This is a clip of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords talking to MSNBC last March about the heated rhetoric after the healthcare bill was passed and about Sarah Palin's crosshairs map. She also noted that there are extremists on both sides. I didn't read about any Democrats encouraging people to "reload" and I don't think any Democrats displayed on their websites a map of the US with gun scope crosshairs over the Congressional districts of Republicans. Sarah Mullen pointed out that in 2004 the Democrats displayed a US map with targets over states in which GW Bush led by a small margin. But the Democrats' map in 2004 "seems more tame because it doesn't list specific names. The markings seem more like a dart boards than gunsights."
The resultant debate reminds me of the debates that took place online after terrorists killed innocents in Iraq. Many people noted that there are extremists on both sides (Sunni and Shiite) and it's true - there are extremists on both sides. But in general they don't act the same; there are differences between Sunni extremists and Shiite extremists. Likewise, there are differences between leftist extremists and rightist extremists in America. Maybe the analogy is far reaching and maybe even false. But one has to wonder at a time when leaders of the Republican party have called on their supporters to "reload" while Muqtada al Sadr says "Only those qualified will carry weapons." Things can change quickly in Iraq, and it might be easier to convince Iraqis to drop their weapons than to convince Americans to drop theirs. For politicians in the US, "Endorsement of even modest gun-control measures can spell political defeat."
Eugene Robinson said on Countdown that in general, in the 60s and 70s, political violence came mostly from the left. But today, he said that incontrovertibly political violence comes mostly from the right:
It cannot be said that Jared Lee Loughner came from the right or the left. It's clear he was deranged. But some of his views bear similarity to the views of Tea Party patriots.
Also see this clip. Also read my post "Guns in America".