JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona, guns and insanity: II

Call it sheer coincidence, but yesterday, following the horrific Arizona shooting, Sarah Palin made a change to her website, removing the chart with the gun sights by the names of 20 Democrats (including Gabrielle Giffords). She then posted on Facebook that her and “Todd’s” thoughts and prayers were with the congresswoman.

These are words. Mere words. As I blogged about a few weeks back, your thoughts and prayers are nice and dandy and well-intentioned, but actions define a person. Hell, I’m sure most Americans are either praying for the victims or at least thinking of the victims. Democrats, Republicans, independents, indifferents—when you hear about people being shot (especially a 9-year-old girl, who happens to be the granddaughter of Dallas Green), you mourn. Naturally.

But actions—actions matter.

Throughout the past few years, I’ve watched with jaw agape as Sarah Palin has gained steam with every apparent misdeed. Whenever she says something that’s utterly moronic or exhibits racist/xenophobic behavior, her backers seem to morph into more backers, and then into more backers.

Well, I want to see what happens now, in the aftermath of Giffords’ shooting; in the aftermath of Palin placing a gun sight by her name. I want to know if she will apologize (she won’t) and if her supporters will finally open their eyes and say, “Is this a person we really want to support? Is this a person worth believing in?”

I know … I know—cliche says tragic times call for an end to political posturing. And, normally, I agree. But not 100 percent. We are heading in the wrong direction in this country, and I don’t mean economically or socially. I mean, well, angrily. There is a palpable anger that has turned dangerous, and it needs to stop, and leadership needs to come from the top. I know little about John Boehner, the new speaker of the house, but he seems like an emotional man with some sound sense. I am hoping that he uses this event to help better the process; to ease up on the vitriol and help all of us take a deep breath and relax.

I hope this horrible event winds up helping the process.

Alas, I have little hope.

PS: This, from a Palin spokesperson, who said the gun sights were not actually gun sights: “I don’t understand how anybody could be held responsible for somebody who is completely mentally unstable like this. Where I come from the person that is actually shooting is the one that’s culpable,” she said, before intimating that the suspect, Jared Loughner, is actually a liberal. “It seems that he people that knew him said that he was left-wing and very liberal—but that is not to say that I am blaming the left. I never went out and blamed Al Gore or any environmentalist for the crazy insane person who went to shoot up the Discovery Channel,” she said.