This is a gaming analogy. You need to have played Pathfinder RPG or D&D 3rd edition to get it. :)
Rupert and Dennis are having a duel.
Rupert does something that provokes an attack of opportunity (AOO), so Dennis gets to* make a free attack on Rupert.
Rupert provoking an AOO does not mean Rupert gets a free attack on Dennis (in fact, it’s the opposite… Rupert screwed up, that doesn’t give him a free attack on his opponent).
Rupert provoking an AOO does not mean that Rupert can negate the AOO by pointing out that Dennis provoked an AOO on Dave’s turn; the AOO was provoked fairly, and Dennis is allowed to make the attack without interference.
Rupert provoking an AOO means that Rupert has left an opening for Dennis to attack. End of turn.
*Actually, EVERYONE gets to make a free attack on Rupert, not just Dennis. Laura, Steve, Claire, and anyone else who’s adjacent to Rupert gets to make one.
Republican and Democrat are having an election.
Republican says something stupid that provokes criticism, so Democrat gets to* make a free criticism on Republican.
Republican provoking criticism does not mean Republican gets a free criticism on Democrat (in fact, it’s the opposite).
Republican provoking criticism does not mean that Republican gets to point out that Democrat provoked criticism the last time Democrat said something; the cricism was provoked fairly, and Democrat is allowed to make a free criticism without interference.
Republican provoking criticism means that Republican has left an opening for Democrat to attack. End of story.
*Actually, EVERYONE gets to make a free criticism on Republican, not just Democrat. Libertarian, Socialist, Communist, and anyone else who’s adjacent to Republican gets to make one.