Guest post by Banditbasheert
I remember coming here and typing “no no no no no no” - and within the next 20 minutes, the news came that Ms Giffords had taken a bullet in the face. A bullet that traveled through the left side of her brain. The news then announced that Ms. Giffords had succumbed to her wounds, thankfully that turned out to be inaccurate.
Immediately following this announcement, Sarah Palin and her family issued a very short statement of condolences for the loss. To date this statement has not been retracted even though Ms. Giffords is very much alive and unlike Sarah Palin, is continuing to “progress”.
Following the news of her survival, local media quickly identified the “shooter” – one Jared Loughner – a nonpolitical (apparently) mentally ill nut with a gun. After his capture, focus began to turn on the implications of the Giffords assassination attempt and potential reasons.
Later that day Robert Naimen wrote a column for the Huffington Post. The article linked to the SarahPac crosshairs target map which showed the strategic positioning of crosshairs placed over twenty district areas, including that of Gabby Giffords. The campaign by SarahPac also expressed the necessity to “take action” against those particular targets.
This from blogger Joel Achenbach:
FYI, via Dailykos commenters: Giffords was one of the 20 Democrats who were elected in 2008 and voted for health care reform and were then targeted for defeat by Sarah Palin in a "takebackthe20" campaign that included a map showing each congressional district in cross-hairs -- as in a gunsight. Rather incendiary.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords certainly thought Sarah Palin's map was relevant to the threat of violence. This is what she told MSNBC on March 25, 2010:
"...for example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district, and when people do that, they've gotta realize there are consequences to that action."
Following the assassination attempt. Sarah Palin found herself the object of scorn and derision. Attempting to deflect responsibility for the assassination attempt, she determined to go on National TV and explain herself and deny her map could have been used by potential assassins as “targeting” specific individuals. She continued to deny the “crosshairs” and “target”, but it was apparent to all that the resemblance to targets in gun sights was too obvious to ignore.
At this time, SarahPAC decided to go proactive and deny the “map” had crosshairs in spite of using the term “targeting” in previous ads. Rebecca Mansour did her best to give Palin cover, but the effort fell flat as more and more victims of the shootings were claimed.
Palin’s map was seen as a “how to guide” in the perception of the general public. It was felt that at the very least, Palin had been reckless and provocative – the map was thought to have potential to incite violence against political candidates. That perception continues today. While not directly responsible, Palin’s incitement was open to easy interpretation as urging violence against her political enemies. The “map” is still widely available on the internet. People are invited to draw their own conclusions.
In a blatant attempt to shift the discussion to “her”, Palin determined to make a statement regarding the Giffords shooting. It was an obvious attempt to deflect the anger and blame being sent her way for her CrossHairs Map. Appearing disheveled and semi coherent, she defied her Fox Employer Roger Ailes order to “sit down and shut up”, went on National TV and made a total fool of herself with a rather unhinged comparison to some type of “blood libel” she was on the receiving end of -since apparently everyone was blaming her for the shooting. A narcissist, she apparently felt so “wronged”, she ignored the shootings that resulted in 18 people being shot and 6 deaths including a Federal Judge and a 9 year old girl. Once again, it was “all about her”.
However, in an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity on January 17, 2011, Sarah Palin finally admitted that the symbols on this map were in fact cross hairs, despite the earlier denials by SarahPAC and Rebecca Mansour. The New York Daily News reported on January 18, 2011:
The Tea Party darling said it was "ridiculous" to think the map instigated the attack by a "crazed, evil gunman" that left six people dead, although she had finally admitted the graphics on the map were actually cross hairs, something many in her camp have denied for months. "The graphic that was used was cross hairs," she said, adding that this kind of imagery has been used in politics for years and that it was "ridiculous" to suggest they had anything to do with the Tucson shootings.
It’s now been a year. The map can still be found, clearly identifying Gabrielle Giffords and her District as being “targeted”. Palin has faded from intelligent discourse. It is believed that her “blood libel” talk pulled the plug on any political career she may have hoped to attain. Hanging on to relevancy by her fingernails, periodically she crawls out from under her Wasilla rock (perhaps it’s a contractural obligation with Fox?) and tries to make news.
People died that day. More people were wounded. Their lives were forever altered. The judgment shown by the Palin contingent following this act of violence, damned their future political careers to obscurity.
For many, Palin will be remembered for placing Target Crosshairs over Ms. Giffords name on a map. Did she cause the shooting? Perhaps not directly, but she did foster a culture of violence against politicians seemingly without conscience.
Arizona has Gabby Giffords back. Changed – a bullet through the brain has consequences. But she is loved – and valued. She struggles through her physical challenges and her constituents love her. We hope she will continue to play a large role in our local politics. Unlike Palin, Gabby is respected – she is known to care for and be cared for by her constituents and indeed, in many Arizona voters not in her District.
Differ with someone – don’t place a target over them! This may be Arizona, but the horror of that day was unequaled. The tie to Palin’s map was instantaneous. Regardless of the accuracy, Palin will always be viewed as having incited a violent attack on an Arizona Congresswoman.
Palin will always be a figure of pity. Her lack of humanity in view of this horrible act of violence will be remembered. Politically she will never have what she wants.
The youngest victim on that sad day was Christina Taylor Green who ironically was born on September 11, 2001.
On the 1 year anniversary of the Tucson Massacre, Gabby Giffords will attend a candlelight vigil in honor of the victims of the shootings.
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on the University of Arizona outdoor mall. During the observances, the families of the victims will each come forward to light a candle. Members of the public are invited, but are asked not to bring candles. Glow sticks will be distributed instead.
Participants include Giffords' rabbi, Dr. Stephanie Aaron; the Tucson Symphony Orchestra; and Dr. Peter Rhee, the University Medical Center surgeon who administered to Giffords.
Victim Ron Barber, who is also Giffords' district director, will emcee on Sunday, and Tucson band Calexico - a Giffords/Kelly favorite - will perform.
The event is one of several this weekend commemorating the first anniversary, including a community wide bell ringing at 10:11 a.m. Sunday . For more information, visit
Read more here.