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Editors Note: As a reminder that words, no matter how seemingly innocent or misconstrued, can have devastating effects on those who are susceptible, those who are unbalanced, and those who are short-fused. Words, in the realm of politics, can have even more dire consequences than a simple difference of opinion-escalated. As I originally posted this piece in 2015, it was observing the 20th anniversary of a senseless act of violence, committed by a person unhinged, who was acting out of some dire hatred fomented by a group – a person who felt it was in his power to change the course of history – but in reality, brought sorrow and reprisals. The hate, recited and preached by those who knew it would trigger a response to those guided by hysteria, rather than reason, succeeded in finding its intended target.
No matter how those words are passed off to mean nothing, not mean their intention or be construed as some sort of joke when questioned about their intention – the plain and deadly fact is – there are those who take those words seriously, and take those words as a signal to act on them.
Politics isn’t like picking a fight on a playground – consequences are deadly and spiral out of control quickly.
And here’s a reminder of the day they did.
Twenty-five years ago today, on November 4, 1995, the shocking news spread throughout the world that Israeli Prime Minister Ytzhak Rabin had been assassinated while attending a Peace Rally in Tel-Aviv. The gunman, not a Palestinian extremist as had been at first feared, was in fact an Israeli Jewish extremist violently opposed to Rabin’s efforts to work out a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians. A Jewish organization, who was opposed to the government and the peace process took credit for the assassination and identified the gunman Yigal Amir, as acting on their behalf.
Here is an extract from the first news reports and President Clinton’s statement, as heard over NPR on November 5, 1995.