As I write this, the breaking news story is that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has been shot at a town hall meeting in Tuscon, Arizona. She may or may not be alive; earlier reports said she passed away, but now there seems to be hope that she is in fact alive. A dozen others appear to have been hit and in various conditions medically. At least one appears to be a child around the age of 10.
The shooter is said to be around 20 years old and white. He is in custody.
That is the end of what we know.
Speculation is rampant right now, as are calls for vengeance, arrests, etc. As it stands, we know nothing about the motive of the shooter. Given that the target was a politician, is does seem likely that the motive was political, but even that is not an established fact as of right now. For all we know, the shooter could have been stoned out of his gourd and had no political motivations at all.
This drives me nuts more than anything. Yes, if there are political motives of any sort, there will be huge implications of this, which everyone may and should discuss once those motives are confirmed. I assure you, I will be one of those doing so.
But we cannot do that until we know the motive. All attempts to use this to attack the opposing political ideology are completely unfounded at this time. They do little but increase hysteria that, frankly, we do not need.
The time will come to discuss the implications. This is not the time.