A reader writes:

I hope you're right about Obama's speech being a pivot point in our politics and culture. I know the Tucson shooting has forever changed the way I think - and will talk - about politics. My oldest and closest friend was one of the people shot on Saturday.

Thankfully, none of the three bullets (one in each arm, one in the back) hit bone, major arteries, or any organs. She is truly fortunate that she didn't die while shielding her teen daughter (who was there to thank Congresswoman Gifford for allowing the girl to serve as a page for Gifford last summer) from the gunman. Her husband and son were also there, ran at the first gunfire, and then helped staunch my friend's bleeding, etc. until she could be transported to a hospital.

As you can well imagine, all of them are traumatized. I'm traumatized. I've been politically involved on and off all of my life, but since this incident, I can't stomach the rhetoric, have stopped reading many blogs and don't know if I'll ever have the same interest in politics again.

I was upset by the news of the shooting Saturday morning, hours before I knew my friend and her family were there. When I found out my friend was among the wounded, my feelings ranged from shock to the sheer unfairness that my friend, in particular, should be caught up in such a thing because she has always maintained a sensible calm with regard to politics, always looked at all sides (having her roots in Texas), and she is incredibly civil in all her words and actions.

I realize we'll never know the shooters motives or real state of mind. Maybe the 'me' who ran around in the days before the last election dropping off fliers and talking to college kids about voting will venture back into political activity at some point. But right now, if somebody so much as says "tea party" I just want to cry -- I'm so sad for my friend, her family, and the polarized state that the country has sunk to.

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