The words “Domestic violence” usually evoke images of physical injuries and the violent acts that cause those injuries. The abuser only engages in physical violence when the victim of verbal and emotional abuse speaks out and stands up for their dignity. The physical violence is a “backup” employed by the abuser, when the emotional and verbal violence fails. The abuser is attempting to intimidate and ultimately “reprogram” their victim to act, speak, think, and be as the abuser wishes.
The foregoing is true in many households in our nation and so, it should come as little surprise that it spills over into the public square. Tragically, this happened in Tucson this past weekend.
Some commentators are quick to state that what happened in Tucson is the “senseless act” of one disturbed individual. Closer to the truth are comments claiming that this constitutes a form of domestic terrorism. This is so, because the aim of terrorists is to disrupt people’s lives, to instill fear and force change through physical threat. The physical violence, as in the case of domestic violence, is a means to the end of behavioral (and ultimately thought) reprogramming. Consider the following statement by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik:
"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," said the sheriff. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
Ironically, Giffords stated the following before being shot:
Giffords expressed similar concern, even before the shooting. In an interview after her office was vandalized, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including Sarah Palin's decision to list Giffords' seat as one of the top "targets" in the midterm elections.
"For example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action," Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC.
Many who wish to impose their narrow religious and social beliefs on America will be careful in their comments, for a week or two. These “social conservatives” will attempt to distance themselves from the physical violence that erupted in Tucson. Others who are of like mind in their social and religious world-view will plainly state their thoughts openly. Read what the Westboro Baptist Church posted on its website:
God appointed this rod for your sins! God sent the shooter! This hateful nation unleashed violent veterans on the servants of God at WBC--hoping to silence our kind warning to obey God and flee the wrath to come.
Your federal judge is dead and your (fag-promoting, baby-killing, proud-sinner) Congresswoman fights for her life. God is avenging Himself on this rebellious house! WBC prays for your destruction--more shooters, more dead carcasses piling up, young, old, leader and commoner--all. Your doom is upon you!
The only way to stop verbal, emotional, or physical abuse is to speak out and stand up for human dignity and freedom. The greatest tribute we can make to Tucson’s hate victims is to continue their struggle for a more inclusive, just and decent nation.