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Call It What It Is

September 11, 2001 was a day of terror for the United States. It led to the war on Afghanistan, despite no proof that its government, as horrible and heinous as the Taliban is, had anything whatsoever to do with the attacks. It led to the unprovoked attack on Iraq because of the country's supposed cache of Weapons of Mass Destruction, though none was ever found. For nearly a decade now, war and terror have been synonymous with American life. Daily, hourly it seems, we are bombarded with reports of suicide bombings, ethnic violence, killing, dismemberment, death, impending war in other areas of the world.

The "War on Terror" led to an entirely new rhetoric in Republican politics and the Media. Where euphemisms like "war on" and "battle for" and "fight against" have been common in both arenas for decades, if not longer, since 9/11/01, every violent metaphor imaginable has been used against opposing sides of the political spectrum. "Cross hairs," "reload," "take out," among others, have been shot repeatedly as if they are invisible, harmless bullets. According to the Press, Team A blasts, lambastes, wastes, annihilates Team B with mere words, which have usually been benign or banal.

Now, as Sarah Palin scrambles to delete certain Tweets and control damage from her Hit List of Democratic congresspersons, it's clear that we should have expected nothing less than violence against those targeted individuals. Because even if right-minded, logical, sane persons merely found all the hyperbole annoying, senseless, and sad, there are still those people who can't make the same distinctions. Clearly, Jared Lee Loughner, the man who felt the need to shoot at Representative Gabrielle Giffords during a meeting with voters in the parking lot of a supermarket, absorbed all those terror-filled words. Republicans endlessly use them to scare their constituents into voting for them; the Press ensures their terrorized readers and viewers come back for more. Loughner, lost in that chaos of words, chose to do something about it.

It's terrorism. Call it what it is. Then decide for yourself who is responsible.

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