I come here today to defend Sarah Palin, not set her in the cross hairs of my 30 caliber Luger semiautomatic pistol poised to pull the trigger.
The former Alaska governor, best known for coining cult popular phrases as "palling around with terrorists" and "death panels," has concocted a new hip jargon in opposition to the health overhaul legislation. It is "Commonsense Conservatives And Lovers of America Don't Retreat -- Instead Reload" on her Facebook page.
Under the names of 20 Democrats who voted for the health bill she posted a map of the United States and used gun cross hairs to identify where the Democratic districts are located.
Say what you want about Sarah Palin, she's a marketing genius. "Don't Retreat -- Reload" is catchy and describes perfectly the essence of her mission.
As long as Sarah Barracuda, a nickname she earned as a high school basketball point guard, doesn't run for public office, I envy her for pursuing the American dream by marketing herself and making obscene amounts of money on public speaking tours, publishing ghost-written books and pitching a reality show.
I think her real niche in life is forming a business writing ad copy. She does it better than anyone in the business now and to think, she's just a hockey mom.
Because she is so high profile, so charming, so photogenic, so sound-bite-ish,. so universally common, she sometimes is careless and irresponsible in the exalted position she is now milking for all its worth.
The "Don't Retreat, Reload" launch into the public mindset couldn't have come at a worse time. Our nation is divided from the passions the health overhaul law stirred the past year.
Even before the House vote Sunday, unruly protesters waving "Kill the Bill" placards spit and hurled verbal epithets at black and gay Congressmen. After the vote, bricks and other physical forms of violence were thrown at congressional district offices in at least a dozen locations around the nation.
In Sarah Palin's shallow roots in wild, rural frontier Alaska, guns are a natural way of life and used for intended purposes such as shooting wild game. The same holds true for rural America and now even our national parks.
I am a firm defender of the Second Amendment and agree with the National Rifle Association's mantra that guns don't kill, people do. I'm no fan of gun restrictions because if some cretin wants a gun, he can always find one.
Just as Palin, I was raised in a rural area. It was on a farm 2 1/2 miles south of San Juan Capistrano in Southern California. My father and oldest brother had a cabinet full of rifles and pistols which we used for target practice and shooting rabbits that preyed on my dad's vegetable crops.
My brother Lee instructed me meticulously on the use and care of these weapons with the admonition of using my father's horse whip if I violated that trust and used any of the guns on my own.
I did. At age 11, bored yet adventurous on a sunny summer day, I began play acting to amuse myself. I took the key to unlock the cabinet drawer and removed the Luger. Outside, I played an imaginary cowboy shooting the bad guys. I may have pulled the Luger trigger three times.
Then I played a captured spy refusing to be taken alive after being cornered in a dark alley. I pulled the Luger trigger two more times, one at my head and one at my crotch. Game over, I was about to set the Luger in the drawer when it dawned on me to check the clip. A hallow-point .38-caliber shell was lodged in the top rung just two trigger pulls away from firing.
I have never touched a gun since that day.
I don't think Mrs. Palin really appreciates the dangers of guns in the hands of the wrong people. Someone out there is bound to take her literally.
What comes to mind is the snide remarks we made about Josef Stalin during his brutal reign of the Soviet empire where dissidents expressing criticism of the totalitarian government were deemed as "crazies" and dispatched to the gulags.
In America, we consider assassins and mass murderers also as "crazy" even though those killers who survive may not use "insanity" as a defense.
The only attempted assassin I recall who used the insanity defense successfully was John Hinkley Jr. who shot President Reagan.
But, what about this cast of characters -- Mark David Chapman who shot and killed John Lennon, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Erik David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold of the Columbine High School killings, James Huberty who killed 23 persons in the McDonald's San Ysidro massacre, Scott Roeder who killed abortion Dr. George Tiller and Leon Czolgosz who assassinated President McKinley. In each case the demons in their minds pushed them over the cliff and the public's opinion of them was guilty as a bunch of crazies.
Guns are prevalent in America. According to msnbc.com, thanks to gun "right to carry" advocacy groups, the number of concealed weapon permits alone since the 1980s has increased from about 1 million to 6 million.
Msnbc.com's analysis claims 37 states allow these "shall issue" permits. Alaska and Vermont are two states which allow anyone to carry concealed weapons without permits, according to the report. It said Illinois and Wisconsin ban concealed weapons under any circumstances.
According to the “Concealed Carry Killer” Web site, 130 civilians and nine police officers have been killed and 13 mass shootings have been carried out by people with concealed-weapons permits since May 2007.
The highest gun homicide rate is in Washington, D.C., which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry: 20.50 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate. The lowest rate, 1.12, is in Utah, which has such a liberal concealed weapons policy that most American adults can get a permit to carry a gun in Utah without even visiting the state.
Msnbc.com reports gun-rights activists point to studies they say prove that having more guns in civilian hands, whether being carried by permit holders or not, has reduced crime rates.
I'm not advocating either side of this debate. Rather, pointing out the availability of guns obtained lawfully or otherwise in the hands of Americans It takes only one demented soul to pull the trigger at the wrong person at the right time.
Mrs. Palin ought to know words are powerful messengers. So are bullets.
She must take responsibility for the corpses that could fall on the doorsteps of her metaphors.