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Violent rhetoric is bullying

What prompted this article is a new perspective on the violent birther rhetoric gained from reading from Joe McGinniss’ book, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.

McGinniss went to Alaska in 2010 to conduct interviews for the book and by a totally unforeseen turn of events, ended up renting a house next door to the Palin’s in Wasilla, Alaska. Although there was no basis for the claim, the Palins considered McGinniss, a stalker and Sarah Palin posted a photo of him on his back porch (looking the other way) on her Facebook page and said he was looking into her children’s bedrooms (something not possible from the McGinniss house). National conservative pundits like Glenn Beck pushed the story, and a storm of violent rhetoric appeared in comments on Andrew Breitbart’s web site and others, comments such as:

“This is one psychotic liberal . I hope someone mistakes him for a moose and puts an end to his publicity stunt. It would be nice if he ends up at the bottom of Lake Lucille.”

“If trapped in a house and not able to get out for food, does anyone know how long a freaky marxist fanatic can survive on a diet of KY Jelly?”

“I hope someone knocks his teeth down his throat.”

“What a spineless creepy bordering on sex-predator freak. I hope he tries to break into the Palin’s yard and gets a gut full of shotgun shell.”

Those are just about me. They get worse:

“hey, Joe, sleep with one eye open, you POS. can’t wait for your grandkids to show up and play in the woods and water.” And, after publishing my home address: “Joe’s lonely wife needs mail, phone calls and other assurances of concern and good will in Joe’s absence.”

Mcginniss, Joe (2011-09-20). The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin (Kindle Locations 1161-1172). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Some of the locals suggested McGinniss should leave town for his own safety and the local police regularly patrolled the area to prevent an incident. He had to change his home phone number because of the death threats.

McGinniss labels this behavior (by the Palins, the conservative media and the blog commenters) as “bullying” and I completely agree.

Bullying must be vigorously opposed from the start.