So by now, everyone's heard about the shooting in Arizona. Six people were killed, including a 9-year-old, and 14 were injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
There's a lot that's been said about the shooting, much more than I can say. A sampling here:
Slacktivist: "Deadly Violence in Arizona"
Paul Krugman on the "Climate of Hate"
Gail Collins on guns
Feministe on rhetoric
Ta-Nehisi Coates's musings on Loughner
Whether or not Loughner was influenced by the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric over the past few years, and whether or not he saw Sarah Palin's map with crosshairs, let me state the obvious: words are powerful things, and we ought to think before we speak. Or write. Because, hello, language shapes the world. And once we start thinking that it's acceptable to use incendiary, violent language in our political rhetoric, we make it a little bit easier for things like this to happen.
It's also rather frustrating that so many people have jumped to the conclusion that the shooter is mentally ill. Slate has an article about this. (Full disclosure here: I've worked with people who were severely mentally ill, including a few with paranoid schizophrenia. And while they were...interesting...to work with, I usually didn't fear that they'd be violent.) And really, would it make it better to think that our mental health system has failed someone so, so completely?
In better news, this gives me a little hope.