“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” ~Jonathan Swift
Terrorism: The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear ~Princeton WordNet
We've talked (and even laughed) on this blog about how words are weapons and can be used for good or evil. It's an intriguing and lively debate in reference to relationships. But Saturday, we saw how the vapid rhetoric of the Tea Party Leadership (namely Sarah Palin) manifested itself into pure evil. The graphic above shows the "Target List" of folks Say-Pay decided were holding back the interests of "real Americans." You'll notice the catchy target signs used to indicate the locations of each person and Gabrielle Giffords name listed. Ms. Palin has also been proud to share her motto, "Don't retreat - RELOAD."
Well, a crazy military-reject in Arizona did just that Saturday. From MSNBC:
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with voters, killing at least six and injuring 13 in a rampage that rattled the nation. Among the dead: A federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
The suspected gunman, identified by federal law enforcement officials as Jared Loughner, 22, opened fire at point-blank range with a pistol with an extended magazine. Loughner was tackled after the shooting and was in custody.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Giffords was the intended target and that a second suspect was involved. Dupnik would not provide further details on the individual, but said investigators have pictures.
Remarkably, Ms. Giffords is alive but in critical condition. The events of the day have shaken politicians nationwide. Obama called the shooting "an unspeakable tragedy" and said that such "a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society." During an early evening press conference, Sheriff Dupnik said what many before him should have:
"I think that the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from the people in the radio business and some people in the TV business and what we see on TV - Arizona has become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry."
On a YouTube video by Loughner, he did not call himself a member of the Tea Party but he recited straight from the RightWingNut Handbook:
The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America’s Constitution.
You don’t have to accept the federalist laws.
Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws.
You’re literate, listeners?[...]
The property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution.
Thus the revolutionary’s from the revolution are in control of the land and laws.
Sound at all familiar? Rush? Beck? Although the media (Fox in particular) is spinning not to call this a terrorist attack, how long until someone points the finger of blame right the eff where it belongs? You cannot spew hateful ignorance 24/7/365 and not expect it to take seed and blossom into evil and despicable acts.
The Tea Party has been allowed to spread their message of hate virtually unchecked. We have laughed, pointed and shaken our heads at all of their crazy rallies. But people are showing up to those things and listening to this crap as if it is gospel. How long did they really think it would take until somebody decided to "reload" and "take back the country"? Let's call a spade a spade - if Jared Lee Loughner was Jared Lee Jackson or Jared Lee Muhammed, they would have stamped "terrorist" on his mugshot five minutes after booking.
And while the Tea Party faithful backpedal away from this tragedy as fast as they can, they have the blood of innocents on their hands this evening. Is this what it takes for America to wake up? To see that seething in silence is only non-verbal acceptance? Are we still the kind of country where innocents must die before injustice and ignorance becomes intolerable?
I hope to hell every American who abstained from voting in the mid-term elections takes a long hard look at what is going on in this country and most notably Arizona right the eff now. In the absence of rational leadership, people will follow the loudest voice. We can NOT allow those voices to be the only ones heard any longer.
So you're angry today? Shocked, bruised and appalled? Scared sh*tless? I give you this solution: 2012. And in the meantime, let your voice drown out a crazy one. Do something, say something and let's do more than rally to restore sanity. Let's just do it.