Monday, January 10, 2011

That River In Egypt

We're into the third day of hashing over the details of the massacre in Arizona, and things are playing out pretty much the way we thought they would. Plenty of ink and electrons are being spilled by all sides of the complicated debate as to how and why this sort of thing happens. There's plenty of talk, very little of which contains any concrete proposals for minimizing the chances of it happening again. Perhaps it's too early in the process. Everyone is still in shock.

It clearly is not too early, however, for some mostly justified finger pointing:

Democratic members of Congress largely suggested that the shootings might have been sparked by increasingly bitter political rhetoric while Republicans described the suspected shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, as "unstable" and "deranged" without a clear link to politics.

Now, it seems to me that posing this causal argument as "either/or" is not particularly helpful. In fact, it is an oversimplification which moves the discourse away from analysis and towards the assigning of blame without any way to move forward. Yes, the rhetoric from Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, and Angle has clearly been dangerously over the top. And, yes, Jared Loughner gives every indication of being a profoundly "unstable" and "deranged" young man, the kind of individual vulnerable to such violent rhetoric, regardless of his political leanings.

But there is another element to the scenario: a gun. Loughner, who had been rejected by the Army when he tried to enlist, who had been suspended from Pima Community College for his behavior, who had a history of trying to start fights from at least his high school days, was able to purchase a Glock with extended magazines on November 30, just about 6 weeks before the massacre.

Of course, expecting anyone in Congress to consider the issue of easily obtainable firearms clearly not designed for hunting at this time in our history is like expecting to see a transaction tax imposed on Wall Street speculators. The GOP was swept to a majority in the House by the Tea Partiers who want less government control, not more, especially when it comes to their sanctified Second Amendment rights. The NRA continues to be one of the strongest forces in government, both in terms of lobbying and campaign contributions. Few, if any, congress critters want to step into that kind of battle.

So, even though some things beyond increasing Secret Service forces for our elected officials could be done, they won't be done, nor even considered. And we will have to face another horrific drama played out before our eyes, if not sooner by another deranged copycat gunman determined to finish what Mr. Loughner started, certainly later as our economy falters and the rhetoric escalates and another unstable, deranged soul strikes out.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Hecate said...

Sing it Sister!

4:05 AM  
Anonymous ms f said...

"And, yes, ______________gives every indication of being a profoundly "unstable" and "deranged" ....."

You could fill in the blank with the names in the preceding sentence and still be correct.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Howie said...

So what in the constitution says the "right to bear arms" has anything to do with firearms designed for hunting?

I'm really looking for a way to help you out here and I'm finding it difficult.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Howie said...

It seems the main problem to me is that somehow, after all the indications this man was a nut case. Not one of the officers who had contact reported him as unstable.

The other report that troubled me is that the gun store was troubled by the sale.

It seems to me that their concern for safety should have trumped the concern for violating his rights.

I think something clarifying a gun store owners right to use their best judgement would be helpful.

I think he already had one 9mm. His friends talked of him having one before this one. But I was concerned than with the laws we have now, nothing was done and the next law won't help much either.

I have the right to defend my property. No one can say that I must use a 20 guage with steel bird shot to do that.

And then again one security agent at the door would have probably detected a 9 with such a large clip.

6:40 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home