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(Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) via Huff Po)-As I write this, the motivation behind the shooting of my friend Gabby Giffords and eleven others isn’t clear. We don’t know what prompted the shooter to show up at Gabby’s Congress on Your Corner at a Tucson grocery store with a semiautomatic pistol and the motivation to kill innocent people.
We don’t know if it was unmitigated hatred and misdirected rage or paranoid delusion. We don’t know if was politics — aimed at Gabby’s courageous stands on health care and immigration. I suspect in the end, we’ll learn it was a combination of factors that led this young man to go on the rampage that shook the nation.
In a way, though, it doesn’t really matter what prompted this act of senseless violence. What really matters is that we do everything we can to prevent it from happening again. And the first thing we can do is to crank down the rhetoric a few notches.
No one should think that one side or the other of the political spectrum is without blame. Whether it’s a conservative politician publishing a map with a bullseye on Gabby’s district or a liberal blogger saying Gabby is “dead to me,” too many have forgotten what it means to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.
A good place to start a more civil dialog would be for my Republican colleagues in the House to change the name of the bill they have introduced to repeal health care reform. The bill, titled the “Repeal the Job Killing Health Care Law Act,” was set to come up for a vote this week, but in the wake of Gabby’s shooting, it has been postponed at least until next week.