The tense political atmosphere in the past two years has been supercharged by a rise in hate speech on the far right, by radio and TV personalities and by some Rethug politicians. The disruption and threats of violence at Congressional town hall meetings by teahadists has been documented, as has the exponential rise in militia-type groups and threats against President Obama. When you have candidates endorsed by the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party using violent imagery as "a Second Amendment solution" when it comes to removing members of Congress (Nevada's Sharron "Right" Angle), and "don't retreat, reload" (failed Alaska Gov. Sarah "Mama Fizzly" Palin) you have to ask how much of this has seeped into the consciousness of confused people like Jared Loughner and enabled their violence. Some commentary yesterday seems to point in that direction:
"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous." Pima County sheriff Clarence Dupnik.
"This morning in Arizona, this time of the ever-escalating, borderline-ecstatic invocation of violence in fact or in fantasy in our political discourse, closed. It is essential tonight not to demand revenge, but to demand justice; to insist not upon payback against those politicians and commentators who have so irresponsibly brought us to this time of domestic terrorism, but to work to change the minds of them and their supporters - or if those minds tonight are too closed, or if those minds tonight are too unmoved, or if those minds tonight are too triumphant, to make sure by peaceful means that those politicians and commentators and supporters have no further place in our system of government." Keith Olbermann on Countdown last night.