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George Tiller, Rush Limbaugh and the Consequences of Hateful Words

But to suggest that O'Reilly should not hold himself accountable for his incendiary words is to ask too much.

Words have consequences.

That's also why I wince when I read anti-Obama slurs on pro-gun Web sites. President Obama is trying to "get your guns," reads one. "Get your guns while you still can," shouts a pro-gun advertisement. A news release from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms charges that Obama wants to stack the federal courts with "liberal anti-gunners."

There has been a steady stream of these ominous warnings since November's presidential election.

Apparently the red flags grabbed the attention of Richard Andrew "Pop" Poplawski, the Pennsylvania man accused of shooting to death three police officers and wounding a fourth in the spring.

Poplawski, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, slept with a gun under his pillow in a basement filled with firearms and ammunition, convinced that Jews controlled the media and that President Obama was scheming to take away his arsenal.

His childhood friend, Edward Perkovic, said Poplawski feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way."

Words have consequences.

That thought seems completely lost on the Fox News network, which launches a daily rhetorical assault on Obama, starting with the "Fox and Friends" morning show. The anti-Obama beat goes on through the day, and reaches a fevered pitch at night with Sean Hannity.

Witness excerpts from Wednesday night's exchange between Hannity and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh:

Limbaugh: "I do not hide from it. I do want and I still want Obama to fail."

Hannity: "But it's interesting here. . . . A lot of things you are saying -- [Obama] is apologizing for America's arrogance. He has taken over car companies. They want to dictate CEO pay. All of these things have been unfolding. Socialism is the Obama vision for America."

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