Thursday, January 13, 2011

AZ shooting sparks debate about political rhetoric

The nation continues to recover from the shocking shootings in Tucson, Ariz. that left six people dead and 14 injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Doctors at the University of Arizona Medical Center’s trauma unit think a bullet passed right through the left side of Gifford’s brain but are confident she will survive, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Giffords is now breathing on her own and might open her eyes soon, doctors said.

Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old suspect sure to go down in the annals of infamous assassins such as John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, has been charged by federal authorities with counts of murder, attempted murder and attempting to assassinate a member of Congress.

The shooting has also sparked a controversial debate about the tone of political rhetoric in the country.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik singled out the rhetoric of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

“[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior, in my opinion, is without consequence and I think he’s irresponsible,” he said in an ABC News interview.

Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin responded to criticism from the left with a video posted on her Facebook page Wednesday.

“If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision,” she said. “If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

A poll conducted by CBS News on Jan. 9 and 10 indicated 57 percent of respondents felt a harsh political tone did not have anything to do with the Arizona shootings, while 32 percent felt it did.

President Barack Obama will speak at a memorial service in Tucson tonight. He will address civility in the nation’s political discourse, White House officials said.

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