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Sarah Barracuda Flirts with Violence

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On March 23, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted to her followers the following message:
Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" Pls see my Facebook page.
On her Facebook page was a U.S. map marking the locations of 20 House Democrats who voted for the health care bill and who represent districts that the Republicans carried in 2008. The 20 locations were marked with crosshairs. Not red dots or any other relatively benign symbols. No, they were marked with crosshairs.

So, of course, in light of all the recent death threats aimed at Democratic lawmakers by the tea party crazies, Palin has come under fire (no pun intended) for her use of gun-related words and symbols in her recent posts.

And rightly so.

I will give Palin the benefit of the doubt and hope that, being new to Washington politics, perhaps she simply chose her words carelessly and wasn't actively trying to incite violence. But Palin is in the big leagues now, and she needs to learn that words have consequences, and that the tea party crowd cannot be relied upon to separate metaphor from reality.

The bottom line is this: Free speech is one thing, but inciting violence is irresponsible and -- in some cases -- illegal. I hope that nothing bad happens to any of the 20 Dems on her crosshair-marked map. If anything bad did happen to any of them, I would hope that she would bear some of the responsibility. But I would not hold my breath.

Because now it seems to have turned into a game for her. On March 28, she posted the following on her Facebook page under the title Warning: Subject to New Politically Correct Language Police Censorship:

To the [March Madness basketball] teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season's targets! From the shot across the bow - the first second's tip-off - your leaders will be in the enemy's crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won't win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons - your Big Guns - to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win.

Focus on the goal and fight for it. If the gate is closed, go over the fence. If the fence is too high, pole vault in. If that doesn't work, parachute in. If the other side tries to push back, your attitude should be "go for it." Get in their faces and argue with them. (Sound familiar?!) Every possession is a battle; you'll only win the war if you've picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!

I can only shake my head and sigh. Because, obviously, she really doesn't get it.

Or does she?


Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)

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to political dialog in this country has been a too... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 8:19:24 AM
meant: when they won't listen, RELOAD your vocabul... by sommers on Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 1:37:20 PM
When I originally began subscribing to Op-Ed news,... by John ODonnell on Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 1:38:55 PM
She appears to be a neocon. Besides I read somew... by sommers on Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 2:43:13 PM
When Obama administration government officials res... by Recce1 on Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010 at 3:38:14 AM