As I write this, the motivation behind the shooting of my friend Gabby Giffords and eleven others isn't clear. We don't know what prompted the shooter to show up at Gabby's Congress on Your Corner at a Tucson grocery store with a semiautomatic pistol and the motivation to kill innocent people. We don't know if it was unmitigated hatred and misdirected rage or paranoid delusion. We don't know if was politics -- aimed at Gabby's courageous stands on health care and immigration. I suspect in the end, we'll learn it was a combination of factors that led this young man to go on the rampage that shook the nation.
In a way, though, it doesn't really matter what prompted this act of senseless violence. What really matters is that we do everything we can to prevent it from happening again. And the first thing we can do is to crank down the rhetoric a few notches....
A good place to start a more civil dialog would be for my Republican colleagues in the House to change the name of the bill they have introduced to repeal health care reform. The bill, titled the "Repeal the Job Killing Health Care Law Act," was set to come up for a vote this week, but in the wake of Gabby's shooting, it has been postponed at least until next week.This is so far beyond ridiculous, I really don't want to argue over it. Just ponder how far Democrats are going to gain political advantage from the carnage in Arizona.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not suggesting that the name of that one piece of legislation somehow led to the horror of this weekend -- but is it really necessary to put the word "killing" in the title of a major piece of legislation? I don't think that word is in there by accident -- my Republican friends know as well as anyone the power of words to send a message. But in this environment and at this moment in our nation's history, it's not the message we should be sending.
Update: Apparently this is the Dem meme du jour, Idiocracy: Conservatives who say “job-killing” are spreading hate.
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