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Bart Stupak

The language of violence

The shooting Saturday of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and 19 others is not Sarah Palin's fault. Based on what is known so far, it appears to have had nothing to do with the tea party, with discontent about the health care reform law or with immigration policy. There has been a natural inclination among public officials — most notably, Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff Clarence Dupnik — to seek a connection between the vitriolic state of American politics and the mass shooting outside a Tucson supermarket. But all the information revealed so far about the accused shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, suggests that mental illness, not the tone in Washington, is most likely to blame.