The blurry line between violent talk and violent action

Now it’s the GOP’s turn. “I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric,” said New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins after the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and five others at an Alexandria, Virginia baseball field. “The rhetoric has been outrageous—the finger-pointing, just the tone and the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters. Really, then, you know, some people react to things like that.”

Democrats once said much the same thing. After a Tuscon man shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, progressives noted that her opponent had asked supporters to “help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office” by attending a fundraiser at a shooting range. They also pointed to a graphic distributed by Sarah Palin, which showed Giffords’ district in the crosshairs of a gun. “When people do that,” Giffords said, “they’ve got to realize that there are consequences.”

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