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TARGETS


 

After a day like yesterday, my mind tends to get flooded with mental images.  It’s these mental images of past events that tend to trigger emotions that generate personal reflections.

This morning I see images of planes flying into tall buildings.  I think of the horror of that day.  Not all felt horror that day.  A young family in Arizona felt the joy that comes with the birth of their newborn girl.  Then I think of the agony they felt yesterday when that now 9-year old girl was gunned down at a neighborhood shopping center.  She had recently been elected to her schools’ student council and went to visit with her recently reelected United States Congresswoman who was meeting with the people she was elected to serve.  Her life was taken from her on a day when she wanted the experience of meeting someone who was dedicated to making a difference by working for change through our nations political system.

Other  images come to mind.  I see images of African-American political leaders being spit upon as they walk together to vote on a health care bill designed to make it possible for millions to acquire the health care that they have been denied up to that point.

I see images of self-described “patriots” making political statements by attending political rallys while openly carrying and displaying guns.  I see images of the aftermath of a previous campaign rally organized for Gabrielle Giffords.  I don’t know if the loaded gun laying on the ground was left in haste or left purposfully to make a statement.  It’s presence makes its own statement.

I see images of a map of the United States showing various Democratic Congressional Districts identified by images of rifle cross-hairs.  I see a list of members of the United States House of Representatives who were being targeted for removal from office.  I see that one of those targeted in this ad is Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. 

I see images of Giffords’ recent opponent Jesse Kelly inviting Arizonans to “Get on target for victory in November.  Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office.  Shoot a fully automatic m-16 with Jesse Kelly”

I see images of Sharron Angle of Nevada speaking of “2nd Ammendment Remedies” during her failed Senatorial campaign.  

Now I see images of Gabrielle Giffords fallen to the concrete, a bullet having just past through her head as she communicated with her consituents at her neighborhood political event.  I see images of others including a Federal Judge and the afore mentioned 9 year old girl falling around her as yesterdays gunman wreaks his havoc.

I see images of the nations political players making their case as to whether or not the fiery rhetoric of the past 18 months has in some way made a contribution to this tragedy.  The stances will be typical.  Conservatives will say how much they respect the fallen political leader from Arizona and claim there is no relationship between the rhetoric and the shootings.  .  The Liberals will call for the Conservatives to repudiate (or if you are a Palin supporter “refudiate”) the vile words that they believe have contributed to yesterdays events.

At this time, there is no proof that the individual who targeted Gabrielle Giffords yesterday has any ties to any politically active organization.  The events that unfolded yesterday can not be directly tied to any of the events that I have mentioned in this post.  Individuals who perform such cowardly acts generally exhibit a great deal of mental instability.  The level of instability of yesterdays gunman has yet to be determined.

With that being said I find it important to point out that this happened in Arizona, a hotbed of political rage and vitriolic campaigning.  My first thought when I heard the news was that I was concerned that the shooter might be identified as someone who illegally entered the country from Mexico.  Had that been the case, Arizona might have been faced with a political implosion of major proportions.  No, the shooter was not an illegal alien, he was a 22-year old, white, loner with strong fears of government interference into his personal liberties.  In such a mental state, he infringed upon the personal liberties of 18 individuals on a clear Saturday morning while they took advantage of a political gathering to express their opinions to one another.

As the details of yesterdays events are revealed over time, it will be interesting to see if political rhetoric in this country continues to be filled with images and actions that tend to glorify potential and real violence that has overtaken our political discourse. 

It will be interesting to see if anyone makes any efforts to ask Sarah Palin why she immediately removed her “target” ad from her website on the day when one of her targets was gunned down while performing her responsibilities as an elected official.   If Sarah thought it was appropriate to use the language found in that image prior to yesterday’s events why is it that it is not appropriate now?

When individuals have different views about the way things should be, there are clashes of words and wills.  Why is it that so many in this country use images and expressions of violence as a means of stating their case?  If your case is legitimate, it does not need the threat of violence to reinforce it.

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