The question is echoing this week, after Tucson area Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters that words used in political debate have gone too far and can lead to unbalanced individuals erupting in violence.
But how can you honestly answer such a subjective question?
In a three-part series, CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins speaks to people from the right and the left who use strong and sometimes extreme words against each other, including Jesse Mathewson, a columnist in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Mathewson calls himself a pacifist but has used some extreme words in his opposition to border protection groups, including the Minuteman Civil Defense Project. He has called their founder, Chris Simcox, a "racist bigot."
Desjardins also talks to an expert in extreme speech to find out more about how, and to measure, the way society and individuals talk.
Listen to the first piece in the series here:
Rising star in the Republican Party N.J Governor Chris Christie has made tough choices during his tenure in office by closing the state spending gap and getting tough with teachers unions. He says there no easy choices to make in hard economic times and there is "no magic wand to wave."
Wednesday, Christie spoke to American Morning's T.J. Holmes about politicians telling the truth, making tough decisions in education and whether or not he is winning the battle against MTV's "Jersey Shore."
Arizona shooting – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel Wednesday to Tucson, Arizona, and take part in a memorial service for the six people killed by a gunman at a public meeting hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely wounded. The president is expected to speak at the service.
The U.S. House of Representatives will consider a resolution that honors Giffords, who remains in intensive care. The resolution also reaffirms the First Amendment rights of assembly and petition as "bedrock principles" of American democracy. It recognizes the other victims of the shooting and applauds those who subdued the gunman and assisted the victims.
As the anniversary of the devastating event is remembered today CNN is taking a look back at some of the people we met during the disaster and where thing stand.
For more coverage on Haiti:
Haitians are marking the one year anniversary of the 7.0 earthquake that devastated their country today.
While thousands of aid organizations and non-profit groups answered the call for help and the international community pledged billions of dollars to the recovery effort, progress on a large scale has been hard to come by in Haiti.
That's not to say that work hasn't been taking place. Signs of improvement dot the landscape. But 1.2 million people still make their homes in tent cities. Rubble and damaged buildings are seen at every turn. Those images have some people wondering what is happening with the money that they donated to the cause.
To the outside observer, the reconstruction process seems to be taking too long. But many people working on the ground in Haiti say they are right where they expected to be one year after the quake given the complexity of the problems the country faces. Listen to the story here:
Maryland is poised to become the sixth state to recognize same-sex marriage as proponents say they believe they have enough support to pass such a measure in the upcoming legislative session.
The expansion of gay rights appears to have gained significant traction as Maryland's General Assembly begins its 90-day session Wednesday. Not only are Democrats optimistic about their chances of approving same-sex marriage, but a leading Republican, sensing momentum on the issue, has instead countered with a proposal to grant civil unions to gay couples.
Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has publicly stated that he would sign a marriage bill into law. Maryland then would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in sanctioning same-sex marriages.
Maryland has been inching toward granting greater rights and protections for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Last year Democratic state Attorney General Doug Gansler offered a legal opinion recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. "We've been marching in this direction for a while now," said Democratic state Delegate Heather Mizeur.FULL STORY
The crew was at fault in a Polish plane crash that killed the country's president and nearly 100 other people last April, a Russian-led investigation found Wednesday.
The crew should have decided to divert to another airport in light of "repeated and timely" warnings about bad weather in Smolensk, Russia, the Interstate Aviation Committee concluded.
The presence of a Polish Air Force commander in the cockpit may also have contributed to the crash, the IAC said, noting that he had alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and many top Polish officials died in the crash as they headed to a memorial service to mark a World War II massacre.
The crew of the Polish presidential plane was under psychological pressure to land the plane at Smolensk, fearing Kaczynski would react negatively to a decision to divert the plane, IAC chair Tatyana Anodina said.
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage on the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
8:30 am ET - Tucson condolence book signing - Lawmakers, staff and others sign a condolence book honoring the Tucson shooting victims on Capitol Hill.
10:00 am ET - House remembers Tucson victims - House lawmakers consider a resolution honoring the victims of the Tucson, Arizona, mass shooting.
11:00 am ET - NYC briefing on snowstorm response - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others update the public on the city's response to the snowstorm.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery is "going as anticipated," and doctors are seeing what they want to see so far, the hospital
treating her said Wednesday.
Peter Rhee, chief of emergency medicine at University Medical Center in Tucson, said "none of the downward events have occurred at this time" in her recovery.
Doctors have decreased the amount of sedation they are giving her, and she is "becoming more and more spontaneous all the time," Rhee added.FULL STORY