Time to take a stand

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is alive after being shot in the head this morning outside of the Safeway at Ina and Oracle in northwest Tucson. Gabby, as anyone who’s met the Congresswoman calls her, had made her weekly trip from Washington, D.C. to meet with local constituents.

I’ve interviewed Gabby many times. Even though I personally don’t always agree with her, she’s smart, personable and I trust her. During the recent  mid-term election campaign, with all its nasty lies, she consistently took the high ground.

Others did not. It’s time to take a stand. The truth is — with all the yapping about Second Amendment rights — per capita ownership of guns is way higher than it was when our forefathers were conducting the American Revolution. That particular jabbering is just an excuse for the condonation of violence, or more specifically, the supposed “rights of the individual” in American society.

When Sarah Palin literally targeted Democratic members of Congress prior to the election, a gun sight appeared over Giffords’ district on a map that appeared on Palin’s website sarahpac.com. Today her home page offers condolences to Giffords and other victims of the shooting and wishes for “peace and justice.”

Back in March, after Giffords voted for the health-care bill, she was asked about Palin targeting her. Sarah Palin has got to realize there are “consequences” to encouraging violence, said Giffords.

Jesse Kelly, Giffords’ recent opponent in the November mid-term election, followed Palin’s advice with his own outrageous targeting of Giffords.

On his Myspace page, shooting suspect Jared Loughner’s latest post was “Good-bye friends.” For a young man to carry out such a violent act — with a legally concealed weapon in wacky Arizona — he’s clearly mentally unsound.  Inflammatory political rhetoric only feeds his instability.

“You don’t have to accept the federalist laws,” the suspect said on his Youtube page. Oh you don’t, why not? Not when you have powerful people with unlimited access to the media espousing violence.

Where will this craziness end? I was disappointed that President Obama didn’t have the gumption to take a stand in his statement today.

Gabby Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House of Representatives just a few days ago. As an old social studies teacher, I staunchly support the First Amendment.

For the sake of America’s sanity, let’s urge our political leaders to practice self-censorship. If they’re mad as hell and they can’t take it anymore, let them talk among themselves. If you’re angry, paranoid or terribly unhappy please seek help (although funding for behavioral health has been severely cut in Arizona).

A nine-year-old child and a federal judge were wantonly killed on a sunny Saturday morning when folks just wanted to buy groceries or say a few words to their  Congresswoman.

For a moment I wanted to get in my car and drive back to Maine, flee this loony state. I’m heartbroken.

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3 Responses to Time to take a stand

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Time to take a stand | Tucson Writer Editor -- Topsy.com

  2. claire says:

    My sympathies to all of you in Arizona. While this is a national tragedy, and we are all saddened and shocked, it is also a local one…one you must all be feeling very deeply.

    What can account for this tragedy? In my mind, the vitriolic political rhetoric from the media and extreme politicians have created the breeding ground for this type of hate and violence. But primarily, it is the availability of guns and ammunition, to ANYONE who wants them, that distinguishes our democracy from others. And the resulting assassinations and attempted assassinations also distinguish us. Even the assassination attempt on Ronald Regan could not change our country’s misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.

    When will we ever learn? oh when, will we ever learn????
    The answer, it seems, is never.

  3. sheilawill says:

    I agree, Claire. And today there was a letter to the editor in the Arizona Daily Star, calling for MORE guns so citizens could protect themselves for shooting sprees like the tragic rampage on Saturday. Crazy indeed.

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