Liberal Newspaper Seizes Gun Control Moment, Blames Republicans for Stoking Anger

By Susan Jones | January 10, 2011 | 9:45 AM EST

( - The Tucson gunman "appears to be mentally ill," The New York Times editorialized on Monday, and his erratic behavior and wild ravings "place him well beyond the usual ideological categories."

Although it would be "facile and mistaken" to attribute Jared Loughner's shooting rampage directly to Republicans or Tea Party members, "it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority" of violent threats against politicians.

"Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people," the newspaper said.

The New York Times, noting Arizona's lenient gun laws, said the state "should now lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments."