Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), chairman of the conservative action group FreedomWorks, said Sunday that the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and ensuing calls for more civil political discourse shouldn't discourage grassroots activists.

"The fact of the matter is, we still have extremely important critical issues of public policy that must be sorted out," Armey said on ABC's "This Week." "Now, hopefully this will be done in a more civil way. But this incident is no basis by which anybody who sees their duty to America to stand down from that duty, but to redouble it, perhaps with a greater degree of caution, and hopefully with a greater degree of civility.

"We've always wanted that," he said. "But still, nevertheless, we must do our duty and defend our liberties in this great country."

Armey's group organized many of the 2009 healthcare protests that are being brought up by pundits and politicians in the wake of the shooting rampage in Arizona.


Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile said "it's important that politicians watch what they say, that we watch the kind of tone that we're setting in this country, and that we encourage ordinary citizens to do the same."

She also cautioned against "metaphors for violence" in political discourse.

Armey cautioned against jumping to any political links in the shooting.

"In the final analysis, when we get the final answer, why did this fellow do this?" he said, "the answer will come from psychology, not from sociology or political science.

"If we really want to understand deviance and danger in this country, we should apply the correct field of study, the correct disciplines and tools of understanding with rigor and responsibility, not just exercising pop sociology out of our hip pocket," Armey added.