Think back to January 2011 and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a ‘meet the people’ event outside a supermarket in Tuscan. The attack, in which six people died and Giffords was seriously injured, shocked America.
Some saw it as the inevitable outcome of a politics become intolerant and ‘uncivil.’ The Republican politician Sarah Palin, then widely seen as contemplating a Presidential bid herself, was vilified for having shown Giffords caught in the crosshairs of a rifle sight as a campaign ‘target.’ She attempted to address the damage with a speech mourning the dead, but vigorously defending free speech and forthright debate as key American virtues. It fell to Obama in his public role to address the memorial service for the dead. With the eyes of the world and of a shattered local community watching, how would he respond? Continue reading