I think the most likely short-term outcome of this is a crackdown: more investigations, more policing, more censorship. Possibly deployment of porn scanners outside of airports. While Sheriff Dupnik blamed his local people, who he knows very well, FBI director Mueller has blamed the internet—us. It is difficult for me to see anything that is likely to lead to a reduction of hate speech or the pathological obsession with violence our right wing displays. The Tea Party leadership shows no shame; I do not expect Murdoch to reign in Fox News or the Kochs to reign in the radical-right groups they fund.
Nothing to see here, move along.
In the long term, it's hard to say. When weak people have no arguments left, they resort to violence. Jared Laughner seems to be a psychologically disabled man. He seems to have targeted Rep. Giffords because she was the nearest authority figure in reach and, probably, because of all the hate speech he had already heard directed at her. He was able to buy a semi-automatic pistol with an extended clip because we do not take seriously the need for checks on the mental health of firearms purchasers. In the long term, it is likely that the violence will collapse the credibility of the radical right, but it could be decades before that long term arrives.
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