That whole Gabrielle Giffords shooting and Sarah Palin’s map with gunsights on it thing is pretty amazing, in an obviously horrific way. But then you see something like this attempt at a defence from an aide of Palin’s and it gets even worse:
“We have nothing whatsoever to do with this,” Palin aide. Rebecca Mansour told the talk radio host Tammy Bruce in an interview. “We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply cross-hairs like you’d see on maps,” she said, suggesting that it is a “surveyor’s symbol.”
Really, short of the gunman saying or having written something like “If it wasn’t for that map I’d never have done anything like this,” there are only two possible responses from Palin et al that don’t make them look like delusional loons.
The first is the obvious mea culpa:
We’re very sorry that we put out that map with the bullseyes and the talk of “aiming”. It was careless and inflammatory and we got carried away. We apologise unreservedly, whether or not it played any part in Jared Lee Loughner’s actions. Politics should be about the issues and, while there will always be disagreements, we should always conduct ourselves with dignity and respect.
That seems unlikely. But there’s another response that is also reasonable, but which I can’t imagine the left/liberals/media/whoever expecting:
Yes, we put out a map featuring bullseyes and referring to our opponents as “aiming”. It was a metaphor, and a way to encourage our supporters to work hard to beat the Democrats.
Political language is full of violent words and terms, from “fighting a campaign”, to “defending” spending plans, or organising a media “blitz”. We may have taken this idea further but, without evidence, we cannot believe that someone would commit this terrible and regrettable act of violence based solely on this kind of language and imagery.
The idea that someone of otherwise sound mind could be influenced in this horrific way by such a thing is as ludicrous as suggesting they could be influenced by violent films or video games, something we will never do again.
I’m not saying I agree with this response 100%, but at least it would have some internal logic. But that, also, seems unlikely.