Just one example.
There is an ugly spirit loose on the land, one fed by over-heated political rhetoric, the hate media, paranoia, conspiracy mongering, racism and xenophobia. The massacre in Arizona is the latest example of this, but it wasn't the first. I'm sad to say that I'd be pleasantly surprised if it is the last.
I found these remarks from the Washington Post's coverage of the story to be particularly interesting:
In an emotional news conference late Saturday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik (D) denounced the nation's vitriolic political climate and noted Arizona's part in the rancor after a controversial crackdown on illegal immigration.
"The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital," Dupnik said. "We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
The fiery rhetoric that has taken hold in politics, Dupnik said, "may be free speech, but it's not without consequences."
No state, however, has a monopoly on anger, hatred and bigotry. There is plenty of it everywhere and it is fed daily by a well-funded media noise machine that feeds on anger and fear in uncertain and difficult times. To quote Sheriff Dupnik again,
...I think people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol... When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government.
It makes me wonder where it will show up again and how many more lives will be lost.