Are Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and the rest of the gang guilty of stochastic terrorism?
President Obama was in Arizona last night to speak at a memorial service for the victims of the Arizona shooting. He - along with a few Members of Congress – also visited Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the hospital where more positive signs of recovery continue to emerge. Giffords reportedly opened her eyes for the first time. The President focused his speech on the victims of the tragedy – using the death of 9-year-old Christina Green to encourage our nation to move forward – to be better. As he said, “I want America to be as good as she imagined it.” His speech stood in stark contrast to the bitter and divisive statement Sarah Palin released the day before. Palin focused much of her time on the shooter – and invoked the term “blood libel” to characterize her treatment from the media. “Blood libel” is a blatantly anti-Semitic remark and may also be a dog whistle to her base of militias and ultra Conservatives as she prepares her 2012 Presidential run. While President Obama stayed above the fray – refusing to condemn the political rhetoric coming from the Right…as he probably should – I won’t.
When you listen to people like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and the rest of the gang – it’s easy to see – these men and women are guilty of something called stochastic terrorism. That is – the use of mass communication like radio or television to encourage individuals to commit random lone acts of violence. It’s what Glenn Beck was guilty of when he encouraged Byron Williams to attempt to massacre members of the Tides foundation and ACLU. It’s what Bill O’ Reilly was guilty of when he shouted “Tiller the baby killer” a dozen times on his show – and then someone killed Dr. George Tiller. And it could be what all these talking heads are guilty of when Jared Lee Loughner took his semi-automatic pistol to a local Safeway grocery store in Tucson on Saturday and attacked his hated "big government" by trying to assassinate a Congresswoman. We are living in a volatile and violent nation today – and if we want to emerge from it – we need to recognize the damage certain people on the Right are doing. They are profiting off their own unique form of terrorism.