Until the shootings occurred on Saturday in Tucson, Arizona, there was a billboard advertizing Rush Limbaugh’s show on radio station KNST, the local station that airs Rush’s show each day. The sign, placed there by the radio station, depicted several bullet holes with the words “Rush Limbaugh – Straight Shooter”. It had been there for some time but was removed on Monday, two days after the shootings just five miles away.
Amazingly, after the shootings occurred, suddenly this sign meant Rush Limbaugh is advocating violence. People vilified the talk show host (even more than usual) saying the sign went overboard with the bullet holes and could easily cause some poor mentally unstable person to go out and kill someone.
Really? Have we really gotten to a point in our society where a sign with a graphic of bullet holes that says “Straight Shooter” causes people to murder other people? In reading the article about the billboard and the comments afterward, I found that many people on the left still truly believe talk show hosts and conservative political personalities are to blame for the actions of Jared Loughner on Saturday. There isn’t a single shred of evidence to support their allegations. Even liberal media outlets are retracting their statements that blamed people like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh because law enforcement officials are confirming what conservatives knew all along – that Loughner is a deranged individual with no real political ties and widely ranged beliefs that spanned both sides of the aisle and in between. Yet people on the left still blame the right.
Do we have to watch our words now to the point where any word that can be used in a violent context is off limits? Are the words shoot, gun and bullet going to be banned from everyday speech to keep some nut from shooting someone? Will basketball players no longer be able to “take a shot” or “shoot the ball toward the rim”? Will football have to outlaw the “kick” or the “tackle” because they could be construed as violent terms? We all know how guys like to watch and practically worship football. Will employers no longer be able to “fire” someone because the word “fire” could mean a hot flame or even a gunshot? How far will it go?
It seems sometimes that if a conservative talk show host opens the show with “Good morning listeners. I hope you’re having a good day” and then ends the show, someone will find something offensive about it. Conservative talk show hosts are vilified on a daily basis even though many people who vilify them admit they “will never listen to those people”. Excuse me but really, if you never listen to them, how can you offer an intelligent criticism of what they say? If you want to criticize someone at least use factual information that you gathered yourself. Is that too much to ask?
Blaming people on the right for the actions of a few deranged individuals is a stretch but it’s a stretch more and more people on the left are wanting to make. I posted a joke last night online about the left having two dictionaries: one that has all of the words known to man for their own use and another, exactly the same but to be used to attack the right called “Words Of Violence Used By The Right.” I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s equally ridiculous for people to translate every word or phrase uttered by a conservative as violent hate speech. Don’t believe it’s happening? Go to any article online about Sarah Palin, Rush, or Glenn Beck and read the comments at the end. See for yourself how hateful the left can be when they’re talking about someone who opposes their views.
The hatred and verbal attacks come from both sides and I’m in no way saying people on the right are innocent. In fact, according to the Senate Sergeant at Arms, threats against members of Congress have risen 300% in the last couple of years. It’s obvious people are not happy with the government and that unhappiness is reaching a boiling point. But does that mean we can no longer voice our opinions because someone might misconstrue them and act in a violent manner? I truly hope not.
I believe in the inherent good of people in general. I believe most people, whether they agree or disagree politically, want what’s best for the country (in their opinion) and want things to progress peacefully no matter in which direction we’re moving. Radical extremist fringe is radical extremist fringe, regardless of which side of the aisle they’re on. And those radical extremists should not be allowed to change the discourse in our country. We’re better than that. At least I believe we are.