Not surprisingly, if your a conservative, you dismiss any causal relationship, on my side of the spectrum far more connecting of the dots. I think one has to be incredibly careful, because at the core we are dealing with mental illness, a disease that negates the blame game. For that reason, it may very well be isolated, separate, not instructive to generalize, just see it as another troubled individual doing something insanely cruel and senseless. However, with the climate backdrop, the discussion does require some further examination.
People that are shocked that anyone would connect the "vitriolic" political discourse to this lunatic need to remember that this issue of violence against politicians was part of the conversation in her riding. Giffords herself, in what are now haunting words:
She told the interviewer she wasn't fearful for her life, but that protesters' rhetoric was becoming "incredibly heated". She was asked if the Republican leadership should have spoken out more to denounce the violence. Diplomatically, she said both parties should. But then, she recounted how she was on Sarah Palin's hit list. "We have the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district," she said. "And when people do that, they've got to realise there are consequences."
Giffords warned of consequence herself, so hardly an affront to consider the connection to yesterday's events. Maybe it was the gun some Tea Party protester inadvertently dropped at one of her political rallies, maybe it was the campaign office vandalized, maybe all the death threats, maybe the continual references to SHOOTING PEOPLE that leads to the most easy of connections. Frankly, given the rhetoric, you have to be an idiot or a complete hack to not at least entertain.
Forget what lefties are saying, look no further than the Sheriff Dupnik press conference yesterday, wherein he made all kinds of connections, this from a man who knows intimately how serious the situation had become in her riding, his state, the country as a whole. Did the overheated rhetoric of radio hosts, Tea Party activists, fringe political leaders contribute to yesterday's events? I don't think so, but again, when you have all these violent references, all this hate and bigotry, is anyone surprised that things manifest to real world "consequence"?
I don't have a freaking clue, and maybe we never will truly understand what happened yesterday. That said, when you have a crime, the first thing you do is look for possible motives. Is the hated fueled, over the top, gun glorification, wingnut inspired, somewhat unhinged movement, a possible inspiration? You can't rule it out as this point, so anyone daring to suggest, isn't exactly being unfair or ridiculous. The reality demands some consideration, it's a simple as that.