The shadowy character pictured on the cover of Newsweek's Jan. 24 issue, out Monday, looks like a comic book villain. Shrouded in an outsize American flag that smothers his body like a Snuggie, the menacing figure aims a pistol skyward, squeezing the trigger with his right hand. The accompanying headline, "American Assassins," touts the latest entry in a long series of pieces seeking to explain the Jan. 8 shooting spree outside a Tucson, Ariz. supermarket that claimed six lives and left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critically injured.
"We thought that the deeper sickness in this population of assassins and what it says about some of the darker strings in the American story was worth touching on," said Jonathan Alter, author of the piece. In his cover story, Alter contrasts the history of assassins abroad (religious and political extremists; organized criminals) with the history of those in America (emotionally tormented and socially isolated loners who suffer from mental illness; e.g. Jared Loughner). "When you're a weekly, the basic problem is that everything's been said, just not everybody's said it, so we're always in the market for a fresh angle and perspective."

Caught in the cross hairs, magazines put Tucson on the cover - Yahoo! News