Just wanted to make a general post so people can post their thoughts and feelings about the shooting and its aftermath.
Some points that could be good for discussion:
- Political rhetoric
: is this now out of hand? Commentators and politicians frequently use gun and other violent metaphors when talking about politics and politicians. The most blatant example would be Sarah Palin who used a target map with crosshairs, with one over Gabrille Giffords:
Giffords herself said at the time that "when people do that, they've got to realize that there's consequences for that action." Scarily prescient.
Another example would be Palin's tweet where she tried to rally conservatives to not retreat but "RELOAD." Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann said she wanted the people to be "armed and dangerous" and called for a revolution against the government. RNC Chairman said Nancy Pelosi should be in a firing lineEven Obama has said some crazy things like "“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has said the Fox News is like the KKK, Fox News President Roger Ailes called NPR Nazis. Glenn Beck is the king of using violent rhetoric and fear mongering, e.g. by saying that health care reform was akin to the 9/11 attacks.
Just today I read about some Republicans in Arizona resigning because of the constant violent threats they're receiving from Tea Party supporters who are most definitely influenced by Fox News etc.
One Democratic senator said he intends to introduce a bill that would outlaw such things but that just sounds ridiculous. However Jon Stewart summed it up well:
I do think that its important for us to watch our rhetoric, I do think that its a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with our enemies if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid mad men and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak. It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV. Let’s at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.
Personally I don't think Palin's map or tweets or other political rhetoric had anything to do with the shooting - the guy was just crazy. Although some of his crazy ramblings do sound similar to some of Beck's stuff so I'm not so sure about that. However it's just embarrassing for America to see politicians and commentators talking like this. It's distasteful and uncivil and contributes to needless and pointless hatred based on minor differences. Politicians, commentators and talk show hosts have an impact on people - their whole job is to influence people and so what they say and how they say it, matters.
- Gun control
: the shooter was clearly crazy to everyone that met him, a fact even known by the police. How does such a clearly crazy person not get treatment and even worse, is able to buy a gun?? Arizona has probably the most lax gun laws in the country and the fact that the police had reports on the shooter being mentally unstable would not have restricted him in any way from buying a gun. To get bullets, Loughner just cruised by his local walmart, got some bullets and maybe a can of coke and a snickers.
The way I see it, the 2nd Amendment allows gun ownership to be "well regulated" and so stricter laws should be implemented.
Anyways...just wanted to hear what other people thought about this tragedy and what should be a constructive response.
For the record, even though Giffords looks likely to survive despite being shot through the head, 14 people were injured and 6 people killed, including a 9 year old girl born on September 11, 2001.