Today’s Vocabulary Word is “Vitriol”

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So what do you suggest,

Submitted by michael james on 11 January 2011 - 4:15pm.

So what do you suggest, baning free speech, because that's exactly where you are going with this. It is time we quit blaming society for our problems and each and every person take blame for thier actions.

We are strong supporters of

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 11 January 2011 - 6:44pm.

We are strong supporters of all the first amendment rights, including free speech. But living in a society also means exercising one's rights responsibly. We join many others in calling for politicians, pundits and other public figures to tone it down. It's unproductive for resolving conflict, and it creates a poisonous atmosphere. Leaders in media and politics have enormous influence over others. We simply would like them to think before they speak, and to repudiate hate-filled words.

AMEN!! I could not have said

Submitted by Cynthia Howard on 13 January 2011 - 12:06pm.

AMEN!! I could not have said it better.

I believe it is premature to

Submitted by Jeff on 11 January 2011 - 8:54pm.

I believe it is premature to blame this on anything other than a sick young man who fell through the cracks. The idea of blaming free speech is ridiculous at this time

I heard nothing in the

Submitted by Lynne on 12 January 2011 - 10:17pm.

I heard nothing in the comments in Teaching Tolerance restricting free speech, nor did the author(s) mention left or right or any particular individual. I DO think that all of us--certainly teachers--are appropriate role models to promote civil discourse. I have taken this sad event to think about how I voice my opinions, including this one. Let us all think carefully about how we agree or disagree with one another.

There is not one shred of

Submitted by Dr. Wilson Frampton on 11 January 2011 - 9:57pm.

There is not one shred of evidence that links the deranged nut in Tuscon with the implication that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, etc inspired his heinous act. The majority of Americans sent a message at mid-term elections and now this nonsense from the left continues to prove they simply don't get it. The wonderful sheriff who would make Barney Fife a Wyatt Earp continues to state a biased opinion without any support. The individual was involved with the police at least five times and where was the protection for Rep. Giffords when Loughter is running around loose in Tuscon, sheriff? Instead of focusing on the tragedy the left is feebly attempting to turn a sad day into political gain. There was a federal judge murdered who just happened to be a Republican the talk targeted him also, I think not. Was it okay to produce a movie about assassinating President George Bush or calling him Hitler & a killer? I am totally offended & morally outraged at the outlandish accusations by left wing crazies. This mentality has an excuse for every flaw in society.

I agree with most of what has

Submitted by D. Frazee on 12 January 2011 - 4:15pm.

I agree with most of what has been said here. We have no idea what was behind the motives of this young man. He obviously is deranged and mentally ill. There is no evidence that he ever even listened to Rush, Glenn Beck or saw the map Sarah Palin had. Why is it that everyone involved in the Fort Hood Massacre, said "we must be careful not to make judgments," when he was a Muslim who called out to Allah as he shot people, yet many in the media automatically assumed that the young man involved in the Arizona shooting must be a "right-winged" nut and that we have to stop people on the conservative side from speaking out because it might "offend" someone? I have felt angry as I have listened to the so-called "reporting" on this incident by most in the media. We can't take away someone's free speech because some nut job shoots someone. There is evidence that he hated the congresswoman because she wouldn't answer his question at a rally back in 2007 long before Sarah Palin was even "on the map" sort of speak. His question was something like "How is the government controlling us by grammar?" How could anyone answer that question? I am so tired of everyone jumping to judgment and pointing fingers when they assume it is some "right-wing" person, yet when others are involved, like the Fort Hood murderer, we can't talk about it because he is Muslim. Think about how we talk to one another, both on the right and the left. It is not always the fault of conservatives. How soon people have forgotten the horrible name calling that went on when Bush was president? I don't think we can blame this on anyone using their right to free speech. He was a mentally ill man who made a horrible decision. We cannot always stop people like him. This is not a problem of people on the radio and tv. We have to start making people be responsible for their own actions and stop blaming others for the decisions they make alone.

Ditto!

Submitted by Rich McConnell on 13 January 2011 - 11:30am.

Ditto!

I believe that the columnist

Submitted by Keith Moore on 12 January 2011 - 1:07am.

I believe that the columnist Ross Douthet was exactly right in his comments on this matter: rhetoric did not cause this. Rhetoric did not contribute to this. Rhetoric cannot be blamed for this. Thus, it makes sense to ask why the first instinct people had is to blame words for the actions of someone who, despite what appears to be slight mental illness, planned and carried out a vicious attack on totally innocent people. Why, we might profitably ask, was there a rush to blame one side of the political spectrum before any information was known about who the shooter was or why he did what he did? To obsess over what words by what side contributed to this is to do the unforgivable: diminish, even to a small degree, the responsibility of a remorseless murderer for the murder of a government official, a judge, a little girl, and the elderly. I mean, murdering government officials is the sort of thing we associate with corruption-ridden autocratic states! The wanton murder of women, children, and the elderly, often regarded as the most vulnerable among us, is EVIL. How dare commentators of either stripe try to diminish the responsibility that falls upon this man's head!
This is not an issue of rhetoric, of civility or what people say (although some people need to learn how to moderate their tongue). This is an issue of a very bad man murdering innocent people for his own deranged purposes... and some commentators trying to relieve him of some of that guilt by laying it on others.

As a person who is neither to

Submitted by S. McLemore on 12 January 2011 - 2:02pm.

As a person who is neither to the extreme "right" or "left," I am stunned by the vitriolic comments I've just read. Sadly, they are all examples of the very concern Ms. Costello addresses: our country seems woefully ignorant of the fact that rhetoric DOES matter, and we need to realize that hateful, hate-filled words DO cause harm, especially when they come from a person who is perceived by the listener as a leader or a role model. Yes, the young man was most certainly deranged, but this made him all the more vulnerable to the influences of hate-mongering. Is rhetoric the only factor that pushed him over the edge? Of course not. But it is time that we realize that there are responsibilities that come with not only freedom of speech, but also with leadership. We need to realize, too, that we are allowing our society to become polarized by rhetoric that seeks to delude and destroy, rather that to enlighten and endorse. Have we lost the ability to conduct a civil - and civilised - discourse, and to exercise the arts of compromise and common sense in problem-solving and decision making? Rhetoric can soothe . . . or assail. It can create calm . . . or chaos. The choice is ours.

Well stated, thank you.

Submitted by MLC on 18 January 2011 - 1:48pm.

Well stated, thank you.

I find it funny that

Submitted by Derek on 12 January 2011 - 3:57pm.

I find it funny that immediately after the Fort Hood shootings everyone one was saying how we shouldn't rush to judgement on who the gunman was and what his beliefs were. Funny how the same people that were asking for patience then, do not have any patience on finding out what this kids motives were.

A person, whether leader or

Submitted by E. Klein on 13 January 2011 - 12:02am.

A person, whether leader or follower, does not have to attack the beliefs of someone with whom they disagree. Every kindergarten teacher in America works daily to help their students develop communication skills which promote patience, respect, understanding, and good citizenship. Many of our representitives in Congress would most assuredly recieve a "U" (Unsatisfactory) on their report card for communication skills.

Stoking the fires of fear and promoting positions by angering supporters against those with whom we disagree has become common practice. It is not acceptable in any other venue. It is simply dismissed as "politics". I wonder if members of Congress use the same dismissive, attacking approach to communication with their loved ones; mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children. It seems we have lost perspective on what makes America unique.

America is not a "melting pot" and never has been. We have always been a country of immigrants. People, languages, and cultures from around the world have developed a nation and society that is the wonder of all nations. Chasing the American dream, the pursuit of happiness, and securing freedom and liberty are part of the foundation of our wonderful country. Bashing the dreams of others, pursuing the greatest benefits only for ourselves, endangering the freedom of all by proctoring an atmosphere of fear and hate has no place in our government.

This incident is a tragedy

Submitted by Cynthia J. on 14 January 2011 - 6:44am.

This incident is a tragedy regardless of the motivation. However, for those defending the map with the cross hairs calling it "free speech", is that the way you would encourage someone (your child, for example) to express their dissatisfaction in the political realm? Or in any realm? What kind of message does that send? What would the reaction be if a map like that was found in a school newspaper with students or teachers in those cross hairs? Somehow I think that might change things.
We all teach by example, intentionally or not "We" all need to be more cognizant of the expamles we are putting out there. Everyone. Especially those in the public eye. What a great opportunity to make a positive impact on our society! Be a better example.
Be the change you want to see in the world - M. Ghandi

My advice to

Submitted by S C on 15 January 2011 - 4:13pm.

My advice to Republikan/Teaparty congressmen: stop attaching false labels, stop lying and stop namecalling, debate about the issues with rational, legal arguments and stop disagreeing just to insult Obama and the Democrats. To Democratic Congressmen: Stop caving in to those who call you names and lie about the health reform bill and all the good accomplishments since the '08 election.