I'm going to second Steve Benen's claim that this column by Harold Meyerson is an important addition to the debate over the shooting:Howie P.S.: In spite of his healing words, "Gun-control advocates disappointed with White House silence."
The primary problem with the political discourse of the right in today's America isn't that it incites violence per se. It's that it implants and reinforces paranoid fears about the government and conservatism's domestic adversaries.
Much of the culture and thinking of the American right -- the mainstream as well as the fringe -- has descended into paranoid suppositions about the government, the Democrats and the president. This is not to say that the left wing doesn't have a paranoid fringe, too. But by every available measure, it's the right where conspiracy theories have exploded.
A fabricated specter of impending governmental totalitarianism haunts the right's dreams.
Again, this is why mental illness professionals say that even if we have already concluded that Jared Loughner is a nut, we should still be asking whether the overheated political climate -- and violent, incendiary or paranoid rhetoric in particular -- might have played some kind of role in pushing him over the edge. MORE...