There are three kinds of issues properly surrounding whether it's appropriate to invoke political discussions in the wake of the events in Aurora.
The first is etiquette. Etiquette suggests that it may be appropriate to wait a bit before we discuss policy options, electoral effects, or any of the other practical stuff of life, or it might be appropriate to use quieter voices in the initial aftermath. May be appropriate. Whether it is or not depends on the particular circumstances of the calamity, as well as the particular context of who is talking and where and how. Who are you speaking to? How do they feel about, how are they connected to, the victims? Etiquette tells us to respect people's emotions and try not to offend; we want to follow that just as we would if we suffered a death among our family or our workplace or some other group. But what it exactly entails may be not entirely obvious.
The second is prudence. Making policy pronouncements immediately isn't just crass; it's foolish. Politicians and pundits need to constantly remind themselves: initial reports of sudden events are always confused, and may include things that turn out to be absolutely incorrect. When in any doubt, waiting another hour, or even another day, may be the wisest course.
But the third is: of course it is at some point and in some way appropriate to discuss the political implications, including policy implications, of these types of events, and to advocate for the policies we prefer.
One way of thinking about politics is that it's about how we collectively decide how to organize ourselves. That includes decisions over which aspects of our lives we will choose to treat as within the realm of politics, and which we choose to treat as beyond that realm. In a democracy, all sorts of questions like that -- not just what to do, but which things we should even consider to be "political" at all -- will be contested. David Waldman put it well this morning: "If you live under a regime of self-government, everything is political. Even the decision to decline to address things politically."
And there's more than that. In my view, the best justification for democracy is only that we want to have the ability to collectively choose how we wish to live (including, always, the leave-each-other-alone options big and small). The idea that democracy gives the objectively best policy answers is, as far as I can see, an unproven assertion at best; the idea that democracy means that the correct people are policy winners is not only theoretically silly in my view but, again, another unproven assertion.
What this means, however, is that things are political and politicized because ultimately we want them to be. The United States is an invented nation, invented in order to allow its citizens to engage in politics, and so virtually everything is open to politicization. I don't accept what Jamelle Bouie said over the at Plum Line this morning -- that "we look at this from the perspective of our culture and not our politics." The democratic answer is that our culture is at least from one point of view part of our politics as well. We may well choose that government-influenced cultural change is worse than leaving culture to its own devices; we may choose that even if we actually agreed on what cultural changes were positive and that government could effect those changes, just because we feel strongly that government shouldn't be involved in that area. But that, too, is a political choice.
Oh, and that goes for extra-governmental politics, too -- private organizations organizing boycotts, for example, or people publicly arguing for some sort of cultural changes. That's politics, too, and it's also part of what the American Republic is about. Suggestions for such as Jamelle's that we should collectively change our culture are in at least one sense political suggestions even if they are meant to be carried out without any electoral or governmental involvement at all.
(To be fair, I suspect Jamelle agrees with what I'm saying here and just didn't word what he said the way I would have; his post is just the closest example at hand).
So: be polite; be cautious. And then, if you believe that change is needed (or if you believe that proposed changes should not take place -- there's nothing in what I'm saying that is meant to imply that advocating change is on any different ground than advocating the status quo), do not hesitate to propose it and work for it, and (as long as you're attending to etiquette) ignore anyone who says that it's wrong to politicize or to exploit an awful situation. There's nothing more patriotic in the United States of America than engaging in political action.