Sunday, January 9, 2011

Arizona Tragedy--some thoughts on language

Yesterday a madman, a disturbed individual or two, a disgruntled voter, someone named Jared went to a "congress on your corner" meeting and shot 19 people, killing a 9 year old and a federal judge and severely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Gifford.
The sheriff in Arizona stated "vitriol may be free speech but not without consequence." People began to complain about the political atmosphere in the country being filled with anger and hate. And then people found on Sarah Palin's website her "crosshairs" where on a map of the United States target marks were placed over areas where Democrat congress members serve. The words No retreat, reload appeared on the website. Palin cannot be held responsible. Nor can Beck.
No, their words were not the rally calls to violence. No, Palin and Beck are not calling people to go and shoot democrats. But have their words added to the violence and anger? Or have their words added to peaceful change?
Scripture states, be angry and do not sin. Being angry is not a sin. And there are plenty of things to be angry with in a broken world and broken system. Using violent imagery when inciting people to act may be cute and get your point across, but it also does not help encourage mature, civil dialogue and solutions.
No Palin is not to blame. But I would ask her and Beck to begin to choose their words better because we can be better. Words have power.

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