The Common Good

The Work of Healing Starts in Our Hearts

Many members of Congress and their staffers have had friends and loved ones call to check on their personal safety. The tragic shootings in Arizona have made all those who work in the public square -- especially our political leaders -- feel targeted.

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We do not know the motivations of [Jared Loughner] who has been charged [with Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Arizona]. But we do know that Giffords was targeted because she is an elected official. If she had lost her election, she would very likely not be in the hospital today.

Whether the shooter comes from the extreme right wing, the extreme left wing or no wing or is just a wing nut; whether the victims were Republicans or Democrats, the attack was on us all.

This isn't about crude fingerpointing, trying to place blame on political opponents. Only the shooter is at fault for pulling the trigger.

But we are all responsible for the violent nature of our society. While only a small percentage of people in our country would ever murder, Jesus taught his disciples that violence goes much deeper than that. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22), as translated in "The Message," Jesus said: "You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. ... The simple moral fact is that words kill."

[This post is an excerpt from a longer editorial for Politico. To read Jim's complete editorial, visit]

portrait-jim-wallisJim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street -- A Moral Compass for the New Economy, and CEO of Sojourners. He blogs at Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.

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