- Simply because you're not posting something like "pray for the Tucson victims" doesn't mean you're not sad for them and concerned.
- Expressing your outrage over the violent rhetoric that, at minimum, creates an overheated environment that could be seen, especially by unbalanced people, as legitimizing violent acts, does not disrespect the victims. It honors them, and all others who might be in the crosshairs, by trying to stop it from happening again and shaming people into some modicum of responsibility.
- I don't consider it exploiting a tragedy for political purposes if people like me have been vocally pointing out the issue for the past several years -- both when politicians and commentators spout their vitriol and when the many, many other (albeit lesser) acts of violence, vandalism and intimidation regularly occur. This is just the latest example.
- I don't know whether Sarah Palin is directly or even indirectly to blame for what happened. But if this incident, and peoples' angry reaction to it, serve to muzzle her hate-filled speech, even for a little while, if it causes her to think a bit before she speaks or, dare I say it, study a little of this country's long, sad, violent history, then some good will have come from this.
- I still believe speaking up in protest and holding people's feet to the fire is more honorable and productive than sitting on the sidelines, quietly throwing up your hands, and dismissing all politics as corrupt and futile.
- People who continue to push this equivalence argument are either disingenuous or they're not paying attention. The fact that most people don't vote and even fewer read the news suggests the latter.
To the last point, I will quote a couple of people. First, Andrew Sullivan:
"The right and the left both have intemperate voices. But here's the key: only the conservative movement counts the most vile blowhards as leading lights, embraced by the leadership. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Sarah Palin: these are among the most popular conservatives in America. Who are the folks on the left with equivalent popularity and influence?"
Or as John Cole over at Balloon Juice put it:
"Glenn Beck tells millions that Obama hates white people and is going to kill 10% of the population, and some random commenter at the Daily Kos says in a comment that a politician is 'dead to me.' It's the same thing!"
I try to respect other people's opinions. But that doesn't mean I think they're informed opinions.