The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

The Misguided Blame for the Tucson Killings

Posted by demkid on January 11, 2011

I’m just going to link to an article I like, but I briefly want to say that as a moderate, I’m particularly saddened by both the shooting of a fellow moderate Democrat, and the politicking going on already on both sides of the political aisle.  From what I’ve read and heard, Congresswoman Giffords is a terrific individual.  She’s well-liked by her colleagues, seems extremely genuine, got into public service for the right reasons (to improve the lives of those she represents), and has worked to tone down the rhetoric and partisanship in this country, even sending an email to a Republican friend as recently as last Friday, seeking to collaborate on promoting centrism and moderation.  If there’s one good thing that comes out of this tragedy on a political level, I hope that this harsh rhetoric that Gabby Giffords has fought against is significantly reduced.  This means a reduction in both Sarah Palin “Target List” type materials, as well as misguided attempts by some to use those materials to score political points when no proof exists that links their existence with unfortunate catastrophes.

In the specific case of the killings in Tucson, it’s completely ridiculous to be arguing about whether Jared Lee Loughner was influenced in any way by Sarah Palin.  This is the type of crap that Congresswoman Giffords would discourage.  Instead, we need to look at how this mass killing actually happened, and how similar incidents can be reduced going forward.  This brings me to the article, written by John Cook, titled The Sad Death of Gun Control:

There is of course one thing we can squarely and firmly place the blame for these killings on, aside from Loughner himself: The handgun he used to carry them out. Arizona essentially has no gun laws. Loughner committed no crime when he purchased the gun, no crime when he loaded it, and no crime when he carried it to the Safeway. He was obviously crazy to virtually everybody who encountered him in recent months except for the dealer who sold him the gun. He was too crazy for community college, but not too crazy to buy a Glock.

The reason six people were killed on Saturday is that Loughner had access to a firearm. But a consensus has emerged that preserving access to firearms for the public at large is worth the occasional mass killing because the alternative—registering firearms, requiring competency evaluations before selling them—is too onerous. So instead we fight about whether a subsidiary reason may have involved nasty things some people said, because there is no consensus that restricting our freedom to say nasty things to and about one another is too much of a burden.

Cook argues that “a requirement in Arizona that all gun sales be accompanied by a note from a mental health professional certifying competence” would have been much more likely to prevent this incident than “a pledge from Sarah Palin to refrain from violent rhetoric.”  I completely agree.  How about a requirement that magazines hold no more than 10 bullets.  Why would anyone need 31?  It’s too bad gun control has become such a non-issue in this country, and without a strong, educated, reasonable voice from moderates like Representative Giffords, meaningful solutions to this country’s problems will continue to be overshadowed by the meaningless rhetoric on both sides.

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3 Responses to “The Misguided Blame for the Tucson Killings”

  1. I couldn’t agree more.

  2. demkid said

    Thanks. Nice cat, Blondie! Hope you’ve been well.

  3. brightcoast said

    Well, I stand behind my opinion that politicians with ready access to mass media markets should watch their choice of language.

    Your point reminds me of when Obama was there for some function and people were standing outside with loaded guns in protest, simply because they are allowed to carry. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

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