Now that things have settled a bit, I wanted to compose some thoughts and observations about the shooting in Tucson.
- It’s interesting how the Left seemed to pounce on the Right as being responsible for inciting Jared Loughner to shoot twenty people. Flash back to the Fort Hood shootings with me. In the hours after that shooting, we were cautioned not to rush to judgment about the motivations of an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he shot 43 people. Now look at the failed 2010 bombing attempt in Times Square. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others publicly suggested that the bombing attempt came from someone with a “political agenda that doesn’t like the health-care bill or something” or “some squirrely branch of the Tea Party, anti-government far right.” Even the Pima County Sheriff joined in the witch hunt against Sarah Palin and the Conservatives. But wait: it turns out Loughner had some contact with Giffords in August of 2007. Who outside Alaska knew much about Sarah Palin in August of 2007? McCain didn’t name her as his running mate until August 2008. The first local Tea Party events didn’t happen until January 2009. Did Tea Party activists ask Sarah Palin to use her super-secret time travel machine to go back and make Loughner attend a Giffords event in 2007? Is that how they did it?
- As quickly as the call came for the Right to calm their “vitriolic political rhetoric,” the Left was calling for the death of Sarah Palin in a variety of forms on Twitter, from murder to cancer. Funny how that call for calm only works one way. Why isn’t anyone taking them to task for doing exactly what they’re yelling at the Right about? Is it wrong to criticize hypocrisy when we see it? Does hypocrisy only go one way? Is so outlandish to expect people to admit they were wrong, and actually offer an apology, not just express sorrow over their actions?
- There are already calls for new gun control laws in response to the shooting. Ironically enough, Gabrielle Giffords can be considered pro-gun. Despite a D+ rating from the NRA, she has voted for some pro-gun legislation when it’s come up. She may well own a Glock 19, the same model of gun used by Loughner. I doubt she’d be in favor of knee-jerk legislation that wouldn’t have protected her anyway. And I’m more than a little dubious about the constitutionality of one of the proposals.
- Joe Zamudio put lie to the common cry against concealed carry permit-holders. It’s often claimed that CCW carriers will start shooting indiscriminately in such an event, adding to the chaos and shooting innocent people. Zamudio was armed and exiting the supermarket when the shooting happened, and even had his hand on his weapon. But he paused long enough to assess the situation and determine that the person waving the gun around wasn’t the shooter. Hardly the bloodthirsty trigger-happy type the anti-CCW crowd portrays gun carriers as.
- Once again, a public mass shooting was stopped because people reacted, and ran towards the gunfire. Loughner was stopped because three people took a risk to help others. They were able to restrain his gun hand, causing the gun to malfunction. Then they held him in place until law enforcement arrived. The lesson here is that if you’re involved in something like this, the only way you’re going to get help is to help yourself. And don’t think you’re too old to help. Two of the people who initially tackled Loughner were over age 60, and one of them was already wounded.
What happened in Tuscon was a tragedy, no doubt. But it was the action of one mentally ill person bent on criminal action with no regard for laws or morals. And if it shows anything, it’s that the divide between Right and Left may have grown impossibly large, and that most on both sides have little interest in seriously considering any position held by someone on the other side. It’s shown me personally that a 40-year friendship may have run its course, and that’s one of the things that saddens me the most.