Video: Sarah Palin Responds, and She's Right
Like Jon Stewart, Sarah Palin rejects the attempts to cast blame for this tragedy.
Sarah Palin has finally responded to the accusations that her target map caused or contributed to the Giffords shooting. Despite the usual bumbling ("Our country! So vibrant with ideas and passionate exchange and debate of ideas!"), an unnecessary charge of "blood libel" against journalists, and a strange, greenscreened background, Palin makes virtually the same point as Jon Stewart: We can't possibly know what caused Jared Lee Loughner to commit these unspeakable acts, and it does a dishonor both to the victims and the American political process to lay the blame on any particular politician.
Like Stewart said, the same argument that ascribes causation to Palin's map is the one used by people who tried to blame Marilyn Manson for the Columbine shootings. If you rejected that argument (as you should), you should also reject arguments from either side of the political aisle that use this tragedy to blame the other side.
Even if we find that Loughner was inspired, in some way, by Palin's map (we have no evidence that he was), that still won't prove that Palin caused this tragedy. In the absence of Palin's map, something else could have set him off. There is simply no way to predict what might push an insane person to do this. The same goes for arguments about gun control. Should it have been harder for Loughner to buy a gun? Certainly; it should be harder for everyone to buy a gun. Would that have kept him from hurting the Congresswoman if he set his mind to it? Absolutely not. The only thing that would have stopped Loughner from carrying out his horrible plan is mental health help the moment it was clear he needed it. If, to help recover from this tragedy, we feel a need as a society to be prescriptive about preventing a similar event, that is what we should focus on.