Words have consequences

Dear Editor:Now that six people are dead, 12 wounded and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (a moderate Democrat in the House of Representatives) is in critical condition in a Tucson, Ariz., hospital, shot through the brain, I can only say we could see it coming. I believe this is a result of all the inflammatory talk which is expressed on the radio, on TV, and in print by extremists, especially on the right. In letters to the editor in newspapers and on the Internet spouting hatred. By Tea Party extremists and conservative commentators, such as Fox hosts Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and ex-governor Sarah Palin. By frequent references to guns in political ads designed to intimidate, sending a message to those who are less table that we consider our political opponents not just people we disagree with, but actually our enemies. Gifford's opponent in the past election, Jesse Kelly, who lost to Gifford by just 4,000 votes, showed frequent images of guns in his campaign. In June, Kelly invited supporters to join him in firing an automatic weapon to "Get on Target for Victory" and to "Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office." Also Sarah Palin listed Giffords' district among those to be targeted in the election, showing it in the crosshairs of a gun sight. One of the slogans she used was, "Never retreat -- Reload." This is also the result of the insane plicies on sales of guns, allowing semi-automatic weapons to be sold to the mentally unbalanced. The shooter was on drugs and crazy, but a crazy person is likely to do crazy things when he gets a weapon and hears a steady dose of 'hate government' talk. Was he motivated to action by this violent political rhetoric that we hear around us so much of the time? I think so. Is this what it takes to bring some sanity to our political discourse? As Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation" said, "We must change the atmosphere in which this happened. We can begin by remembering that words have consequences. Like all powerful things, they must be used carefully." -- Anita Rivero, Downey

********** Published: January 13, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 39