By now, most of you know the tragic events of Saturday. A deranged young man, with wild political leanings, approached Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Dem., AZ) at a meet-and-greet congressional event being held at a Safeway grocery store outside of Tuscon, AZ. Six people in all were killed, including a 9 year old child (later identified as the granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green), Federal Judge John Roll (a Bush appointment), as well as one of Giffords aides. Giffords herself lies in the ICU of University Medical Center of Tuscon, following brain surgery.
The entire tragedy instantly captured the attention of the nation. Few events in our society do that. But here is a young woman, in her third term of Congress, simply doing her duty, and meeting her constituents on the issues that effect them.
And one insane man can change all that.
Mainstream media instantly tried to make this a political issue, what with the extreme tensions that arose in Arizona last year because of their immigration laws, health care, as well as Giffords heated 2010 midterm re-election. Unfortunately, the shooter did not fit perfectly into their narrative. None of these issues seem to have inspired this guy. He was not a Tea Partier, not a member of any clear conservative or liberal group. He seems to be a relatively deranged young man, who has leanings from being against hispanic immigration to antisemitic commentary to stating that his favorite books included The Communist Manifesto to Mein Kampf.
Then, you have the intelligensia claiming we have no proof this was political, but it must be!!! What idiocy. This is exactly the type of vitriol they decry…and then they commit the same crime themselves. Whether it be the talking heads of CNN or MSNBC, or idiots like Paul Krugman, for them to state that they know anything for sure is a rush to justice. Will these same pundits decry the talk of people like Nancy Pelosi, if the guy turns out to be a liberal? I doubt it.
No mainstream conservative or liberal would accept such an outrage, and for anyone to claim otherwise is to fall into the trap that these kind of events always create…they themselves are involved with the kind of rhetoric that is unfair, unjust, and frankly, unhelpful.
There is only a couple real lessons to be learned here. First, if the shooter truly had a criminal or mental health record, how did he obtain a gun? Or, if like the Virginia Tech shootings several years ago, if he didn’t have a mental health record, why was that so? What was missed? He had several run-ins with police, though apparently was never convicted of a crime. He was also reportedly expelled from his community college recently, and was refused entrance into the military. If either had evidence of his instability, is there a way to use that information to have prevented him from obtaining a weapon?
The other lesson is one of security. I went to a party with Gov-elect John Kasich on Saturday evening, and there appeared to be more security at this event than other events I have been to. All politicians now must be on alert. The question is, how does a democracy survive if its representatives are a stone’s throw away for their constituents? I am sure Congress will come up with a balance, but it will be difficult.
In the end, one can only hope that common sense prevails. I know, maybe that is hoping too much. All we can do in a free society is hope, and pray that those killed and injured go forward with God’s blessings.