Like so many others, I’m heartsick about the shootings on Saturday in Tucson. I know people who went to school with and were friends of Gabby Giffords when she was at nearby Scripps College, and I join millions of others in praying hard for the full recovery of the youngest woman ever elected to the US House. As for her politics, I was and am more of a fan of her colleague in Southern Arizona, the feisty environmentalist, Rep. Raul Grijalva. But Giffords is perhaps the closest thing to a progressive who could win in the deeply divided 8th district. May she have many years of service ahead of her.
Here are five pieces on the shooting I think are worth reading:
Katrina vanden Heuvel, writing in the Washington Post, on what matters: the violent imagery at Palin’s Web site should be of less concern than the real cross hairs of guns readily available across the land; the vitriol of politics of less concern than the shrinking opportunities in our economy; the passions of partisans less dangerous than the absence of help for the mentally unstable among us.
Larry McMurtry, a Tucson resident and so often a voice of reason and calm in the West, writing in the New York Review of Books
William Saletan, writing in Slate, on how the ubiquity of guns just makes things worse rather than having the potential to end tragedies like Tucson
James Fallows, writing in the Atlantic, on the cloudy politics of political shootings
Jill Filipovic, writing at Feministe, urging fellow liberals to pursue a more civil dialogue without falling prey to the siren song of restrictions on speech
And my own post from 2007, written in the aftermath of Virginia Tech, noting that the system that failed Cho Seung-Hui, Jared Laughner and their many victims does sometimes work.