I just have a few simple points to make on the subject of the recent assassination attempt in Arizona:
The Shootings Likely Were Politically Motivated – Despite a refusal to accept this largely on the right but generally on both sides: It would be a safe conclusion to come to that the killer’s motives were at least somewhat political, considering that he specifically targeted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for assassination and waited for a ‘Congress on the Corner’ event at which to carry out the shootings.
This Is Not An Issue of Gun Control– The conversation has also taken place that the shootings in Arizona should reignite the debate over gun control, and it should not. It is beyond cliché by now to say this but it is very accurate – guns do not kill people, people kill people. Ideally I would like to live in a world where guns do not exist. If anyone stopped and thought about the fact that a gun’s sole purpose is to injure or kill, I would hope they would agree, however it is not realistic to ban all guns, because what that would create is a society where law abiding citizens walked around unarmed and non law abiding citizens knew that, and were very likely armed. The fact of the matter is there are a myriad of items with which to injure or kill a person and if guns were removed from society it would just be something else that was used. Gun control has always been and will always be important as long as guns exist but the shootings in Arizona did not happen because of a lack of laws regarding gun control, it happened because of the choices of one sick individual, whatever his motives.
If You’re Saying It’s Absurd to Blame the Heated Rhetoric, Then It’s Absurd Not To – The argument from the Republicans has continually been that blaming the heated tone of politics and incendiary remarks made by certain politicians and pundits for the Arizona shootings is absurd because we do not yet know the shooter’s motives. I gather that they are so adamant about this position because the majority of the racism (McCain/Palin rallies during the campaign), comparisons of President Obama to terrorists that should be attacked (Senator Schultheis in 2009), rifle crosshair graphics over districts (who else but Sarah Palin) and literally spitting on Democratic law makers, has all come from… Republicans. That said, if one is to take the stance that the people who engaged in that kind of incendiary rhetoric are not to blame (because we do not know the shooter’s motives), then one would have to immediately concede that by that same logic we cannot say they are not to blame either. I, however, do not subscribe to that logic because it is pointless, politically correct and means neither side has to take any responsibility for this tragedy. Whether it was on a conscious or subconscious level, the incendiary rhetoric must at least be taken into consideration when trying to figure out why this tragedy in Arizona took place and looking to prevent more from happening in the future. As a society we would be remiss to do anything else. I would certainly hope that we do not need to wait for a tragedy in which the perpetrators openly admit to being motivated by violent and incendiary political language to stop engaging in such a thing.