Sarah Palin, always the victim, is now claiming she has been slapped with a "blood libel." She claims that the "mainstream media" is accusing her of "accessory to murder" in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and others. She claims her comments had "no connection" to the shooter and any connection between her violent imagery and the shootings is "impossible." It's all a "blood libel" by her opponents to "shut her up."
But how can you say that the use of violent imagery and rhetoric had zero influence on the shooting? I could agree if you said it probably didn't, you could go so far as to say it almost certainly didn't. But zero? That's impossible to prove.
Violent imagery has been used in politics forever. States in question are "battleground" states. Campaigns are often called "fights." But using actual crosshairs? Saying things like "Don't retreat. Reload?" Those probably go a little bit farther than she intended when trying to sound tough. They could be confused by some people to mean "if we can't beat them at the polls, don't let that stop you." It's probably harmless. But why take the chance?
Nobody is trying to shut Sarah Palin up. Again, she's misinterpreting the First Amendment that protects her freedom of speech. She thinks it protects her from criticism.
No rational person thinks she should be stopped from saying whatever she wants. Nobody is saying she shouldn't be able to use whatever imagery she wants to create whatever public persona she desires. Short of saying "Please go out and kill anyone that disagrees with me," she can say whatever she wants. The First Amendment actually does protect that.
But in her over-the-top violent imagery and her absolute unwillingness to back down from it one bit, she's displaying the worst possible character trait for someone in her profession. Poor judgment. Judgment is all we elect people for. It's the only real qualification a politician can have. And this woman continues to show poor judgment over and over and over again.