Officials describe Jared Loughner as a lone actor who is mentally unbalanced. Despite the uniqueness of the case, the Arizona shooting raises big issues, from lax gun laws to demonization in political discourse.
But the Jan. 8 shooting that targeted Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords raises several longstanding issues that require more than a moment of national contemplation.
For instance the media are abuzz with discussion about the vitriol of political discourse as a contributing factor in the shooting.
No direct connection links such talk with the young man allegedly seen wielding a handgun, bent on assassinating Representative Giffords, a moderate Democrat. Six people were killed and Giffords was wounded, along with 13 others. Officials believe Jared Loughner acted alone, and he appears to be mentally unbalanced.