The tragedy in Tucson has shaken us all to the core. Facts are still coming in, and we all must be careful not to jump to premature conclusions. But in the wake of this disaster one thing is clear: We must put an end to the rhetoric of violence and hate that has exploded in America over the past two years.

That's why we're launching a petition calling on every member of Congress, as well as the major TV and cable news networks, to put an end to the hateful rhetoric and all overt or implied appeals to violence. Click here to sign the petition:


Here's what the petition says: "I call for an end to all overt or implied appeals to violence in American politics. We must debate, not hate."

After you sign, please forward this email to the people in your email address book and post on Facebook and Twitter to keep it going. With a large enough response, this petition can help focus the debate on the urgent need to end the rhetoric of violence and hate that has become so widespread over the past two years.

We don't know what motivated the individual or individuals who committed this atrocity. And, if reports are true, it's deeply troubling that the suspected shooter displayed so many signs of serious mental illness, and our public health institutions failed to respond.

But the terrifying fact is that this act of violence falls into a pattern that has emerged over the past two years in America and in Gabrielle Giffords' district in particular.

Windows were smashed at Representative Giffords' district office last March just a few hours after the House vote on health care reform. At one of the infamous town hall events in August 2009, a man attending the event accidentally dropped a handgun on the floor that he had been hiding under his arm.

And violent tendencies have been inflamed by the careless and irresponsible rhetoric of certain political leaders. Sarah Palin's infamous "target list" displayed Democratic districts, including Rep. Giffords', in crosshairs, as if viewed through a gunsight.

In addition, violent imagery was prominently featured during the last election. For instance, a rally for Rep. Giffords' Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly, was promoted with the following notice: "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."

As Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, speaking from the heart at an emotional news conference last night, said:

There's reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol... When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.6

Please take a moment to add your voice to this call to end the rhetoric of violence and hate, and then share it with all your friends.