Consequence of the Spoken Word

“Oh be careful little mouths what you say.”

Remember that Sunday School song from when you were a kid?  Well, I do.  I also remember growing up being told that it wasn’t what I DID that got me into trouble….it was what I SAID.

Now with this tragic shooting in Arizona, words are coming back to haunt a few people.  Here is what Sarah Palin said on the Facebook page where she depicted Gabrielle Giffords in the cross hairs of a rifle scope:

“Don’t retreat! Instead – RELOAD!”

I’m sure Palin only meant for her followers to go un-seat Giffords and 19 other Democrats who had ticked her off by voting for healthcare.  Yet after hearing Palin’s message with violent overtones, a loyal Tea Party constituent and Sarah Palin supporter dropped his gun while heckling Giffords at a Congress On Your Corner event, later that year.

That did not stop Palin from declaring Giffords a “target.” Giffords’ district office was subsequently vandalized, and the congresswoman noted that Palin had put “the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district.”

“When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said.

But on the flip side of that coin are the words:

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” – Barack Obama 6/14/2008

So is any one person or political party, other than Jared Lee Loughner, responsible for what happened yesterday morning?  No.  But I believe the current state of American politics is a huge contributing factor.  You don’t have be on the left, right, middle or underground.  Sometimes all it takes it one crackpot catching a whiff of political toxicity.

We seem to be a country that waits until something bad happens before we’ll fix the problem.  Perhaps this Arizona massacre will open a political debate on how damaging this violent rhetoric can be.  But already, everyone seems to be arguing and pointing fingers of blame…sadly and completely missing the whole point.

So I try to tune out the political thunder and focus on those lives that were taken for reasons I’m struggling to understand:

*  Dorwin Stoddard, 76 years of age, threw himself over his wife’s body to protect her from the bullet that killed him.

*  Dorothy Murray, 76 years of age.  Shot and killed.

*  Phyllis W. Schneck, 79 years of age.  Shot and killed after attending “Congress On Your Corner” where she hoped to meet the woman she’d voted into office.  Phyllis had been a life-long conservative Replublican.

*  Judge John Roll, 63 years of age.  Shot and killed after walking over to say hello to Gabrielle Giffords.  He had just left Mass.

*  Gabe Zimmerman, 30 years of age.  Shot and killed while serving as Gabrielle Gifford’s staffer.  He was engaged to be married.

*  Christina Green, 9 years of age.  Born in the midst of tragedy on September 11, 2001…tragically shot and killed while attending a local Congress On Your Corner.  She had just been elected president of her student council and was eager to meet U.S. Representative Giffords.

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