The Democratic leader in the Iowa House says Friday’s mass shooting in Connecticut will hopefully “raise the level of civility” in political debate.

House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says it starts with everyone thinking before they speak.

“We really are on a level of discourse right now that is so partisan, so polarizing, so destructive – there’s so much hate out there that it’s probably not a helpful environment for somebody on edge,” McCarthy says.

The “drip, drip, drip” of partisan sniping intensified during the 2012 campaign season, according to McCarthy.

“I think we just have to do a better job and take a deep breath and remember we’re dealing with our fellow human beings,” McCarthy says. “…I think it just starts with all of us just taking a step.”

According to former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach, “polarizing rhetoric can precipitate violence.” Leach launched a 50-state speaking tour about civility two years ago — long before the school shooting tragedy in Connecticut.

Leach, a Republican, was appointed by President Obama in 2009 to serve as the director of the National Endowment for the Humanities.