Those searching for easy answers after a 22-year-old shot 20 people, killing six, during U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' meeting with constituents in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday won't find any.
Yes, guns are easily accessible in this country.
Yes, in the past two years we have seen political speech ratcheted up with gun-toting participants at some Tea Party events, and some Democrats in Congress faced angry voters at town hall meetings during debate on healthcare reform.
And, yes, the Internet allows ``Fire!'' to be shouted in the crowded universe of the Web with no legal consequences even when there is no fire, even when accusations are outright lies -- a legal test required for the printed page but not, so far, for cyberspace.
All of that is true, and we have long taken the position that gun laws should be tougher to allow for hunting and self-protection but not the assault-style weapons that make it easy for thugs to spray bullets into a crowd and kill with impunity. We have long called for tolerance for different points of view and political discourse that focuses on issues and doesn't devolve into personal attacks.
But it's also true that this country has a long history of political violence and heated speech and press, from the time of the Founding Fathers' accusatory pamphleteers. Republican Sarah Palin didn't invent the image of cross hairs to denote the congressional districts held by the opposing party. In 2004, Democratic congressional activists used a bull's-eye to mark the GOP districts they hoped to win.
In fact, there was one liberal blogger so upset at Ms. Gifford's vote against Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker in 2008 who wrote, ``Gaby, you're dead.''
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