Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In the Aftermath

Politicians, citizens, the media, we all should take advantage of the unfortunate shootings in Tucson. While shooter may or may not have been politically motivated, his access to automatic multi-rounded guns is. The interpretation of the second amendment to allow such access is very political. While there are some who do hunt their meals, most us only hunt the aisles of our local supermarket. We need to really examine our gun culture, what it means and why is it necessary.
Second, in the memory of those who died trying to exercise their civil and political rights and talk to their congressional representative, we should take advantage of the opening to really talk about what political discourse should or should be, talk about civility, the lack or not of it, talk of responsibility, public good and community. Instead I hear the blame game--not my rhetoric, the shooter was acting on his own, etc, etc. For instance, if we believe the shooter was acting on his own, why do most people seem to castigate all billion Muslims as potential terrorists because of the actions of 19+??? If crosshairs, reload, etc. are not provoking violence but are metaphors for change and voting, perhaps we need to remember that in our democracy political change has been peacefully conducted at the voting booth (for the most part). [BTW, if Gov. Palin really believed that her rhetoric was not instigating violence, she should have decried the violence at the first of the 2008 rallies when her supporters who cried out "kill him" or called Obama a terrorist. But she did not, nor did McCain.]

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Why every time that a shooting happens we cry out for stricter gun control law? While what happened in Arizona is a tragedy, the presence of firearms deter some 2 million violent crimes every day. (According to Dr. Gary Kleck, a criminologist from the University of Florida) or if you’d rather listen to the Department of Justice they used a slightly smaller sampling size than Dr. Kleck and claimed the instance was about 1.5 million. Furthermore, the vast vast majority of gun crimes in America are committed by those who own the firearms illegally (Between 80-95% depending on the study) The UK, after essentially disarming its citizens has seen a drastic increase in gun related crimes. Criminals, by the very fact they’re criminals don’t listen to laws.

While our founders certainly didn’t foresee their single shot black powder rifles turning into multi round assault weapons, everything is relative.
Muslims are sometimes blamed for 9-11 because the Terrorists, as Muslims, believe that they are leading a crusade against an Islamic enemy- America. While I do not believe that all Muslims are the enemy, I believe most are not very different than us, but I think it makes a bit more sense that some tend to fear Muslims because of 9-11 than fearing men, caucasians, Arizonians, twenty-something year olds, because of this shooting.

And, on the note about Palin, I think most people would agree that ignoring such offensive and hateful comments was the more appropriate path. Giving light to these comments only gives them more attention than they deserve. I don't mind anybody disagreeing with Palin, but at least substantiate it with an argument better than "she didn't yell at the bad people in her crowd." It sounds petty.
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