Tales from the Trail

U.S. public says Giffords shooting, rhetoric unrelated

RTXWDK6_Comp-150x150Most Americans see no relation between the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the political tactic of lacing vitriolic rhetoric with firearms analogies.

That’s the conclusion of a CBS News poll that found most Republicans (69 pct), most independents (56 pct) and even a plurality of Democrats (49 pct) believe the two phenomena unrelated.

Those numbers add up to 57 percent of Americans overall — a true majority though not quite big enough to break a Senate filibuster.

The survey, which has a 4 percentage point margin of error, did not ask whether graphic images of rifle cross-hairs, references to finding a Second Amendment solution to congressional reform and similar ballistic gimmickry should continue in force or get booted (not fired) fromRTXWE5N_Comp-150x150 political marketing departments in the interests of public safety.

Giffords’ accused assailant, Jared Loughner, is described as a mentally disturbed loner who used a semi-automatic pistol with an extended ammunition clip to kill six people and wound 14 others on a sunny Saturday in Arizona. He was subdued only when he stopped to reload.

Arizona sheriff sees others like Loughner

RTXWCIT_Comp1-150x150Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik sounds worried about the possibility of other attacks on elected officials like Gabrielle Giffords.

Not that he’s got evidence of another shooter or anything. But Dupnik says there are thousands of people like Jared Lee Loughner, the shooting suspect described as a mentally disturbed loner.

“These people are very susceptible to emotions like anger and paranoia and so forth, and I think that the tone of rhetoric that has occurred in this country over the past couple of years affects troubled personalities,” he tells NBC’s Today show.