Tucson

Something that kills people.

I’m on record as thinking that it’s inappropriate to blame Sarah Palin or any other source of fiery political rhetoric for the horrific shooting that took place in Tucson on Saturday. I said it in real time as facts were coming to light; I said it on Twitter.

There are any number of reasons why psychos like Jared Lee Loughner try to kill people. I don’t think political rhetoric is a useful reason to focus on. The long view of history shows that crazy people will twist any number of words into an excuse for violence.

You can’t talk to crazy. You can’t reason with crazy. You can’t know what crazy will do to your words. I mean, people have used the words of Jesus Christ (a hippie pacifist who hung out with prostitutes and lepers) as a call to violence, bigotry, and hate. If Jesus can’t craft an ironclad message that defies misinterpretation, how can we say that Sarah Palin somehow created a culture of violence? Sorry, but I refuse to live in a world where the rhetorical skills of Sarah Palin explain anything.

Instead, I’d like to blame a much more obvious culprit…

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Judge John Roll

We’re not going to weigh in on all the rampant speculation about what gave rise to the shooting today in Arizona involving Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona). But we did want to inform you that news outlets are now reporting that federal judge John Roll was one of the victims in the shooting in Tucson.

UPDATE: President Obama is also confirming that Chief Judge John M. Roll (D. Ariz.) was fatally shot in Tucson. Here’s a statement from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:

“I am deeply saddened by reports that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll and others were attacked this afternoon in Tucson, Arizona. There is no place in our society or discourse for such senseless and unconscionable acts of violence. Gabby is a steadfast representative for southern Arizona and both she and John are dedicated public servants.

“The Department of Homeland Security has offered all possible assistance to the FBI and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, who are leading the investigation. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her family and staff, and all those who were injured in this difficult time.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

Some more details on Judge Roll, plus several UPDATES, after the jump…

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