their “targeting” campaigns to oust politicians from their seats.

    NOBODY from any party advocated picking up a gun and KILLING their opponents. A whack job who was unstable and PO’s about something took that upon himself.

  8. HA. If you feel what she did doesn’t need to be defended, then why are you defending it?

  9. I think it bad that the media can not tell the difference between a car or the preson driving it. That glock hand gun did not kill anyone. The person operating it did. What if he had used a bomb instead, would that have made it better even though he would have kill just about everybody there? The news media has a politcal agenda all of its own and if cbs, abc can not give the news in an unbias manner than it is worthless and I for one will not hear it.

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