Isolated act? Read this.

The NYT has a blockbuster piece detailing the threats and violent GOP innuendo leading up to the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Giffords. Read this, and tell me that this was an isolated act. There was a clear pattern of increasing threats of violence, fed in part by the GOP and the Teabaggers, which ended up in a bullet going through her brain. Yeah, isolated.

[T]he shootings came after a disconcerting run of episodes in this district of mountains and desert, raising temperatures here in a way that some of Ms. Giffords’s friends argue fed an atmosphere that might encourage violence.

Several of them pointed back to the smashed door of her district headquarters at 1661 North Swan Street last March as a turning point; a time when a cloud of unease settled over Ms. Giffords and her staff.

She and aides began expressing worry about what they saw as an escalation of threats after a year of brutal town hall meetings over health care. They began to take precautions. “When we did a swing through the district, we began telling the police what we are doing: We let them know where we were going to be,” said Rodd McLeod, her campaign manager.

And Ms. Giffords made no secret at that time of saying she owned a handgun.

“She was extremely concerned about it,” said Thomas Warne, a friend and fund-raiser. “She was concerned about various threats that the office had received: they were general threats on the office itself, on her life.”

There have been no arrests related to the attack on her district office, said Sgt. Diana Lopez of the Tucson Police Department. It came after months in which Ms. Giffords, like other Democrats, found herself being battered at loud town hall meetings on health care. At one of her public meetings on health care, a man with a gun showed up. “There was a sense, even in ’09, that there was a real anger in the district,” Mr. McLeod said.

Last summer, Ms. Giffords found herself challenged by Jesse Kelly, a Republican candidate with Tea Party backing, who assailed Ms. Giffords on health care and immigration. He held a “targeting victory” fund-raiser in which he invited contributors to shoot an M-16 with him. This was playing out against a backdrop of a souring national economy and rising unhappiness with Democrats everywhere.

Mr. Kelly, who won the nomination after defeating a moderate Republican, offered tough-worded attacks on the establishment and Ms. Giffords. “These people who think they are better than us, they look down on us every single day and tell us what kind of health care to buy,” he said at a rally in October. “And if you dare to stand up to the government they call us a mob. We’re about to show them what a mob looks like.”

Let’s not forget the GOP inspired Teabagger mobs that stormed the healthcare reform town hall meetings. The GOP intentionally got people enraged, organizing as they themselves described it, “mobs,” and finally someone snapped.

The culture of violence was established, and fed, until someone finally got the message.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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