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“Should political rhetoric be blamed for horrific actions of lone-acting individuals?” was the question and here is how our readers responded:

No                    91 percent

Yes                   6 percent

Undecided       3 percent

Regarding this question, UFI received several emails such as this:

“When you tell us to vote, please TELL US HOW you want us TO VOTE (in the light of United Families International)!” Or another, “We want to know what you at UFI think…”

There isn’t an easy answer, but here we go:

Although a broad public discourse on civility in politics and political rhetoric is much needed, we at United Families hesitate to tie that need to the events in Tucson, Arizona, where a severely mentally-disturbed young man killed six individuals and wounded 13 others.  There are two distinct issues on the table that need attention and they should not be connected.

Recognizing that severe mental illness can play a role; individuals are responsible for their own actions.   Many argue that the actions of Jared Loughner represent a failure of the mental health system.  That is a judgment we at UFI are unqualified to make.

Our UFI alert, Respect for life and the Tragedy in Tucson, sent out a two days after the shootings, emphasizes that much of contemporary culture and the coarsening of society – not to mention bad public policy – has lead to a loss of basic respect for life.   That as much as anything, in our opinion, contributes to the random and not-so-random violence that we seem to find all around us.

We at UFI are not in the camp that would indict political rhetoric for what occurred in Tucson.

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