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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Murder in Tucson; Politics as Usual

Murder in Tucson; Politics as Usual

By accident I turned on the television this past Saturday, just after the shooting incident in Tucson.  Kathi and I were shocked and stunned by the bloody massacre that took place in a Safeway grocery store parking lot.  The target, we now know, was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a young, attractive, articulate “Blue Dog Democrat” member of the United States House of Representatives from the southern part of Arizona.  A deranged young man, Jared Lee Loughner, shot her at point blank range in the head.  It’s sickening to even think about.  Loughner fired his Glock 9mm handgun at other attendees killing six in all and wounding many more.  Our prayers go out for Congresswoman Giffords and all those who were injured, as well as for those who lost loved ones in the shooting.

Thanks in part to the heroic efforts of 74 year old military retiree, Bill Badger, who was himself wounded in the head, Loughner was wrestled to the ground before he could reload and kill more.  It was a day of infamy and sadness for the citizens of Tucson and America.  One of those dead at Loughner’s hand was a 9 year old girl who had recently been elected to her school’s student council and wanted to learn more about public service.  Another victim of Loughner’s insanity was a Federal Judge, John Roll, who just happened to stop by the Safeway after attending Mass. 

Sadly, before any facts were ascertained, an Arizona state senator, Linda Lopez, said on FOX News that the shooter was an Afghanistan war veteran.  What is it with liberals like Lopez?  Do they not have any respect for the truth or for those who were injured?  Is everything politics on the left?  Have they no compassion or humanity?  Lopez was wrong, but that has not silenced her.  No, on Sunday she insinuated that the “Tea Party” was to blame for the attack in Tucson.

“Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics” was the headline in the New York Times.  I don’t suppose the Times was referring to the “Brawler in Chief” who famously said in a 2008 speech in Philadelphia about the Republicans, “When they bring a knife to a fight, we bring a gun.”  Nor do I suppose they were referring to NPR’s Nina Totenberg who on air wished for the death of United States Senator Jesse Helms and his grandson!

Or how about our far left friends at Politico, the inside the Beltway website that quoted a “veteran Democratic operative” advising the White House “to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” just as “the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people” in 1995.
Sarah Palin was one of the first to be attacked by on-air leftwing commentators for “targeting” Congresswoman Giffords, but they were curiously silent about Representative Giffords being similarly “targeted” by a leftwing website for being a “Blue Dog” Democrat.

I am repulsed by politicians of any stripe who would stoop so low as to use the attempted murder of one of their colleagues for political gain.  You should be too.  They do not deserve our respect or our support.
What are the facts about Jared Lee Loughner?  The emerging picture is of a seriously ill person who had been previously sent home five times from the local community college for out of control behavior.  We now are aware of e-mails from and between students in a math class expressing their fear that they would be shot like the students at Virginia Tech.  Some purposely took a chair near the door so they could escape.  Loughner was a seriously disturbed individual.

While the news media continues to report him as someone who did not like government, we now know that at his website and apparently on Facebook he listed as some of his favorite books the Communist Manifesto and German National Socialist Party founder, Adolph Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf.  But don’t make the assumption from this that he was a leftist because he also listed a book by Objectivist Ayn Rand.  According to the Wall Street Journal, his main problem with government was that he believes it is trying to control American “grammar.”  We also know that he believes the United States government was behind the attacks of 9/11.

Clearly Jared Lee Loughner has no coherent political philosophy, left or right.  He is mentally ill.  He wasn’t influenced by anyone’s rhetoric, he was living on another planet, a very dangerous planet.  All the signs of his mental illness were evident to those around him.  But the hands of the community college and others were tied because, thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union, you can’t detain or incarcerate anyone until they do something.  In other words, you can’t do anything until it’s too late.  The same was true of the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho.

I grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, at that time the home to a very large state mental institution.  Number 2, as the home was referred to, housed thousands of mentally incompetent people, a small number who were criminally insane.  Today Number 2 is closed, as are almost all mental institutions of its type across America.  I’ve heard several tragic stories of families with sisters or brothers or fathers or mothers who are mentally ill, but they cannot receive institutional care.  Why?  As nonsensical as it sounds, successful American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits allow the mentally ill to make their own decisions about where and how they live.  We call them homeless and they live in desperately unsafe and filthy situations, thanks to the ACLU.
And today some of us live in terror of people like Seung-Hui Cho and Jared Lee Loughner because we are kept from helping them unless they agree to be helped or until after they do something like kill people.  I know it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s the law.

As far as the “politics above everything else” politicians and members of the news media are concerned, they deserve nothing short of our contempt for attempting to use a great tragedy for personal political gain.  They are part of the reason for the degradation of our society into a less than civil society.  Shame on them! 

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