From reader truewest (links added):
I don’t know that everyone wants a clear causal link between Loughner and their political opponents. I don’t think such links are likely or even particularly relevant; whatever politics Jared Loughner might have embraced are probably overshadowed by his pathologies, which apparently were obvious to most people who crossed his path (albeit not to the guy who sold him the gun). But one is entitled to wonder if the use of guns as political symbols and metaphors by supposedly mainstream political figures might have guided an unstable person down this terrible path.
Talk of “second amendment remedies” and the use of military weapons in political fundraisers is something you might expect from some lunatic fringe. When you see that rhetoric employed by a party that has held national power for much of the last 40 years, and still holds power in many states, you don’t necessarily have to be crazy to conclude that violence and threats of violence are viewed as legitimate tools by a significant part of the population, or that it might well be acceptable, indeed, patriotic, to, as the Teabaggers like to say, “refresh the tree of liberty” with a little blood.
The protests that Loughner wasn’t on the mailing list or connected with the campaign ring ridiculously hollow, as do the expressions of sympathy for Gifford from those who regularly boast about how their arsenal will prevail when the talking turns to shooting.