Monday, January 10, 2011
The shooting of Rep. Giffords
Measured responses I think are spot on from James Fallows in the Atlantic and from George Packer in The New Yorker. The violent rhetoric characterizing our current political climate--and let's face it, that rhetoric is almost exclusive to the right--encourages this sort of tragedy, even, and perhaps especially, in a case where the assassin may be so mentally ill as to be beyond coherent thinking about the politics of the victim(s).
Likewise, the ready availability of firearms, even to someone who is mentally ill, nationally and in states like Arizona in particular.
Alex Pareene on Salon may be a little less measured, but his case is well constructed and, I think, correct in its elemental point: if you make a bed with violent rhetoric (and insanely easy access to firearms) you can't expect that everyone will lie peacefully in it.
Additionally, some sensible words from Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and Peter King, a football writer, for gosh sakes (alebit it a good one).
Dupnik: "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on this country is getting to be outrageous. The vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business (Editor's note: This is you, FOX!) ... This has not become the nice United States that most of us grew up in. It's not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. That's the sad thing about what's going on in America: Pretty soon we're not going to be able to find reasonable decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office."
King: "I'm not blaming guns, I'm not blaming the right or the left. Time will sort out all of the issues about why Jared Loughner apparently targeted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for death. Whatever the reason for Loughner's actions, I don't know how we can continue to listen to the incredible public fury we hear in politics and the political media without it having serious consequences for society."