Most Americans are shocked and saddened about the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and the others are pretending to be shocked and saddened. Sarah Palin, who put a target on Gabrielle Giffords district, a district I live in. Is Palin, who called for us to “reload”, genuinely shocked by the shooting she had metaphorically supported with the target on her district If so, perhaps Palin needs to apologize to the family of the 9 year old girl who was killed in the assassination attempt and Judge Roll’s family and four others who were killed and others wounded.
Sarah Palin’s remarks didn’t cause the shooting, but her rhetoric and that of Sharon Angle (and others) who called for “Second Amendment remedies” when we don’t get what we want politically create a supportive atmosphere for violence.
So, while we are all thinking once more about guns, gun violence, terrorism, politically violent rhetoric, the tea party and other issues related to this shooting, perhaps it is time for some self reflection about the violence this nation supports in our name.
From the “Beyond Vietnam” speech by Martin Luther King,
My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
So while we are all shocked by senseless murder, murder enabled by multi-shot semi-automatic weapons, we should also ask ourselves, what about Afghanistan, and beyond.