I think perhaps it is quite natural when such a tragedy strikes that people seek for reasonable explanations; they look for facts which help to understand why it happened. And its also quite natural, when in possession of those facts, to seek preventative remedies, to mend or modify our society so that something similar can't happen again in the same way. That said, I think it's rather unfortunate and divisive to conclude political speech, political parties, political associations, or political figures actually contributed to and are associated with or in some way caused what happened.
And very unfortunate to civil society, immediately after this tragedy occurred, the accusations and associations started flying. Without any factual information surrounding the event, national news organizations and blogs, as they have done previously, immediately associated the killer with the Tea Party movement, Republicans, campaign rhetoric, talk radio hosts, health care reform, and more specifically, Sarah Palin. To do so in a completely speculative way, without any supporting information whatsoever is, from my perspective, a sinful, unfounded accusation which actually contributes to and is the angry, vehement, spiteful, vitriol decried. Its a grave accusation of accomplice to murder and it was levied while people were still being transported to the hospital from the scene with no specific information on the background of the killer.
But its even worse now. As the facts began to come in we learned from reports the killer is, first and foremost, severely mentally disturbed, to the extent that he was suspended from a college and banned from campus where students feared for their lives due to his presence in their class (seeing him as the sort who would show up one day with an automatic weapon) and was served the suspension by campus police in person at his home, not by mail, after repeated unusual and disconcerting behavior. We also learned he was, in high school, and probably afterward, a habitual drug user whose friends then said they smoked pot daily, and at one point, the killer drank so much alcohol during recess when he got back to class he passed out at his desk and was rushed to the hospital for alcohol poisoning and nearly died. We learned that his friends described him as a radical liberal, but also as a deeply disturbed individual. We learned he rejected religion as a form of mind control and was obsessed with the concept as well as brainwashing, language and grammar, and utterly nonsensical syllogisms in which he apparently gleaned some perverse wisdom. Then we learned today he had erected an apparently Satanic or pagan shrine in his backyard, so his rejection of religion seems to mean he rejected God, but not all religion. We also learned that he had received a letter, in 2007, from the Congresswoman's office, thanking him for attending an event just like the one at which he killed and wounded so many people and had prior contact with her at other political events and was obsessed with the literacy rate in his Congressional district. We also learned he has multiple arrests but on each occasion he participated in a program which allowed the charges to be dropped and he served no time in jail. And we now learn from investigators that they have found no link to any organization, but that the killer acted alone in his insanity.
To continue to draw a connection between this killer and how sane people engage in American politics and public policy is even worse now than when we had no information at all about him. The emerging profile is not one of a man, whether delusional or not, who was driven by the political rallying cry or the political mobilization or the political speech of any political group or organization, but rather that of a madman who publicly and frequently exhibited the behavior and characteristics of a severely deranged and irrational individual, who could not be characterized as in any way being aligned with reality, let alone a given particular political philosophy.
Now I realize a bit under half of the country is not at all enamored by conservative political beliefs and may be prone to draw certain conclusions (at first without facts, and later, despite contradictory evidence) and will see an underlying cause or the opportunity to discuss the polemic, political polarization of the nation, and wish it were not so - that we all could just be more civil and get along better, and from their perspective of course, it is the challenger to their political beliefs that needs to modify their behavior, as the Tuscon, AZ sheriff stated, 'there's one side just trying to do good by America and get things done, and there's this other side that just wants to stop them...'
Now on the other side the complimentary argument that is not being made but easily could be is that: if it were not for one side in the debate abusing their authority, and violating the Constitution, and ramming through measures which clearly are in direct opposition to the desires of the majority of the American people, by bankrupting the nation with added entitlements, by promoting and protecting legal abortion, gay marriage, etc., and not permitting the minority party to provide amendments for up or down votes, or advance alternative legislation, or work in a truly bipartisan fashion, the nation would be more at ease and congenial in its politics...
I wholly reject the foregone conclusion of some that the political activity of sane adults addressing valid concerns in earnest - legally, passionately, and legitimately through the process should in any way be rightly associated with this tragedy.
Pax et bonum
"This is the horrendous and hidden poison of your error: that you claim to make the grace of Christ consist in his example and not in the gift of his Person." - St. Augustine correcting Pelagianism