Dangerous Cartography

Palin's target mapBack in March of 2010, Sarah Palin’s PAC released a map of “democratic targets” she would like to see out of office. The map, depicted at right, used gunsights to highlight where the representatives she wants gone are located.

Sadly, today someone shot one of the representatives on Palin’s map. CNN is reporting that Representative Gabrielle Giffords is in surgery; Fox News already listed her as deceased. (Perhaps it was wishful thinking on their part.)

While politics in the US has a long history of unpleasantness, from childish chanting over impropriety to fights and even severe beatings on the floor of the Capitol, I’m still shocked that one party would go so far to imply assassination as part of political fundraising.

I hope Rep. Giffords makes a speedy, complete recovery.

Update: Video of Giffords commenting on the map above and the vandalism and threats it brought. “Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”

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4 Responses to Dangerous Cartography

  1. Geo says:

    So, would you accuse MapServer of promoting violence? (From
    MapServer online documentation) MARKER [integer|string] Defines a
    symbol (from the symbol file) to use when the box becomes too small
    (see MINBOXSIZE and MAXBOXSIZE below). Uses a crosshair by

    • John Reiser says:

      Symbols alone do not a map make. If MapServer automatically appended a text block or watermark that said disparaging things about your map’s theme, then I’d have a problem.

      I understand that political rhetoric often overlaps with war rhetoric. I think what makes this map so damning is the history behind Palin’s aggressive talk against her enemies. It goes beyond the conventional political talk. When you go so far to extremes, you tend to question smaller comments and symbols more critically.

  2. rkgeorge says:

    Odd, I never thought of an AutoCad PDMODE 34 point symbol
    as a “gun sight” ? It should be apparent by now that the shooter
    was characterized by classmates as “left wing, quite liberal,” so
    probably never visited a Sarah Palin PAC website of any kind. Do
    you suppose we all have to switch to PDMODE 35 to avoid the fever

  3. Bert says:

    They’re called cross hairs or reticles, also used in telescopes, microscopes, cameras and other precision optical equipment.

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