Against the background of historic and global violence, the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords by Jared Lee Loughner, in which 7 other people were killed, including federal judge John M. Roll, is of significance only because it was unexpected and local. The event will probably be remembered as an embarrassment to ultra-conservative Republicans like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and John Boehner, and to the gun lobby. It probably did not involve an organization, just a confused young man acting on impulse.
It is, nevertheless, an occasion to reflect on violence, both political and social. Representative Giffords was a member of the Democratic Party, a war crimes organization, and the U.S. Congress, a war crimes government. Those labels shock most Americans, but they are factual, not rhetorical. War crimes and crimes against humanity are very clearly defined. Both the U.S. government and the Democratic Party (and the Republican Party, too) have long histories of committing war crimes. They are committing war crimes in Afghanistan as I write.
It is the nature of governments to want a monopoly on violence. In a representative democracy, in theory, this violence is then used to achieve public goals. If the United States is considered to be the test case, in reality a fairly small elite sets most of the goals of government and derives the greatest benefit from the (attempted) monopoly on violence.
I don't know much about Gabrielle Giffords' record. Apparently she consistently voted for money for the war against the people of Afghanistan.
Limited political violence says a lot about the American system, in which the elite rule, but in which there are safety valves to allow the ambitious to better themselves by serving, perhaps even becoming, that elite. There are many ostensibly violent political groups in the United States, but they are all small. Today they are mostly ultra-conservative, but as late as the 1980's there were plenty of ultra-leftist, mainly Leninist groups around. It also says a lot about the police-state strategy in America. Free speech is encouraged, people are watched, and confidential informants developed. It is hard to have a radical political group of any size in the U.S. that does not have an FBI agent or confidential informant as a member. So groups get broken up before they can accomplish much. We have seen that with both right-wing militia groups and Islamic groups of late.
Jared Lee Loughner was under the radar. Apparently he read up on things, mostly on the Internet, but acted alone. Representative Giffords was just a convenient target. If bigger fish had been in town, he might have tried for one of them.
Politics without violence is a good goal, but it creates dilemmas. How can the American people stop war crimes by our government when the money of the corporate security state determines the outcomes of almost all federal elections? The American people apparently voted against the Afghan war both in 2006 and 2008, to no avail. In 2010 they turned their attention to the sorry state of the economy, now resigned to the crookedness of the Democratic Party's continued funding of the war.
The Democratic Party was the creation of the ultra-violent General (later President) Andrew Jackson. Jackson was an-equal opportunity maniac who liked to challenge men less skilled with pistols to duels (he killed several), who once had a volunteer child-soldier under his command shot for not obeying an order, who killed native American Indians, whipped slaves, and even profited from staging dog fights and chicken fights. Not everybody in the Democratic Party has been as evil as its founder, but just joining that party, or running for office under its banner, shows a lack of ethical integrity.
Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party richly deserve destruction, but that won't happen by shooting individual elected officials. When it comes to violence, the corporate security state will come out the winner every time. Difficult as it might be, the only non-violent alternative is to win elections with candidates who show they can be elected without the corrupt machinery of the war-crimes political parties.
A Brief History of the Democratic Party
A Brief History of the Republican Party