Giffords shooting: Figures it was Arizona
01/09/2011 - 08:35
James Besser

My first reaction on hearing of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) in a Tuscon Safeway parking lot: it figures it was Arizona.

In a country where political rage and incitement pose as entertainment and the gun lobby successfully boosts a radical, mostly insane view that the rights of gun owners trump all other rights, Arizona is a place where this sickness rages with particular virulence.

In a number of visits to the Phoenix area in the past few years I've been struck by the anger you hear in the grocery stores, in the retirement communities, at the local diner. We don't know the motives behind the shooting, but we know Giffords, who is Jewish, was a particular target of this kind of rage, in part because of her strong opposition to Arizona's controversial law on illegal immigrants, in part because ...well, that's just the way we talk to each other about controversial issues.

Arizona, it seems to me, is a place that epitomizes the way rage has become our political medium of exchange. The New York Times reported that the local sheriff “blamed the toxic political environment in Arizona.” Giffords, according to the Times, was the recipient of numerous threats; her reelection campaign last year, which she won by a narrow margin, generated some of the ugliest rhetoric in a particularly ugly political year.

According to ABC News, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately Arizona I think is the capital. We are the Mecca for prejudice for prejudice and bigotry.”

And Arizona is a national leader in enshrining gun ownership.

But it would be a mistake to say Arizona is unique; maybe it's just the leading edge of what we are becoming.  Just scan the AM radio dial for a dose of political incitement that depicts every debate as a war to the death between the beleaguered forces of good versus absolute, diabolical evil - meaning everybody you don't agree with.

And guns...what can you say about a lobby that demands that every kind of weapon be available to the craziest among us and that the answer to gun violence is always more guns? What can you say about a Congress that cowers before a gun lobby that knows no restraint?

For that matter, what can you say about an electorate that buys into the claim that gun ownership is our most sacred right and which treats the most modest, moderate gun control legislation as the inevitable first step on the road to confiscation and totalitarianism?

A sad day, in many ways.

Comments

Besser, low blow using a terrible tragedy to promote and confirm your own left-liberal agenda. This really appeared to have nothing to do with the political situation in Arizona and everything to do with a highly disturbed individual, as has happened much too frequently throughout the country. Try being a professional journalist for a change and not jumping to tendentious conclusions without sufficient evidence.
"Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately Arizona I think is the capital. We are the Mecca for prejudice for prejudice and bigotry.”" Is it prejudice or bigotry to not want "illegal aliens" (i.e., criminals by definition) in our country? Is it prejudice or bigotry to want the Federal government to uphold the immigration laws of this country and not refuse to do so? His comments are absurd. This happens all the time from the Left when you disagree with them....you are a racist or a bigot or whatever other insult they can hurl to deflect from the real issue. Talk about hate speech and vitriol? This comment from the Sheriff seems to fit right into that category....vilifying those who disagree with you.....seems to fit perfectly here.
‎"For that matter, what can you say about an electorate that buys into the claim that gun ownership is our most sacred right and which treats the most modest, moderate gun control legislation as the inevitable first step on the road to confiscation and totalitarianism?" What can you say???? How about this? "They are people who believe in the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. How about that? Every time a lunatic shoots someone, the crazies come out and blame all the guns in America. What if he had used his car to plow into the crowd killing people? Would you suggest banning cars? Silly.....and an attempt to obfuscate the real issue that this guy was simply nuts. Did we ban the Beatles when the song "Helter Skelter" motivated Charlie Manson and his clan to commit murder? Of course not. What motivates crazy people is not the problem.
And what can you say about a Jewish-American community that overwhelmingly supports a gun control system based on the Gun Control Act of 1968 which has many sections copied word for word from a 1936 law adopted by the National Socialist Party of Germany. Look it up for yourself at www.jpfo.org At least the Israeli's get it. Never Again!

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