In 1988, white supremacist Tom Metzger was successfully sued by the family of an Ethiopian man who was murdered by skinhead racists. Metzger had not met the men personally nor had he specifically ordered them to kill anyone. However, the rhetoric he spewed had created a situation where other racists felt compelled to kill people.
The shooting of Congresswoman Gabirelle Gifford and the killing of six other people by a mentally ill man who felt the government was trying to control his mind and was against health care and other things he saw as government interference in his life I believe is directly caused by the ratcheting up of violent rhetoric by the tea party and other groups associated with the republican party.
In particular, Sarah Palin’s use of gunsight bullseyes over the names and districts of politicians her PAC was attempting to defeat in the 2010 elections crossed the line. It is one thing to want to defeat someone politically it is another thing to use firearm related rhetoric and words such as “lock and load”, “in the crosshairs”, and “rearm and reload” and put the contest in the context of violently taking another person out.
I hope that Rep. Giffords as well as the families who lost loved ones in this horrendous act consider filing a civil law suit against Sarah Palin….Like Tom Metzger, she should be held accountable.