In Congresswoman Gifford's haunting words, "there are consequences:"Saturday's tragedy in Arizona was unspeakable, as President Obama put it, but it was not unthinkable. American history is blighted with assassinations and attempted assassinations of prominent figures, often by disturbed young men with motives that make sense only within their twisted minds.
Combine that past with today's overheated political rhetoric and easy access to high-powered weaponry, and perhaps the only question was when, and where, the next unspeakable act would occur.
The heartbreaking answer was Jan. 8, 2011, outside a supermarket in Tucson. A 22-year-old gunman, identified as Jared Lee Loughner, opened fire with a Glock handgun, grievously wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others, including federal Judge John Roll and, poignantly, a 9-year-old girl learning about democracy. ...... With speech comes responsibility, a notion that seems lost on too many players in today's hyperpartisan hothouse. Regardless of Loughner's motivations, his killing spree is a grisly reminder that deeply disturbed people are easily driven to violence, whether by their own personal demons or by others who stoke their anger. When talk-show hosts warn about using bullets if ballots don't work, or candidates speak about resorting to "Second Amendment remedies," they invite risk for the sake of ratings or political gain. As Giffords hauntingly warned in March, after Sarah Palin's political action committee targeted her congressional district using the cross hairs of a gun sight, "there are consequences" to such imagery. ...
We need to realize that the rhetoric, and the firing people up and ... for example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we're in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize that there are consequences to that action ...USA Today is the nation's largest daily print newspaper, in terms of circulation.