You can't reason with crazy. To some degree or another, all of us are or have the ability to become mentally unstable. It is just how we deal and reason with it that makes the difference. In this hyper-partisan political climate especially, the controversial things that we say and do are not without consequences. It is is not a perfect, logical or predictable world and there will always be those who slip through the safeguards and risk formulas to do harm to others out of psychosis or other delusional ideas.
While we cannot 100 percent stop the Jared Loughners and other crazies of the world, we can curtail the flow of fuel that gets thrown onto the fires of those who are already unstable to begin with. Although we will always disagree on issues as a nation, demonizing opponents as unpatriotic, facists or other labels can cause those who are already barely clinging onto some shred of sanity to go over the edge and literally open fire on those they have fixated upon as enemies. To designate a person as a target on a political map using crosshairs and then state they need to be removed will be perceived by the vast majority of others as what it should be, a request to vote against them. However, there will always be those few unstable or disenfranchised persons will see it as a need to eliminate that person or idea by whatever means necessary. Just as the BNP (British National Party) hijacked the skinhead subculture in the UK back in the late 1970s to further their hateful agenda, so now people ramp up the partisan rhetoric then deny responsibility when those they have influenced cause harm to others.
Of course the Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks and other mainstream political celebrities are savvy enough not to endorse outright violence against those they disagree with because they could be found guilty in a court of law like Bill White or Hal Turner who took their hate speech beyond the protection of the 1st Amendment. When you put out statements that will appeal to those who are on the fringes of sanity and society, blaming others for their predicament, eventually someone will chamber a round and act upon their new beliefs. Whether you are in it for power, greed or blind ideology, what you say is ultimately your responsibility when it could lead to the harm of others.
As I have said many times before, the hyper-partisan atmosphere of the last few years has done more damage to America than the 9/11 hijackers could have ever hoped to have accomplished. The events of yesterday should serve to remind us that even though this was probably the work of one or two demented individuals, ultimately we are responsible for not throwing gas on the fire.