Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik suggested "all this vitriol" in recent political discourse might be connected to Saturday's shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. "This may be free speech," he told reporters, "but it's not without consequences."
"The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," said the Sheriff Dupnik. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."
The assassination attempt and shooting rampage resulted in six deaths and an additional 12 people wounded including Congresswoman Giffords.
I had the chance to talk with Congresswoman Giffords on a couple of occasions when she was an Arizona State Senator and we were both members of the Democratic Leadership Council.
According to the Associated Press, Giffords was among lawmakers who reported 42 threats or acts or vandalism in the first three months of 2010, a big increase over the previous year, law enforcement officers said. Nearly all the threats dealt with the massive health care bill that Giffords and other Democrats enacted over fierce Republican opposition.
In March, someone kicked in or shot out a glass door and side window at Giffords' office in Tucson, a few hours after the House passed the health care measure with her help.
Giffords also was among about 20 Democrats opposed in last fall's elections by Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Palin's Facebook page in March posted a U.S. map with the cross-hairs of a gun scope imposed over each of the 20 Democrats' districts. Gun imagery appeared in various ways in the campaign, often not connected at all with gun rights, according to the Associated Press.
"We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list," Giffords said at the time. "The way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize there are consequences to that action."
To read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_politics_threats_analysis;_ylt=AoJCM4xQAls5uHUJ0XyTJChH2ocA;_ylu=X3oDMTNhZTNldjVvBGFzc2V0Ay9zL2FwL3VzX3BvbGl0aWNzX3RocmVhdHNfYW5hbHlzaXMEY2NvZGUDbXBfZWNfOF8xMARjcG9zAzQEcG9zAzQEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawN0dWNzb25yYW1wYWc-