Imagine if Sarah Palin Had Said “Buy a Shotgun” Before the Navy Yard Shooting

palinLast February, as part of a White House push for a ban on semi-automatic rifles in response to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, Vice President Joe Biden offered some advice to a mother who was concerned about losing the ability to protect her children inside their home.

“Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun,” he told the woman during a Facebook town hall event for Parents magazine. Biden explained that he had given this same advice to his wife, instructing her to take the Biden family shotgun and fire it into the air if she ever felt threatened at their home.

A month earlier, in a similar forum, Biden offered a similar recommendation, explaining that gun-owners will feel much safer with a shotgun than with an AR-15 rifle because they are more accurate and easier to use.

Following Monday’s Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. several media outlets initially reported that the shooter, Aaron Alexis, had used an AR-15 to carry out his killing spree that resulted in the deaths of 12 innocent victims. The reports turned out to be wishful thinking on behalf of a media that desperately wanted to tie the horrific event to the kind of weapon that would have been banned by the Obama administration’s proposed gun laws.

The weapon that Alexis actually used? A shotgun – the very weapon that Joe Biden advocated for.

Is it fair to say that Joe Biden is at least partially responsible for what went down at the Navy Yard on Monday?

Of course not! Making that claim would be absolutely insane and totally unfair. Biden obviously had nothing to do with it.

But isn’t that essentially the same criteria the media used to indict former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting a couple of years ago?

As many might recall, almost immediately after Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at an Arizona event put on by Giffords (then a congresswoman), several media personalities were desperately looking to connect the violence to the vocal Tea Party movement. Sarah Palin in particular took a lot of heat after left-wing bloggers did a Google search on “Sarah Palin” and “Gabrielle Giffords” and discovered that Giffords’ congressional district had been “targeted” months earlier on one of Palin’s websites as part of a get out the vote election strategy. Along with several others, Giffords’ district was marked on a map of the United States with a cross-hair icon superimposed over it.

“Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin,” the Daily Kos website tweeted soon after word of the Arizona shooting broke.

The media ran with the narrative.

Michael Daly (no relation) of the New York Daily News wrote a column entitled “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ blood is on Sarah Palin’s hands after putting cross hair over district.” Among other accusations, Daly wrote, “At the very least, Palin added to a climate of violence.”

The New York Times‘ Matt Bai wrote, “it’s hard not to think [Loughner] was at least partly influenced by a debate that often seems to conflate philosophical disagreement with some kind of political Armageddon.” He went on to explain that Palin and others used “imagery of armed revolution.”

The Today Show ran a segment on the Palin criticism, putting forth the question of whether or not “today’s political rhetoric is inspiring a lunatic fringe?”

Caroline Howard of Forbes attributed the condolences Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page toward the Giffords family to a guilty conscience.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews shamed Palin for using “gun play language” against Giffords.

Matthews’ colleague at the time, Keith Olbermann, went a step further saying, “If Sarah Palin… does not repudiate her own part, however tangential, in amplifying violence and violent imagery in American politics, she must be dismissed from politics, she must be repudiated by the members of her party.”

CBS News ran an article on their website highlighting social media outrage of Palin’s use of the target symbol, and celebrities had a field day with their online condemnation of the former governor of Alaska.

There were plenty more examples.

It eventually came out that Loughner, who peers described as a “liberal”, suffered from severe mental illness. He had a documented fixation on Giffords that pre-dated both the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin’s ascendency to the national scene. Palin had no influence whatsoever on Loughner, as any fair-minded thinker would have simply just assumed in the first place.

Still, that didn’t stop ABC News, ten full months later, from recalling Sarah Palin’s “targeting” of Giffords during a television special on the former congresswoman’s inspirational recovery, listing it as a danger that Giffords overcame. It also didn’t stop CNN’s Piers Morgan, in an interview with Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly, from expressing appall over Palin’s refusal to take any responsibility for the incident.

The truth is that many in the media never were able to bring themselves to detach Palin from the the Giffords shooting, despite there being no connection between Palin and what happened that day.From a Dead Sleep - by John A. Daly

So I would ask those same people in the media why, then, isn’t Joe Biden somehow to blame (if  even in a small way) for the Navy Yard shooting? Why do his comments get a pass when the weapon he recommended that people use was the same one used by Aaron Alexis (a man who reportedly supported President Obama)? Why does a cross-hairs icon on a geographical map inspire murder, but telling people to “buy a shotgun” does not?

Again, I certainly don’t blame Biden for Monday’s shooting. But why don’t you in the media? You set the standard after all.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series, which is available through all major retailers. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • George Penwell

    It’s not that too many nuts or criminals have guns. Nuts and criminals will always find a way to obtain weapons one way or the other. It’s that not enough law abiding citizens are taking the initiative to train and carry their own weapons to offer defense of themselves and fellow citizens against the nuts out there.

    I can not believe a miltary facility having so many un armed people working there. I can understand the civilians being un armed but the Naval officers and personnel as well? That was a tragedy in its self.

  • Big Truck Joe

    guns don’t kill people, the mentally ill do.

  • Triple Lindy

    Piers Morgan claims Alexis used an AR-15 shotgun. Never let the facts get in the way of an agenda.

  • Tom Harvey

    It’s probably really fortunate that Virginia’s laws stopped Alexis from getting an AR-15 rather than a shotgun. The last big mass killing left twice as many dead. The media reported that Alexis was using buckshot with really big pellets. A shotgun with those or slugs isn’t really a shotgun anyway.

  • John Whittington

    Liberals are crazy, that is for sure !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • culturist

    You forget so easily.

    Back in February, only a couple of days after the Shotgun Salesman made his pitch, several people were gunned-down on an LA freeway with that favorite weapon of whom rides shotgun to the POTUS

    But did he retract that sales-pitch in favor of perhaps small handguns because they are even more accurate and even easier to use? And not nearly as messy nor noisy in a confined space.

    And waaay cooler, reeeal popular with crips and bloodss too.

    No, that would only have drawn attention to his sales pitch (and the idiocy thereof) so his minders were not about to let him do that.

  • D Parri

    John, unfortunately the media is too often most interested in selling the ‘news’…not reporting it honestly and accurately.

  • Paul Courtney

    John: Biden deserves contempt, but the press spent it all on an undeserving Palin. I have an idea for another double standard column for you. During run up to Iraq war and for rest of Bush admin, press spilled lotsa ink and news time covering past relations of Reagan/Bush with Saddam. Eventually press moved on, but K Olberman and Michael Moore types stayed on it. When Obama came in, fixing relations with Assad was high priority and we sent ambassador, Hillary and Nancy P. made high profile visits etc. Since Obama announced Assad must go and drew red line, has any outlet (even Fox) done story on Obama’s wildly successful Syria reset?

  • Brian Fr Langley

    What can I say politics in rhyme is fun.
    Americans never liked being thought arty,
    and once we’re quite proud they were hearty,
    now for many their goal,
    is life on the dole,
    so maybe it’s time for Tea Party.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Another limerick John?
    Media lies, fill the air like pollution,
    and since when, do they offer solution,
    the more that they shill,
    for the left leaning mill,
    the more we should have, revolution.
    A little strident, but hey it’s a limerick.

  • sodakhic

    Great article, John. Pretty soon you’ll be from the State of North Colorado.

    • John Daly

      Thanks, but I’m pretty sure we won’t have a 51st state any time soon. 😉

      • D Parri

        Dunno…heard there is a group in Maryland mounting a secession party…perhaps West Maryland?

  • Stoneyjack

    The Palin-hating media have their narrative. Truth & justice mean nothing to them. Biden is one of theirs.

  • Sue Lynn

    Sarah Palin was correct in doing her famous facebook video at the time. God Bless Sarah for she is an American Treasure that is hard working truthful and can be trusted with a stellar record to prove it . Most people would have been crushed with these kind of lies but not Sarah Palin she gets stronger because the truth is on her side!

    • George Penwell

      Despite the grief that she gets I think Sarah is pretty awesome.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Views liberal, the media shoves,
    so Joe Biden the media loves,
    they’ll take all the guns
    from the hands of your sons,
    to turn you from hawks into doves.

  • Tim Ned

    I was fortunately to have a father that taught me gun safety as I grew up in a hunting family. Gun wisdom I passed on to my kids and now I can pass on to my grandchildren.

    A few years ago my youngest daughter who is a tiny cute blonde had a 16th birthday coming up. One of my very liberal neighbors asked her what she wanted for her birthday. And she explained in detail the Browning 12 Gauge shotgun that floored my neighbor.

    The fact is my daughter can handle that gun because she has been taught. And through my lessons, and from those of both her grandfathers, I have faith that this weapon will never ever be pointed at another human being.

    The fact is, hunting weapons along with their ammo are designed to kill. They are also designed to kill when placed properly with a single shot. If you are not familiar with a shotgun, they are not the best for home defense. There is a hilarious video on youtube based upon the Biden comments you discuss of young girls shooting a shotgun.

    Of course all guns are designed to kill. When hunting that’s what we want. This is why we adjust our ammo depending upon what we hunt. This tragedy in the Naval Shipyard is testimonial to that fact. And the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, are good guys with guns.

    • Wheels55

      How about businesses, like movie theaters, posting signs that say “Concealed Weapon Permit Holders Welcome”. How often will those places get shot up?
      Starbucks can kiss my butz – Dunkin coffee is better anyway.

  • Wheels55

    You know the gun control nuts cringed when Biden said that about buying a shotgun. Proof that even he doesn’t believe his anti-gun B.S.
    When a shooting takes place, it’s like Pavlov’s dog with liberals. They just start whining about guns. You rarely hear them talk about it when there are no major shootings going on.

  • RUexperienced

    I’m no fan of Sarah Palin, but Bernard Goldberg is 100 percent correct.

    The media would have been all over Biden’s statement, “Buy a shotgun!”

    There is a CLEAR double standard.

    • John Daly

      Thanks. Although I wrote this column, not Bernie. 😉

      • RUexperienced

        I stand corrected. Good job.


        • hrh40

          Thanks for responsible on this one.

      • blueniner

        Nice column, a voice of reason. The Giffords debacle was just another extension of the rabid Leftwing dogs trying to eradicate Sarah Palin. Like Rush Limbaugh has always said, the left will always tell you who they fear the most, and it is going on to this very day. Sarah Palin is feared by the left and the Bush/Rove
        GOP Establishment. Sarah calls out hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle.

        • John Daly


  • Guest

    What was actually on Sarah Palin’s site, was a map with district markers (surveyor symbols were used). These surveyor symbols were used on the map to indicate districts. Map symbols are placed on maps.The media turned surveyor symbols into crosshairs to fit their false narrative. The terrible shooting in Tucson became the perfect opportunity for the media to frame ,vilify and destroy Sarah Palin.

    • RUexperienced

      Sarah Palin herself, before the shooting, referred to the marks as “bullseye icons.”

  • artlouis

    I don’t see why we shouldn’t go all out to blame Biden for this. The other side would do it if they were in our place. And this is the kind of absurd, irrational argument that carries the day in modern politics. There is no longer room for sense and logic in public debate.
    The only good reason not to slam Biden is because, if it influences voters, Hillary will be more likely to get the nomination next time.

    • John Daly

      It would never work for Republicans/conservatives because we don’t have the media on our side. The media substantiates idiocy like this when someone on the right is the target. When it’s someone on the left, they mock it or disregard it.

      Righties could never outcrazy the lefties and actually have it work.

      • artlouis

        I see your point, but if Limbaugh were to make the shotgun argument — and that is the kind of thing he often does — it would get legs. The enemy has us beat when it comes to tactics. They are not ashamed to try ANYTHING.

        • John Daly

          It would gain traction in conservative circles for sure, but unless the mainstream media latched onto it, I don’t think mainstream America would.

  • qtdb7

    Citizen Sarah Palin could not clean up Alaska’s corruptions.
    Only Gov. Sarah Palin could clean up Alaska’s corruptions.

    Citizen Obama could not transform America.
    Only Pres. Obama could transform America.

    Only Pres. Sarah Palin could restore America.

    About attracting voters (men, women, Asians, Hispanics, etc.):
    If you tell the TRUTH, they will come.

    The TRUTH hurts. The TRUTH will set you free.
    The TRUTH will defeat Obama/Clinton/democrats/liberals and RINOs.

    A lot of presidential candidates (Romney, Ryan, …)
    and other Republican politicians MISUSED the word CONSERVATIVE.
    Their records CONTRADICT their CONSERVATIVE messages.

    2016 will belong to us (Gov. Palin and We the People).

    It’s our time now.

    • John Daly

      Uh, okay.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    That story was not about guns,
    it’s conservatives the media shuns,
    they hated her then,
    and they’ll hate her again,
    if ever (or never) she runs.

    • John Daly

      Brian, you are the man.

      • Brian Fr Langley

        are you sick of them yet

        • John Daly

          Not at all!

    • Jeff Webb

      Nice work, Brian.
      I was going to offer some limericks of my own, but I left my poetry-writing manual in Nantucket.