[Illustration by ALEX FINE]
ABC NEWS: In the stunned aftermath of the Tucson massacre, Sarah Palin has found herself in the crosshairs of the ensuing political debate with opponents suggesting she may have fueled the gunman’s rage and her supporters saying it is “grotesque” to blame her and to politicize the tragedy. Crosshairs is a political phrase that emerged from Palin’s political action committee SarahPac that targeted congressional districts for the Tea Party campaign in the last election, including the district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Although Palin later denied she meant the graphic over the districts to look like a gun sight, it is part of the hunting lexicon that critics say she prefers.
Comedian Frank Conniff tweeted: “Hey, Sarah Palin, hows that hatey, killy, reloady, crosshairsy thing working out for ya?” Facebook executive Randi Zuckerberg said many people on the social networking site are asking whether Sarah Palin is to blame. According to Zuckerberg that is the #1 question on the social network behemoth following the Tucson shooting. Like so much with Palin, the roots are on Facebook. On her Facebook page last year when she posted the a map of 20 congressional districts targeted by SarahPac, the headline of the map: “It’s time to take a stand.”
At the time Giffords reacted to the map in an interview on a cable news program. “When people do that, they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said. No connection has been made between this graphic and the Arizona shooting, but it has put the Palin team somewhat on the defensive. Rebecca Mansour, a spokesperson for SarahPac, told conservative commentator Tammy Bruce, “We never imagined, it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent.” Insisting she was speaking for herself, and not on behalf of Palin, Mansour added, “We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights.” However, following the initial controversy over the “crosshairs” last year, Palin issued her now oft repeated rallying cry, “Don’t retreat. RELOAD.” MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: Law enforcement officials said Friday they have multiple photos of Jared L. Loughner posing with a Glock 9mm pistol next to his naked buttocks and dressed in a bright red g-string. It is the same model of weapon as the one the police say Mr. Loughner used last Saturday to kill six people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, and to wound 14 others, including an Arizona congresswoman. The photos were turned over to the police by Walgreens, where Mr. Loughner had taken the 35-mm film to be developed on Jan. 7, the day before the shooting. In some of the photos he is holding the gun near his crotch, and in others, presumably shot in a mirror, he is holding the gun next to his buttocks, the police said. It was not yet clear when the photos were taken. According to a detailed timeline released by the Pima County Sherriff’s Department on Friday, Mr. Loughner posted one of the photos and a bulletin saying, “Goodbye friends,” on MySpace early Saturday morning. MORE