Musings, rants, rambling, general nonsense

Lessons From Tucson

Posted on | January 8, 2012 | 1 Comment

There are many things we could learn from the horrific shooting in Tucson one year ago today. For E.J. Montini, it seems all that resonated with him was “Never let a tragedy go to waste

He should learn that sometimes simple is better, as Congressman Jeff Flake showed us with this statement:

On the one-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting, we mourn those who were lost, continue to pray for those who were wounded, and take solace in the fact that out of tragedy, our spirit as a community, a state, and a nation has been made stronger.

Montini might have learned not to condemn as complicit individuals who had no connection to the event what-so-ever. He chooses instead to refocus the blame on political ads, which is exactly the muddy thinking that lead to Sarah Palin being demonized as making Gabriel Giffords a target. Instead, despite the preponderance of evidence that has come forward to show Jared Loughner was neither politically motivated nor aware of Palin’s “target map”, Montini chooses to stick with the meme that fits his political agenda. An agenda that finds any words of disagreement from the Right to be “inflamatory”, and the most vile and threatening words & images from the Left to simply represent “impassioned speech”

He might have learned that in the name of civil rights, we have failed the mentally disturbed and those who may eventually fall victim to them. Instead he dismisses Loughner’s illness and points instead to the “ugly discourse over immigration”, something that had no bearing on the shooter or his life.

He might have learned that public officials, particularly those who try to have an open communion with their constituency, would be well served by some sort of personal protection*.

He might have learned that when law enforcement is tasked with being the only line of defense, a Sheriff who fails to act despite repeated warnings & inquiries needs to be removed from his post. Particularly when the sherrif then proceeds to also blame rhetoric and newly minted laws, despite knowing that his office had willfully dropped the ball on stopping Loughner BEFORE he took 6 lives and altered so many more.

He might have learned that, when a person has shown an undue & uncomfortable fascination with another human (whether ‘famous’ or not), we do them no favors by brushing it off. Better Gifford’s staff had reacted to his letters & videos rather than believe him to be harmless.

Gabriel Giffords was shot for the same reason Rebecca Schaeffer was shot, some screwed up kid from Tucson got fixated on her.

In Giffords’ case, though the fixation was not romantic, the trigger was the same. He reacted violently when she did not respond as he hoped to his perceived relationship with her. He felt she disrespected him and made her pay.

* There was a mention after this shooting that Pamela Gorman, at that time a Phoenix area politician who made national news with a volunteer produced YouTube video showing her firing a plethora of firearms, would not likely have been the victim of such an act. Though there is no doubt a working knowledge of firearms goes a long way to protecting life in the event of threat, sometimes there is no time to act.

From the accounts I heard at the time, Lougher approached Giffords with the gun under his coat. When he was in very close proximity, he pulled it out and fired, first at her head, then at the rest of the crowd. When he ran out of bullets and attempted to reload, he was tackled and subdued. Had that exact scenario played out at a Gorman event, neither she not her constituents would have had time to act prior to that first shot.

What would surely have been different is what happened next, as her crowd would more likely be armed – and more likely practiced with their weapons. No one is suggesting a bunch of folks would have, or should have, started firing at Loughner immediately. That sort of reaction might have made an already chaotic situation even worse. However, responsible gun owners who carry for self-defense practice scenarios that require an intelligent assessment of the environment – for instance, in the midst of a crowd.

What likely would have been different is the ability of an armed man to get through the crowd and close to the candidate. A group of 2nd Amendment enthusiasts would also be more likely to be aware of their surroundings, more likely to be alert for threats, more likely to notice a gun, and more likely to be willing to act to stop someone before the day turns deadly.

{Still need to find some links for the facts in this post, if you have ’em handy, drop them in the comments}

UPDATE: Warner Todd Huston takes NPR to task for the same offense: Falsely Blaming Giffords’ Shooting on Uncivil Political Rhetoric


One Response to “Lessons From Tucson”

  1. NPR: Again Falsely Blaming Giffords’ Shooting On Uncivil Political Rhetoric — ExposeTheMedia.com
    January 12th, 2012 @ 5:33 am

    […] **The Vox blog has a similar story about a local Arizona reporter that did the same thing on this story: Lessons From Tucson. […]

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