What will it take?

I don't know what motivated the suspect in yesterday's shooting spree in Tucson. He seems, at best, a deeply confused young man, and at worst, seriously mentally unstable. There is no evidence to link his actions with any specific political movement - but the fact that his primary target was U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords suggests that his motivation was politically inspired.

I am not pointing fingers at any specific people or parties, but I will say that the conversation about cleaning up the tone of today's political discourse in response to this tragedy is a valid one, regardless if it inspired the shooting. Our public figures, political, celebrity, etc. have a responsibility for what they say and do, because it has a definite impact on the people who are listening. Yes, this time, the fact that Giffords was portrayed in the crosshairs of a gun sight on a prominent political figure's website might not have directly inspired this attack. But do we really need to wait for a next time?

Come on, people. Step up, be more mature, and start conversing like the civilized society you claim to represent. There's no need to be defensive - just change it.