It is unfortunate that the shooting was almost immediately used as a platform to attack the First and Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
Several U.S. Representatives, including Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), have already begun talking about imposing stricter gun control laws, and the media wasted no time in blaming the tea partiers and conservatives for inciting the violence.
For example, MSNBC’s Keith Olberman opined that Sarah Palin should “repudiate her own part…in amplifying the violence,” and he went on to blame Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly — not because of their comments, but rather that their silence contributed to the attack.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer noted that the shooter possessed such disparate books as the Communist Manifesto and Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which, according to Blitzer, represents the views of “the far left to the far right.” He did not elaborate on what conservatives who favor smaller, limited government may have gleaned from a book written by a murderous dictator. In fact, Hitler’s Nazi party was actually an acronym for the National Socialist Workers Party. Blitzer certainly revealed his ignorance.
And in Congress, at least two gun control bills may be introduced early this week. “My staff is working on looking at the different legislation fixes that we might be able to do and we might be able to introduce as early as tomorrow,” Rep. McCarthy told the Politico newspaper on Sunday.
Grivalja said that “accessibility” to firearms has “to be examined” in the wake of the shooting.
But gun laws, or political rhetoric, were not the cause of the massacre in Tucson. Contrary to the opinion of most in the mainstream media, there is no evidence that Jared Loughner was a “right-wing” product of the tea party who hung on Sarah Palin’s every tweet. And Loughner bought his gun legally after passing an FBI background check.
All that can be ascertained, to the extent that one can make sense of his political ramblings, is that Loughner is a deranged and confused individual with incoherent political views who probably contemplated this crime for some time.
We know from sad experience that people with criminal intent will continue to plan and carry out violent acts. We also know that as quick and brave as police officers are, they cannot be everywhere all the time.
Perhaps one lesson average Americans will take from this unfortunate violent act is that we must take greater responsibility for our own personal protection and be prepared to help thwart attacks — or at least to prevent attacks like this from escalating.