Although it’s not known for sure what motivated the Arizona shooter today, the morbid syncretism between Colombine-style mass murder and fringe violence directed at politics and government is maturing in frightening fashion. Although Gabrielle Giffords was a foe of Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation, she was a target of death threats last March because of her position on health care, not immigration. And one of the vocal leaders of the attack against her was Sarah Palin. Using the inflammatory rhetoric that was almost casually used by the reactionary Tea Party mob that is funded by conservative PACs tied to Dick Armey as well as the infamous Koch Brothers, Palin posted this map on her Facebook page. Gabrielle Giffords was one of those targeted in crosshairs. It was only a matter of time before some misguided lunatic would finally act on it.
Again a big problem here is the 2nd amendment, which people in the US seem to think is part and parcel of democracy, when the rest of the civilized world is astonished that this is true. By many reports, the shooter used a 9mm Glock semi-automatic weapon that was purchased legally. Anyone can get one. What kind of society is this? One that seems to create the conditions for many young people to develop pathological behavioral disorders, and then make it easy for them to act them out in spectacularly lethal fashion.