Tuesday, January 11, 2011

After January 8, 2011 in Arizona, What Now?

Talking heads are asking, "What was the cause of the tragedy in Arizona and how can we prevent it in the future?"

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ
Most everyone mentions better regulating guns and banning extended ammunition clips, repairing an imperfect mental health care system, and toning down violence-inciting rhetoric and imagery.  Out of these three, what can we do right now? The issue of hate-filled speech, raised by victim Gabrielle Giffords (YouTube) herself over the past year, is the simplest to work on right now—assuming, of course, that those who spew vitriol recognize that threatening, belligerent speech does, indeed, have consequences.

We must disavow and eradicate inflammatory, bullet-riddled imagery in political speech. That was the main issue that Sheriff Clarence Dupnik raised in his initial comments to the press shortly after the mass shooting event. Isn't it credible that a manufactured climate of despair and fear, along with not-so-subtle urgings for patriotic citizens to take matters into their own hands, played a part in the Arizona massacre and assassination?

Some in the public eye are using this time for introspection, for self-examination, by looking to see where they may have contributed to the tinderbox climate.  Keith Olbermann offered a heartfelt special comment, along with others (such as Bob Schieffer) who seem to have taken this sickening incident in Tucson to heart.

Then there are those who can't seem to find enough ways to deny their own contributions to the volatile rhetoric:

Sarah Palin for example...

And Rush Limbaugh of course.

Some even double down by fomenting further hate, fear and aggression like Glenn Beck.

I'm so crushed by these events.  It's all I can do to keep from crying again and again for what could have been: a future for the innocent victims who perished, whether they were a judge or a young girl or a retiree or a Congressional staffer; freedom from devastating trauma for the injured; intervention for the apparent shooter who didn't get help when it was needed. 

It is not yet too late, though, to call out anyone who profited from creating and perpetuating the venomous political climate in which we find ourselves, in an effort to get them to stop.  It is what we can do, right now.


Let's Get This Straight 
from Shakesville

What the Right Gains From Poisoning Our Political Discourse and Inspiring Violence
from Alternet

Was Jared Loughner's Act Political?
from Cenk Uygur
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