The Poison Pen

We know words have power. We have always known that to be true. The phrase ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’, dates back to the early 1800’s from the play “Richelieu” by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. But never has the use of words incited such a debate over their outcome, than in the shooting at a grocery store/shopping plaza in Arizona this past weekend.

The target was apparently Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot through her head. She remains in critical condition. Six others from ages 9 to 79 died from their injuries and at least a dozen more were injured.

The shooter, 22, Jared Loughner, is apparently mentally disturbed. Anything may have fueled his flawed reasoning, but Sarah Palin’s target drawn on Ms. Giffords, her chilling call to lock and load, and ‘take her out’, now seem to be taking the center stage of blame.

Is this fair? Is that what Palin meant and is it ok to use such inflammatory speech when you are a public figure?

I personally think Palin resorts to these types of quips and catch phrases to make up for her lack of intelligence. When asked a direct question, she will use some colloquial eskimo story or tell a tale about salmon. Her resignation speech when she quit the office of governor of Alaska, was full of those types of stories that seemingly meant nothing and left everybody scratching their heads and wondering what she meant. So I’m not surprised that she uses the most base way of reaching people.

However, you don’t have to be the one who begins pushing others to be charged if you yell ‘fire’ in a crowded building and a stampede results. And you better not joke about explosives in the airport.

I do think calls for firing on districts bear our discussions and close attention. And I think Sarah Palin should take a closer look at the faces of those who will not see their loved ones again in this life and see the residual damage her words help to induce.

I commend Fox network for issuing orders to their hosts that will hold them to a higher standard of verbal conduct; a demand for intellectual point making and an end to the polarizing, vitriolic language.

To my readers, I sat on this blog for a day, not wanting to be the very poison pen that I was trying to make the warning about. But then I heard the response from Palin supporters and I just couldn’t believe the tactic blaming the media and failing to accept some responsibility for the violent words expressed on their websites within the media they were now criticizing. We are smarter than this.

To the families who lost loved ones, we all grieve with you. To those recovering, we offer prayers of speedy recovery. To the candidates and supporters of all parties, choose your words wisely. The pen truly is mightier than the sword.

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