A few observations on the shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others and the reaction to it:
The New York Post has an editorial blaming the Internet and anonymity: "To be sure, contemporary political rhetoric is often ugly; Internet anonymity encourages bad behavior -- and that, in turn, debases discourse generally." This is the same New York Post that has been known, maybe once or twice (a page) to use anonymous sources itself.
Paul Krugman has a column quoting an Arizona sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, blaming, "the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business."
So the New York Post blames the Internet and the New York Times blames radio and television. So long as it wasn't the fault of the newspapers....
The Wall Street Journal has an editorial diagnosing the accused assassin, Jared Loughner, as suffering from "mental sickness" and as having "a mental illness." This is the line also taken by Jeffrey Goldberg, at the Atlantic, who writes, "It seems fairly obvious so far that the terrible massacre in Arizona is less about Tea Party politics and more about mental illness, and how the mentally ill gain possession of handguns."
I actually think this lets Mr. Loughner off the hook a bit much. There are plenty of mentally ill people, after all, who don't go out and commit mass murder. For Mr. Goldberg and the Wall Street Journal editorial page (both former colleagues I generally respect and like) to be mounting an insanity defense for this guy before he even files a plea or gets a full workup from a forensic psychiatrist seems to go a bit too fast and far, at least for my taste, in the direction of medicalizing murder.
Blogger Pamela Geller observes a post on the left-wing DailyKos Web site from someone who had been angry when Ms. Giffords voted against Nancy Pelosi for majority leader: "My CongressWOMAN [Gabrielle Giffords] voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!"