Since the tragic shooting in my adopted town a million words have been written and spoken about the climate of hate that has been part of our political system. As has been repeatedly noted, we will never know exactly what motivated the shooter, Jared Loughner.
I do not believe it is simply words that caused this terrible act. I believe that there are three parts that resulted in the culmination of this tragedy that need to be addressed.
- Vile words of hate and vengeance have created an atmosphere that justifies a criminal act in the mind of a disturbed person. When there is talk by politicians in the halls of congress of using the second amendment rights to solve a problem WE have a serious problem.
- Those on the 'right' are trying to distance themselves from the heated rhetoric that has become a staple of the FOX network talking heads and of some of the Tea Party crowd. It simply won't wash, because we have all seen the guns at the Tea Party rally's, heard the hate spewed rants, and seen the signs promoting this ugly emotion. If we are aware of it, then it's logical that an unbalanced person can be influenced by the words and might feel justified in carrying out the vile message. It has been proven that Jared intended to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords. This was premeditated.
- I was furious when I heard John Kyle (Republican Senator for AZ) criticize our Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, for (as Kyle put it) 'politicizing the shooting.' It was politicized when a U. S, Congresswoman was shot. That's why we called it an attempted assassination and not an attempted murder. Kyle is a lawyer so he can't be excused for ignorance. He is just an oily jerk.
- The ease of obtaining a gun: To me this is the issue that we should be concentrating on.
- Our gun laws are so lax that they may as well not exist. First and foremost: unless you are a member of the military or law enforcement you have no reason to own an automatic weapon. Those weapons are made to kill people and to kill as many people as possible rapidly. There is no other use for them PERIOD. They should be banned.
- The powerful NRA lobby has so cowed our representatives, or bribed them with obscene contributions to their campaigns, that they even let the law expire (under George W. Bush) that made the manufacture and selling of extended ammunition clips illegal. Now anyone can buy one and, therefore, kill a whole slew of innocent people before anyone has time to react.
- Mental Illness: How many times after a massacre (such as the shooting of the students at Columbine High School) have we heard that the sign of mental illness was evident in the shooter(s) long before the evil act was carried out? We need to educate people on the signs of mental illness so they will see that the sick receive the help they need before they go over the brink.
- This must be followed up by better funding for mental illness. It is shoved under the carpet when money is allocated for health care. The result is that we are all at risk when a demented person is free to carry out heinous deeds.
Please keep those who are the victims of this crime in your thoughts long after the news media move on to another story. And help in any way that you can to prevent further carnage by demanding strong gun laws, toning down the rhetoric, and pushing for the funding of mental illness.
Our representatives should not be allowed to avoid these issues after the news dies down, as they have in the past.
(Please ignore the extra numbers. I have tried in vain to edit this without them, but blog spot has it's own idea and I have failed to outwit it.)