The gun smoke had hardly begun to fade away from the terrible massacre in Tucson, Arizona before politicians, reporters, and television talking heads were pointing fingers and looking for somebody to blame.
Police say that they believe that Jared Loughner acted alone in the shooting that killed six people and wounded fourteen more, including Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Among the dead was Federal Judge John Roll. The big question at this point, and one that will probably never be answered completely, is why Loughner committed his terrible crimes.
Right wing extremists, radical conservative movements, and the Tea Party have been speculated to have influenced Loughner’s actions. Sarah Palin has been accused by some of helping to motivate the gunman, citing a graphic on her website of crosshairs on 20 House districts targeted for Republican takeovers last fall, including Congresswoman Giffords’. At the time, Giffords expressed concern in an MSNBC interview, saying the graphic could have dangerous consequences.
There has also been criticism of election campaign comments attributed to Palin of “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”
Also mentioned was Republican senate nominee Sharron Angle of Nevada, who said during her campaign “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.”
Some have speculated that the constant barrage of hatred by folks like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck added fuel to the fire, and helped encourage the shooter.
Did these kind of comments nudge this lunatic over the line into violence? I have no idea, because no sane person can understand the rationalizations of a mind this twisted. But I can believe that the growing divisiveness we have seen the last few years in America, fueled by pundits on both sides, could help convince an already warped nut case that he or she has justification for their beliefs and actions.
There is evidence that Loughner was obsessed with Congresswoman Giffords for several years, long before Palin’s name became a household word. Investigators have discovered rambling manifestos and writings showing that he was way out on the ledge for quite a while before this happened.
Somebody wrote last night to ask me if I thought that tougher gun laws could have prevented this tragedy. No, I don’t believe that.
If you are charged with domestic violence or have a restraining order out on you for such, you can’t pass the background check to buy a gun. But being an obvious wacko isn’t enough to keep you from legally buying a gun, unless you’ve been certified as a wacko.
Pima College in Tucson kicked this guy out, because they felt he was too dangerous to be on campus. The Army rejected him when he tried to enlist. Loughner was a misfit that everybody now says they knew was a problem, but nobody ever did anything about. Because in America, we can’t abuse somebody’s rights because of what they might do. Here we have to wait until they start killing people before we can react.
I agree that Loughner never should have been allowed to buy a gun, but I am also 100% sure that if he wanted to do his terrible crimes, he would have gotten a gun anyway, either by buying it off the street, or stealing one. Give me $50 and set me down on any city street in America at noon, and I’ll have a gun by nightfall if I want one.
The gun control advocates will say that this proves we need to do away with firearms in this country. I won’t even go there, because I don’t believe that, and even if we tried, there are too many guns out there, and American citizens, for good reasons, will never give them up, no matter what kind of laws are passed.
To make this whole tragic case even uglier, if that can possibly be so, now new nutcases have popped onto the scene. The sickos from the Westboro Baptist Church, who have gained fame for picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in the line of duty, have announced that they will be at the funerals of the Arizona shooting victims, spewing their own brand of hatred for America, blaming them for their “sins” that caused their deaths, and praising the shooter.
And just as we could not tread on the rights of somebody like Jared Loughner to prevent this crime, we can’t interfere with this outfit’s “rights” either.
I said in a blog a while back that the mood in this country had gotten so ugly that we were going to see bloodshed, and we have. I also think that if somebody doesn’t rope in these radical “Christians” and stop them from their vile actions at times like this, sooner or later it will lead to even more violence.
So who’s to blame? Take your pick; extreme political rhetoric, easy access to guns, a society that allows mentally troubled people to walk the streets without supervision, or just a monster disguised as a human being. I don’t have an answer. Do you?
The system is broken in so many ways, I don’t know if we can ever fix it.
Tags: bloodshed, buy a gun, crimes, Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, domestic violence, Glenn Beck, gun control advocates, Jared Loughner, killing people, lunatic, massacre in Tucson, Pima College, radical conservative, Republican senate nominee Sharron Angle, Right wing extremists, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Second Amendment, soldiers killed in the line of duty, Tea Party, tougher gun laws, Tucson mass shooting, Westboro Baptist Church