From The Times:
Jack Shafer, writing in Slate, agrees with Mr. Erickson that the political rhetoric is not to blame.
He writes: "For as long as I've been alive, crosshairs and bull's-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such "inflammatory" words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I've listened to, read-and even written!-vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I've even gotten angry, for goodness' sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge."
"From what I can tell, I'm not an outlier," Mr. Shafer adds. "Only the tiniest handful of people-most of whom are already behind bars, in psychiatric institutions, or on psycho-meds-can be driven to kill by political whispers or shouts. Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer."
Those arguments anger those on the left. In a Twitter message, Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, called Shafer's article "nonsensical crap."
Fine use of temperate language, Mr. Woodhouse.