As you may have sadly heard, Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head today.
A gunman opened fire at a political event in Arizona; one of her aides was killed, along with five others, and a total of twelve others were injured.
It's an unspeakable tragedy, and my heart goes out to all those impacted by this cowardly attack. However, even though mere hours have passed, people are already laying blame.
At Sarah Palin.
Yes, even though no information has been released about the killer, the left wing are already laying blame at Palin and other right-wing conservatives.
They point out that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was one of the Democratic incumbents featured on Palin's famous 'crosshair' map during the recent elections - she extolled conservative voters to 'target' those representatives to be ousted. They're making the assumption that the attack was committed by one of her supporters taking that suggestion literally.
"If it wasn't Tea Party," one pundit claims, "it won't be from lack of trying on Sarah Palin's part."
"Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shooting was politically motivated," another Twitterer writes. "It must be noted she was on Palin's target map."
"Gun imagery and electoral politics don't mix that well," somebody else wrote. "Who knew that telling people to "reload", "target" and "knock off" politicians might cause them to reload, target and knock off politicians?"
But all of this rhetoric is based on an assumption - that the gunman who shot up Gifford's assembly was a disgruntled, white, right-wing conservative. At this point in time (4pm, Saturday) no information has been released about the shooter apart from the fact that he's around 20 years old (they didn't even mention his race.)
This is significant because Arizona is not just home to gun-toting rednecks yelling abuse at town hall meetings - it's also the front line in a war against Mexican drug cartels, who have often taken violence into the heart of Arizona (just recently, a farmer was murdered in his home by a
Mexican drug gang.)
Just recently, Arizona caused outrage when it stepped up policing of the border, infringing on the drug cartel's impunity in crossing from American to Mexican territory, and also targeted illegal immigrants living in the state itself. Notably, Gabrielle Giffords (a former Republican) was in support of this controversial border control, even though other Democrats compared it to that old perennial, 'a Nazi state.'
So let's not pretend right-wing conservatives - even the ones who stroll around Arizona with 9mms strapped to their thighs - are the only suspects in Rep. Gifford's shooting. It's just as likely - in fact considerably more so - that the gunman was motivated by the immigration situation, or had 'firing orders' [literally - Editorial Bear] from Cartel paymasters south of the border.
In fact, there are many possible explanation for why Rep. Giffords was shot [Including a right-wing nut being responsible - Editorial Bear] but at this point, it's far too soon to leap to any conclusions.
Just look at what happened a few years ago, in Washington D.C., when a sniper was driving around shooting random citizens. The media produced a profile of the suspected killer - a disgruntled white male with a grudge against society. It was only when the sniper (and his accomplice) were caught that we discovered how wrong this 'politically correct' profile had been. The killer was really an African-American called 'Muhammad,' who'd converted to Islam.
I'm not saying Gifford wasn't shot by a disgruntled, white, tea party activist - I'm just saying let's not automatically make that assumption, because we'll look bloody stupid (again) if we're proved wrong.
I'm also saying that disliking Sarah Palin is one thing - but accusing her of murder by proxy is hyperbole of the highest order.