Shooting a reality check for American politics

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady has found a bullet in his mailbox. He’s spoken to a cell-phone caller who threatened to shoot if he took the stage for a debate. Neither forced him behind a security wall, and this weekend’s unspeakable tragedies in Tucson won’t either, he said.

“All the police in the world could be there and if someone wants to pop out of a crowd with a gun, it’s over,” he said. “That’s not the way I’m going to live my life.”

What the near-assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords did was leave Brady praying for her recovery and promising legislation to punish threats or symbols of violence against federal officials, he told CNN last night.

Earlier in the day talking to Metro, he railed against a climate in which interparty wars rile citizens up and turn political-belief disagreements into screaming matches. He said husbands and wives are openly worried for their political spouses’ safety. That includes Brady’s, who didn’t want him to go to the Melrose Diner without security yesterday.

“A lot of this is our own doing. If both sides of the aisle aren’t civil to each other, people think they don’t have to be civil to us. If we did things respectfully, people would have respect for the office,” he said. “All we’re doing is firing people up.”

The near-death of a “classy, classy lady, not a firebrand, who just voted her conscience” should be a reality check to make elected officials and citizens alike treat one another with respect.

“Who knows what’s going to happen now, if there are other crazies out there who will be copycats taking it further,” he said. “It’s got to stop.”

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