Child Caught in Political Crosshairs

9 01 2011

The 9-year-old was identified as Christina Taylor Greene. CNN affiliate KVOA said family members described her as “excited” about the political process, and that the desire to learn more about it had motivated her to go to the Gifford event for constituents.

Christina was born on September 11, 2001, the affiliate reported.

From CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/08/arizona.shooting.other.victims/index.html?hpt=T1)

This hits close to home.

During the Healthcare debate and subsequent election, my son attended a number of events for our Congressman– who is also on Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs” list.

At best Palin (Angle, Limbaugh, O’Riley, Jesse Kelly (http://www.blogforarizona.com/blog/2010/06/jesse-kelly-event-is-this-wording-intentional.html) and so many others) were childish and irresponsible… at worst, they should be prosecuted under the Fighting Words Doctrine.

The fighting words doctrine, in United States constitutional law, is a limitation to freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In its 9-0 decision, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942), the U.S. Supreme Court established the doctrine and held that “insulting or ‘fighting words,’ those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace” are among the “well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech [that] the prevention and punishment of…have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem.” From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_words)

While we don’t know the shooter’s motives  for certain or the influence of those who use reckless language on him, we do know that hate-filled, violence evoking language does result in harm… real harm… irreversible harm. It’s past time to tone it down!

I’ve always encouraged my son to have an opinion– to fight (politely!) for what he needs… to be involved. I can’t ask him to do that anymore.

When my son and I left one of the debates our Congressman held with his opponent, I felt well…  uncomfortable and decided that my son was done with politics until he can make an intelligent, informed choice for himself. While there were no threats, there was animosity towards him. (See 10/18/10 post)

Christina’s murder is too close to home… my heart aches for the Greene family and I know that there, but for the grace of God, goes my son… and my Congressman.

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