The assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords and shooting and deaths of bystanders is not merely a tragedy. The targeting of a political figure is intended to stifle opposition. Anyone thinking of running for office or working for a government official will have to now consider personal risk.
Another aspect that is troubling is the reaction of some members of the right wing. YouTube videos prepared by the shooter John Loughner have vague ramblings and enough paranoid-sounding “they are watching” references to suggest that he was disturbed. Some articles linking to the videos have comments at the end arguing, in effect, that because Loughenr was off beam, by implication no one is really accountable. For instance,
A looney. Sad when people cannot express their ideas and discuss anything rationally, however you will always have people like this in any society (left right and center) regardless of what precautions you take.
Yet news reports as of this AM indicate that Loughner did not act alone, which suggest that various exhortations against Gifffords had an impact.
There have also been calls to cool heated violent political rhetoric, as well as a postponement of upcoming Congressional vote to repeal the Obama health care plan (Giffords’ support of the bill was a proximate cause of opposition to her).
It is hard to know what to say about this event except to express outrage and extend sympathy to those who have suffered from this event. What do you see as the broader ramifications of this attack?