The Arizona shootings have spurred debate about today's political tone. David Brock argued that incendiary political rhetoric is dangerous; Ernest Istook argued that such concerns are misplaced. Your thoughts:
The [accused gunman] wasn't left or right. He was crazy. I can't believe there is even somewhat serious talk about banning harsh rhetoric. If we hold [Sarah] Palin responsible for what this paranoid schizophrenic did, why don't we finish by hanging everybody in Germany because of what Hitler did?
AARON COHN Harlingen, Texas
We have to face the fact that these "celebrities" are being well paid for being offensive, rude, and un-American with their irresponsible, crude, and disgusting (to me) remarks. Apparently listening to this meets some deep-seated need of the audience, whomever they are. It also meets the needs of the networks and advertisers.
PHYLLIS HOYER Frederick, Md.
Has political rhetoric become too extreme? Absolutely. Is Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin responsible for a madman's actions? Absolutely not. Mr. Brock would have us believe that if only all his previous warnings had not been ignored, the tragedy in Tucson would not have happened. Where has he been when for decades the conservative right has objected to pornography and violence in films, video games, and other public domains? The view that this has led to abuse of women and children and more violence in our communities has usually been ridiculed by the left, but now, when it suits their political purposes, they use the very same argument against conservative talk shows.
BEV WILEY Coulterville, Ill.
For me the question is: What did we do, if anything, as a community to prevent these events? Are we doing enough? Are we living up to the expectations of our kids' desires for a better country? I believe we have fallen very short. Why are guns so easy to get by mentally ill people? Why do we allow extended magazines? Why are we fixated with guns? And finally, why are we systematically demonizing good Americans that just happen to think differently than us? I hope we use free speech with great responsibility, with the intent to discuss our ideas to make a better country, not to destroy our adversaries.
JUAN MIRET Shrewsbury, Mass.
Based on his notes, YouTube messages, etc., [accused gunman Jared Loughner] definitely had it in for government officials, especially the congresswoman. He obviously wasn't a serious student of government, so where did he get his notions that he should do something about it? Hardly from musical pieces.
CARL JOHNSON Washington, Pa.