Keith Olbermann's special comment re: Tuscon shooting involving US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
I woke up this morning to the tragic news that US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life after having been shot in the head during a meet the constituents session in Tuscon, Arizona.
Picture above taken under the Creative Commons License from Freedom to Marry on Flickr
From the latest reports that I have read, 12 are injured while six people have perish – five on the scene and one in the hospital. This include a 9-year-old child and a Federal Judge who has served for over 40 years. My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who were killed, and I wish for the speedy recovery of those hurt in the incident.
I am writing this post because I want to share this video I watched earlier by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.
In the video, he makes references to people who – while not ‘directly’ involved in the incident – had contributed to such violence through their actions. One that really stood out was former US Vice President nominee Sarah Palin who marked 20 politicians with “crosshairs of a gun sight” on a map asking supporters to target their areas after they voted in support of the controversial health care bill earlier this year . Congresswoman Giffords was one of the 20. I came across another video in which Gifford warned of the consequences of such an action. You can watch the video here.
I don’t want to be seen as only targeting Sarah Palin. Olbermann mentions several names in his comment piece that I am unfamiliar with (but I’m not that all clued in on American politics to comment too much).
However, I tweeted with a friend from America about this he said that “We’re told that things like this don’t happen in America”. I replied and said that it happens everywhere. At the end of the day, any action or words or behaviour that condones hate, or stems from it, contributes to actions like this. We might not see this so commonly in many countries – including ours – because unlike the US, we don’t have a 2nd Amendment in the Constitution that protects a citizen’s right to “keep and bear arms”.
Still, you don’t need to shoot a person to cause serious hurt – physically, emotionally and mentally.
During the recent AFF Suzuki World Cup, many of our neighbours offered unkind words after Malaysia’s 3-0 win in the first leg against Indonesia. It even took “Hate Malaysia” at the top of Twitter’s trending list. Some people have commented that this is only the opinion and view of a small community of people and does not represent the views of all Indonesians. I believe that is true but it is the little things like this that stoke the fire. Malaysians retaliating, with #IndonesiaSourGrapes, was equally as bad. I credited my friend Radiance on the #LOLshow when we spoke about it who suggested that instead, we should spread the #iheartmalaysia hastag to support our Malaysian team (instead of retaliating with unkind words ourself).
Like in Oblemann’s speech, I too believe all these things contribute and lead to a part of violence and hate. Even something as simple as bitchy comments can be seen as a form of bullying and hate, which lead to gossip blogger Perez Hilton pledging to be less sarky in his blog in his “It Gets Better” video. In Malaysia, we saw so much of these in 2010 – from the attacks on churches and mosques, educationist speaking ill about other people’s race, culture and beliefs and even the reaction to one man’s brave attempt at coming out publicly.
It is hard not to sometimes react to things. We are after all human. Obelmann too admitted to having made some unkind comments in the past and apologised for it.
I would like to do the same – I am sorry if any of my words, actions or behaviour may have not only caused hurt and grief to someone else but indicated to anyone at all that hate is at all okay.
Love and light to everyone.
5.31pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)