I listened to Sarah Palin’s response to the Tucson shooting at lunch today and did so again this evening. When I first heard her use the phrase “blood libel” I shuddered. I know the term. It’s an artifact of history that I’ve sited as a low point in Christian history many times before. I scratched my head and wondered what she meant by its use. It’s easy for me to jump to the conclusion that Palin is simply dull and does not know what her words mean. But then - she has speech writers. Her use of blood libel was deliberate. If she is trying to paint her position as similar to an innocent Jew accused of murdering children to use their blood, then she’s way off the mark. She’s not an innocent bystander. She’s a player. Her game is influence. She’s spent the last two years trying to influence others, and so did her Tea Party movement. When the press (and bloggers) starting making links between vitriolic rhetoric, gun site graphics, and political violence, they naturally pointed to the source, Sarah Palin.
Is Sarah Palin to blame for the horrible events that occurred in Tucson last Saturday? Did she guide the actions of Jared Lee Loughner? Did she help point the gun that killed so many innocent people and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords? I say no, Sarah Palin is not directly to blame. She cannot be held directly responsible for the actions of a man who appears to have mental health issues and may well be a complete and total nutball. However, I think Sarah Palin may be indirectly responsible. The term I’m looking for is “partial culpability”. How culpable? I don’t know. Is she 10% culpable or is it 50%. We will find out as the investigation unfolds. I think we may find some level of culpability, even if it is simply vilifying Giffords. Palin promoted the climate of hate the fed Jared Loughner. She pushed the lunatic fringe to action. She called for a revolution, why is she surprised that somebody answered?