From the Huffington Post:
The Lock and Load Rhetoric of American Politics Isn’t Just a Metaphor
I’m not saying that putting a bullseye[sic] * on Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ congressional race – as Sarah Palin did – was an explicit or intentional invitation to violence. Nor am I saying that the “Get on Target for Victory” events held by the guy Giffords beat – “Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly” – was the reason her assassin went after her. This tragedy is still unfolding, and the questions of motive and incitement will be argued about for a long time to come.
But I am saying that the “lock and load”/”take up your arms”rhetoric of American politics isn’t just an overheated metaphor. For years, the language of sports has dominated political journalism, and discourse about hardball and the horserace and the rest of the macho athletic lexicon has been a factor in the trivialization of our public sphere. This has helped dumb down democracy, making a serious national discussion about anything important too wonky for words.
The “second amendment solution,” though, does something worse than make politics a branch of entertainment. It makes it a blood sport. I know politics ain’t beanbag. But words have consequences, rhetoric shapes reality, and much as we like to believe that we are creatures of reason, there is something about our species’ limbic system and lizard brainstems that makes us susceptible to irrational fantasies.
If you’re worried that violent video games may make kids prone to bad behavior; if you think that misogynic and homophobic rap lyrics are dangerous to society; if you believe that a nipple in a Superbowl halftime show is a threat to our moral fabric – then surely you should also fear that the way public and media figures have framed political participation with shooting gallery imagery is just as potentially lethal.
I believe Marty Kaplan just said it all. You don’t have to go to a national level to feel the sting of exactly what he was talking about. And it doesn’t all have to do with fire arms metaphors. The entire bullying tones of politics is felt. Private citizens are made fun of just for expressing their opinions. We all know what I am talking about.
I don’t believe any one thing triggered Jarod to go on a rampage. I will leave that to the experts. He was obviously psychotic. However, the vitriolic attacks I have heard for the past 48 hours on Sheriff Dupnik have been shocking. I have heard major unnamed networks call for his removal and he has been castigated as though he spat on the pearly gates. What happened to those ideas of Americana like free speech and democratically elected officers? Dupnik lives in the region and knows a lot more about the pulse and tone of his area than any of us.