Sarah Palin has lashed out at critics who say her at-times violence-tinged political rhetoric influenced Jared Lee Loughner, the man who shot 14 people this weekend in Tuscon, Arizona, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. “After the shocking tragedy, I listened puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements of those attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event,” Palin said. “President Reagan said we must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing district used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their first amendment rights at campaign rallies, and not with those who proudly voted in the last election.” Palin continued to say the beauty of the American political system is that two sides can fight bitterly during an election then “shake hands and get back to work.” But then she immediately reverted back to criticizing the media’s invocation of her political rhetoric — a map that showed contentious political districts targeted in the crosshairs of gun-related slogans like “Don’t retreat, just reload” — in covering the Giffords shooting.
“Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that only serves to incite the very hatred that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible,” Palin said. (Vanity Fair attempts to explain what she meant by “blood libel” here.) “There are those who say political rhetoric is to blame for this despicable act by this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those calm days when political figures literally solved their political differences with dueling pistols?”
Palin continued on, urging everyone to “condemn violence,” and said when she urged citizens on the campaign trail to “take up our arms, we’re talking about our votes.”
Frankly, I think it’s the most well-written public speaking I’ve ever seen Sarah Palin give, although I can’t help but notice how annoyed she looks through the whole thing. I encourage you to watch the full video and let us know what you think about her statement in the comments.