A case could be made that Palin's target poster is more aggressive, more active than the Democrats. The crosshairs show the act of shooting from the point of view of the shooter; the bull's-eye shows it from the view of the shot. I say that both are irrelevant.
Look, Republicans like guns. That is not news. Sometimes they even shoot their friends in the face with one, as Dick Cheney did while out duck-hunting a few years ago (something for which, it was claimed last year, he has still not apologised). It's all harmless, they might say, and understandable that some will use military metaphors or symbols in their campaigning.
But generally almost all Republicans, especially, one trusts, those running for public office, do not advocate using firearms as the way to make a debating point. And their supporters do understand that if a crosshair is painted over a state it is not a call to arms.
Jared Loughner, who is registered as an independent voter in Arizona rather than a Republican and who did not vote in the November mid-terms, appears to have been a mentally unhinged, loner with a history of drug use and a hatred of society. Textbook dickhead, in other words.
But the fact that he shot a Democratic congresswoman does not make the Republicans accessories to his actions, no matter how supportive they are of the second amendment or how polemical their campaigning imagery. To recoin a phrase, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh do not kill people; dickheads kill people.
Similarly, it really is quite lame of the Republicans to try to defend themselves by digging up examples of the Democrats using military metaphors. Who cares? You almost feel that some Republicans want one of their own to be gunned down by a man in a Che Guevara T-shirt so they can prove that fruitloops come from the Left as well.
In their responses to the tragedy yesterday, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin showed why one of them is suited to national politics and why one is second-grade. The Palin 2012 campaign had its chance to make her look presidential and instead she appeared petty, while Obama, even if some found his tears insincere and his words too scripted, caught the right mood.
It is a time for sympathy, regret and being part of a community, not for playing the victim or shouting "we'll they're just as bad as us".