Did Politics Play a Role in the Arizona Shooting?

Did political rhetoric play a role in the Tucson attack?


I can't think of many events that have provoked as much instant and intense debate as the question of whether the Tucson gunman was influenced by political and media rhetoric. [Read the U.S. News debate: Has political rhetoric become dangerously extreme?]His killing spree had hardly ended before some commentators were accusing Sarah Palin and others of influencing his actions. More nuanced criticism followed, singling out the Tea Party, talk radio, Arizona's political climate, and gun laws­—most coming from left-leaning sources. The reaction from the right was equally swift and ferocious, focusing on the shooter's mental state and past incidents of radical-left-inspired violence. The debate may be overwrought, but I don't think it's trivial. Where do you stand? Did politics play a role in the Tucson shootings? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • See a gallery of photos relating to the shooting.
  • Take the poll: Is political rhetoric responsible for the Arizona Shooting?
  • See the month's best political cartoons.