Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin released a video Wednesday of her first long-form statement on Saturday’s Tucson, Ariz. shooting that left six dead, many wounded, and Ariz. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition.
After expressing her sympathies for the victims, Palin defended herself and others who have been accused of influencing accused shooter Jared Lougher with their “vitriolic rhetoric” and promotion of violence.
“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” Palin said. “They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens.”
Since Saturday’s massacre, Palin has been criticized for creating a midterms 2010 elections map that depicted rifle crosshairs over vulnerable districts, one of which included Giffords’ district.
Palin acknowledged that she’s not the only political figure that has been faulted for the Tucson rampage. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attributed some of the blame for the shooting on Fox’s Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly “for ever turning to the death-fantasies and the dreams of bloodlust, for ever having provided just the oxygen to those deep in madness to whom violence is an acceptable solution.”
“Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible,” Palin said.
Palin addressed the argument that the shift in recent years towards intense political debate is another reason for Saturday’s shooting.
“When was it less heated? Back in those ‘calm days’ when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?” Palin said. “Our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government.”
After encouraging listeners to pray for all of the Tucson victims, Palin said it’s important not to let such a tragedy weaken the American foundation or force everyone to turn on each other.
“America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week,” Palin said. “We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy.”
Read the full transcript of Palin’s statement here.
[WATCH: Palin’s statement]