As well as noting the danger from the forces Sarah Palin has been stirring up in the United States, we also need to consider some of the broader political currents the alleged Tuscon gunman Jared Loughner may have been influenced by.
Early indications are Ms Giffords shooter was concerned with currency issues, the loss of the gold standard, poor grammar and America having 'lost' its first constitution. Much of this is standard conspiracy theory belief, and the US has now seen several incidents where gunmen, seemingly influenced by on-line conspiracy theorists, have carried out attacks. Other reports have suggested the possibility of a fascist link, via the American Renaissance group.
Spend 5 minutes on the David Icke forums today, and you will see the usual response to a terrorist attack of this type - it is an 'inside job', the attack has been carried out by Zionists, it all a put up job etc etc. Perhaps the sickest comments focus on the death of a 9 year old girl in the attack, Christina Taylor Green, - the fact she was born on the day of the September 11th attacks leads to the inference this whole incident has been staged.
Leading 'Truth' activists such as David Icke and Alex Jones appear incapable of recognising the effects that their world views can have - particularly on damaged or isolated individuals. The view that all answers to virtually all political problems can be found on the Internet, and that society, rather than being a complex series of class and economic relations, is instead manipulated by a handful of hidden figures, is sadly getting stronger, not weaker.
Until these ideas are not only challenged but refuted, there is every indication that we will see more Jared Loughner's. And that can only end badly.