In a shocking attack in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others were shot at a public event on Saturday.
A gunman shot Giffords, federal District Judge John Roll, and others outside a Safeway supermarket where the congresswoman was meeting with constituents, according to news reports. Roll is among six dead.
As the nation reacts to this shooting, it will be parsed and explained. The alleged shooter, identified by AP sources as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was frustrated with the U.S. government, and the shooting has inevitably resonated with the dark and violent tones that have arisen in domestic politics at times over the past year and a half. Discussion is emerging over how directly this shooting is connected to politics, if at all.
See Andrew Sullivan for continuous commentary on the shooting, and the rest of The Atlantic's coverage below in reverse-chronological order (timestamps in Eastern):
The Vitriol Will Likely Return. Don't expect the Arizona shooting to change the momentum of national politics, Charlie Cook warns. 9:28 a.m. Tues. 1/11
Stop the Blame Game. The media has fallen down on the job, writes National Journal's Josh Kraushaar. 9:11 a.m. Tues. 1/11
Do We Really Need to Know Why He Did It? There will always be people like Jared Lee Loughner. The only rhetoric he seems to have been listening to came from his own head, Megan McArdle writes. 2:57 p.m. Mon. 1/10
The Tea Party Path to the Presidency Just Got Tougher. Joshua Green writes: "Whether or not it's fair to blame Jared Lee Loughner's shooting rampage against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on overheated political rhetoric and violent imagery, the episode will probably mark a turning point in how the media cover politics." 9:59 a.m. Mon. 1/10
Rancor Inevitably Returns. Politicians came together after the shooting in Arizona, offering conciliatory words and toning down the political rhetoric. Can the somber, friendly mood survive in today's political and media culture? 6:47 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Members Call for Toned Down Rhetoric. Some members of Congress are blaming the shooting on the right's heated rhetoric. Read what they had to say about the tragedy on Sunday's political talk shows. 4:26 p.m. Sun. 1/9
The Rise of Violent Rhetoric. Heated rhetoric doesn't make people kill each other, but the right seems to relish martial rhetoric more than the left. 4:31 p.m. Sun. 1/9
A Vote to Honor Giffords. Instead of voting on health care repeal as planned, the House will vote this week to honor its fallen colleague and the other victims, Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced Sunday. 3:53 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Palinspeak and Violence. Andrew Sullivan recalls Sarah Palin's penchant for gun metaphors, with an example from her Facebook page. 3:44 p.m. Sun. 1/9
House Briefed on Giffords. 800 representatives, staff, and family members joined a conference call to hear from congressional leaders, security officials, and a House physician on Giffords, security precautions, and the House schedule for the coming week. 3:33 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Tea Party Group Blames 'Leftist.' "The
left is coming and will hit us hard on this. We need to push back
harder with the simple truth. The shooter was a liberal lunatic," says
the founder of Tea Party Nation. 1:49 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Don't Let Judge Roll Die in Vain. The federal judge had faced threats over an immigration case, and Saturday's tragedy shows that judges need more security. 1:28 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Is Arizona About Politics or Mental Illness? Jared
Loughner's politics are difficult to parse, and it's far easier to
categorize him in psychiatric terms, writes Jeffrey Goldberg. So far,
the shooting says more about mental illness and how the mentally ill
obtain guns. 12:25 p.m. Sun. 1/9
Members of Congress Advised to Contact Police. In e-mails from the Capitol Police and the House Sergeant at Arms, congressional offices were advised to take precautions, contact local police, and alert the Sergeant at Arms if they plan to hold public events. 9:06 p.m. Sat. 1/8
Was Shooting of Rep. Giffords Political? The
Atlantic Wire's Max Fisher rounds up commentary, as the media begins to
interpret the tragedy in Tucson. Some see it as a result of political
vitriol, while others warn that the left is seeking to politicize the
shooting. 8:13 p.m. Sat. 1/8
The Cloudy Logic of 'Political' Shootings.
James Fallows recounts the ambiguous motives of assassins in the modern
era. "Assassinations" are political by definition--the victims are
targeted because politics made them public figures--but motives don't
always mesh with the political issues with which those figures are
associated. 7:36 p.m. Sat. 1/8
With Giffords Shooting, a Grim Milestone.
From Alexander Hamilton to John F. Kennedy, America's political leaders
have suffered assassinations and attempts that raise questions about
politics and society. National Journal's Matthew Cooper places the
Giffords shooting in historical context. 5:59 p.m. Sat. 1/8
The Suspect: Jared Lee Loughner.
The suspected gunman, now in custody, is 22 years old. A favorite book
is "Mein Kampf"; he posted YouTube videos articulating some deranged
views three weeks ago; he maintained a MySpace page, with photos. 5:08 p.m. Sat. 1/8
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
What is the Islamic State?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
Defining common cultural literacy for an increasingly diverse nation.
Is the culture war over?
That seems an absurd question. This is an age when Confederate monuments still stand; when white-privilege denialism is surging on social media; when legislators and educators in Arizona and Texas propose banning ethnic studies in public schools and assign textbooks euphemizing the slave trade; when fear of Hispanic and Asian immigrants remains strong enough to prevent immigration reform in Congress; when the simple assertion that #BlackLivesMatter cannot be accepted by all but is instead contested petulantly by many non-blacks as divisive, even discriminatory.
And that’s looking only at race. Add gender, guns, gays, and God to the mix and the culture war seems to be raging along quite nicely.
As the world frets over Greece, a separate crisis looms in China.
This summer has not been calm for the global economy. In Europe, a Greek referendum this Sunday may determine whether the country will remain in the eurozone. In North America, meanwhile, the governor of Puerto Rico claimed last week that the island would be unable to pay off its debts, raising unsettling questions about the health of American municipal bonds.
But the season’s biggest economic crisis may be occurring in Asia, where shares in China’s two major stock exchanges have nosedived in the past three weeks. Since June 12, the Shanghai stock exchange has lost 24 percent of its value, while the damage in the southern city of Shenzhen has been even greater at 30 percent. The tumble has already wiped out more than $2.4 trillion in wealth—a figure roughly 10 times the size of Greece’s economy.
A new book by the evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne tackles arguments that the two institutions are compatible.
In May 1988, a 13-year-old girl named Ashley King was admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital by court order. She had a tumor on her leg—an osteogenic sarcoma—that, writes Jerry Coyne in his book Faith Versus Fact, was “larger than a basketball,” and was causing her leg to decay while her body started to shut down. Ashley’s Christian Scientist parents, however, refused to allow doctors permission to amputate, and instead moved their daughter to a Christian Science sanatorium, where, in accordance with the tenets of their faith, “there was no medical care, not even pain medication.” Ashley’s mother and father arranged a collective pray-in to help her recover—to no avail. Three weeks later, she died.
In 1992, the neuroscientist Richard Davidson got a challenge from the Dalai Lama. By that point, he’d spent his career asking why people respond to, in his words, “life’s slings and arrows” in different ways. Why are some people more resilient than others in the face of tragedy? And is resilience something you can gain through practice?
The Dalai Lama had a different question for Davidson when he visited the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader at his residence in Dharamsala, India. “He said: ‘You’ve been using the tools of modern neuroscience to study depression, and anxiety, and fear. Why can’t you use those same tools to study kindness and compassion?’ … I did not have a very good answer. I said it was hard.”
Be kind, show understanding, do good—but, some scientists say, don’t try to feel others’ pain.
In 2006, then-senator Barack Obama gave a commencement speech offering what seemed like very sensible advice. “There’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit,” he told Northwestern’s graduating class. “But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit—the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through those who are different from us—the child who’s hungry, the laid-off steelworker, the immigrant woman cleaning your dorm room.”
In the years since then, the country has followed Obama’s counsel, at least when it comes to talking about empathy. It’s become a buzzword, extolled by Arianna Huffington, taught to doctors and cops, and used as a test for politicians. "We are on the cusp of an epic shift,” according to Jeremy Rifkin’s 2010 book The Empathetic Civilization. “The Age of Reason is being eclipsed by the Age of Empathy."
The Fourth of July—a time we Americans set aside to celebrate our independence and mark the war we waged to achieve it, along with the battles that followed. There was the War of 1812, the War of 1833, the First Ohio-Virginia War, the Three States' War, the First Black Insurrection, the Great War, the Second Black Insurrection, the Atlantic War, the Florida Intervention.
Confused? These are actually conflicts invented for the novel The Disunited States of Americaby Harry Turtledove, a prolific (and sometimes-pseudonymous) author of alternate histories with a Ph.D. in Byzantine history. The book is set in the 2090s in an alternate United States that is far from united. In fact, the states, having failed to ratify a constitution following the American Revolution, are separate countries that oscillate between cooperating and warring with one another, as in Europe.
For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?
1. Youngstown, U.S.A.
The end of work is still just a futuristic concept for most of the United States, but it is something like a moment in history for Youngstown, Ohio, one its residents can cite with precision: September 19, 1977.
For much of the 20th century, Youngstown’s steel mills delivered such great prosperity that the city was a model of the American dream, boasting a median income and a homeownership rate that were among the nation’s highest. But as manufacturing shifted abroad after World War II, Youngstown steel suffered, and on that gray September afternoon in 1977, Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced the shuttering of its Campbell Works mill. Within five years, the city lost 50,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in manufacturing wages. The effect was so severe that a term was coined to describe the fallout: regional depression.
People labeled “smart” at a young age don’t deal well with being wrong. Life grows stagnant.
At whatever agesmart people develop the idea that they are smart, they also tend to develop vulnerability around relinquishing that label. So the difference between telling a kid “You did a great job” and “You are smart” isn’t subtle. That is, at least, according to one growing movement in education and parenting that advocates for retirement of “the S word.”
The idea is that when we praise kids for being smart, those kids think: Oh good, I'm smart. And then later, when those kids mess up, which they will, they think: Oh no, I'm not smart after all. People will think I’m not smart after all. And that’s the worst. That’s a risk to avoid, they learn.“Smart” kids stand to become especially averse to making mistakes, which are critical to learning and succeeding.
Former Senator Jim Webb is the fifth Democrat to enter the race—and by far the most conservative one.
In a different era’s Democratic Party, Jim Webb might be a serious contender for the presidential nomination. He’s a war hero and former Navy secretary, but he has been an outspoken opponent of recent military interventions. He’s a former senator from Virginia, a purple state. He has a strong populist streak, could appeal to working-class white voters, and might even have crossover appeal from his days as a member of the Reagan administration.
In today’s leftward drifting Democratic Party, however, it’s hard to see Webb—who declared his candidacy Thursday—getting very far. As surprising as Bernie Sanders’s rise in the polls has been, he looks more like the Democratic base than Webb does. The Virginian is progressive on a few major issues, including the military and campaign spending, but he’s far to the center or even right on others: He's against affirmative action, supports gun rights, and is a defender of coal. During the George W. Bush administration, Democrats loved to have him as a foil to the White House. It’s hard to imagine the national electorate will cotton to him in the same way. Webb’s statement essentially saying he had no problem with the Confederate battle flag flying in places like the grounds of the South Carolina capitol may have been the final straw. (At 69, he’s also older than Hillary Clinton, whose age has been a topic of debate, though still younger than Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.)