In the aftermath of the Ft. Hood incident, for instance, the New York Times editorialized that it is “important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.”
Yet today the New York Times editorialized about the Tucson assailant: “it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge.”
This kind of language is used metaphorically quite often — appropriate or not — in politics, sports, and more. Further, a person who is capable of doing such a thing is looking for a trigger. As far as I know, Palin’s words nor anyone else’s haven’t proven to be the trigger, but the point is that it wouldn’t have been hard to find such a trigger. An off-balance person is going to look for a trigger, the decision to do such a horrendous things already been made.
As the article goes on to point out, our own (current) President has used terms like “hand-to-hand combat,” and phrases like “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” Sloppy, yes, but it’s not the cause of such gruesome acts.
It would be nice if the rhetoric were toned down, because it has morphed outside of what appeals to the average person. However, human beings have always used exaggeration to make a point and it’s not likely to stop anytime soon. Just watch a couple of commercials during tonight’s BCS National Championship game.