A gunman shot a semi-automatic weapon, during a public gathering for Representative Gabrielle Giffords, into the crowd. He shot her in the head and killed Arizona's chief federal judge and five other people. The shooting was aimed at Representative Giffords and left her in critical condition. Twelve other people were wounded including a 9 year-old girl and a U.S. District Judge. The 9 year-old was later pronounced dead in the hospital. People were angry because Giffords supported President Obama's health care plan. They expressed their anger by vandalizing her office in March and, at an earlier event, someone showed up at her rally with a gun. The suspected shooter was identified as Jared Loughner and his motive was not known. He as been described as mentally unstable and may have been acting with an accomplice. His former classmates described him as a pot smoking loner. At one point, he had tried to enlist in the army but was rejected for reasons not disclosed.
What contributed to this tragic event? Was it all of the hostile political rhetoric that has become associated with the Tea Party and some Republicans? For example, Republican challenger Jesse Kelly urged his supporters to help remove Gifford from office by joining him to shoot an M-16 rifle. Also, Gifford was among 20 Democrats that were posted on Sarah Palin's facebook page with the cross-hairs of a gun scope over each of their districts. Did these events help some devoted supporters go over the edge and act out these threats?