It's Sarah Palin's fault.
Palin would no doubt say that she was only speaking in metaphor, that she only meant her followers should work to unseat Giffords and 19 other Democrats who had roused her ire by voting for health care.This is modern day journalism for you: Fact-free reportage disguised as opinion. Let's not wait to calmly gather facts. They hate Sarah Palin so much it blinds them to reality. If anyone ever takes a shot at Palin, there's going to be a long, long list of lefties we can point our fingers at. The blood will be on their hands.
But anyone with any sense at all knows that violent language can incite actual violence, that metaphor can incite murder. At the very least, Palin added to a climate of violence.
Palin should have taken it as a warning of what might happen when a Tea Party hothead dropped a gun while heckling Giffords at an earlier Congress On Your Corner event, more than a year ago.
That did not stop Palin from declaring Giffords a "target." Giffords' district office was subsequently vandalized, and the congresswoman noted that Palin had put "the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district."
"When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action," Giffords said.
Giffords herself at least publicly failed to appreciate the full magnitude of the danger. She said at the time of the dropped gun incident that "at no point did I ever feel in danger and at no point did I ever feel there was a problem."