History clearly rebuts the endlessly repeated media assertions about polarizing political rhetoric contributing to the Tucson shootings. First, no American with a memory can honestly contend that today’s political divisions count as more toxic than ten years ago -- when a majority of Democrats questioned Bush’s very legitimacy as president, or the late ‘90’s when Republicans mobilized to drive Clinton from office through impeachment. Moreover, some past periods of nasty debate produced no assassinations—the McCarthy era resounded with charges of treason but no major shootings of public figures. Killings often occur in placid political climates of consensus – as with the assassinations of popular, young centrist presidents, Garfield and Kennedy, following elections in 1880 and 1960 when major candidates largely agreed on issues. Fierce rhetoric doesn’t cause shootings, any more than consensus politics guarantees safety for our public figures.