Dear Commons Community,
The media will be covering extensively today and for the next few weeks the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat from Arizona. In addition to reporting on the carnage of the event and the innocents killed or injured in this heinous attack, a good deal of analysis will center on the motives of the young man, Jared Loughner. Various accounts have described him as a troubled young man who had problems in school and who was drifting. However, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who is investigating this attacked has been quoted as saying:
“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,” he said. “And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
Whenever there is extreme violence directed at our political leaders, as provocative as conspiracy theories are, cooler minds generally recognize that there are troubled individuals in our society who feel compelled to inflict physical harm. However, as a society we cannot excuse the way in which we collectively conduct ourselves and create the hate-filled environments to which Sheriff Dupnik refers.