Tragedy in Arizona

January 8, 2011

Another shooting.  More people dead and maimed and emotionally traumatized.  And for what?  Yes, the Constitution says we should all be allowed to own guns.  It also says, in its original form, that slavery is legal and that those held as chattel under the plantation system should only be counted as three-fifths of a person.  The Founding Fathers didn’t always get it right.

And for the record, Arizona has just about the most permissive gun laws in the country.  So much for the idea that if everyone is allowed to carry a concealed weapon, if a potential shooter thinks that the people around him might be packing heat, he’ll be less likely to resort to violence.  That’s another fallacy brought to us by the NRA.

Six people are dead, including a Federal judge and a nine year-old girl.  Another dozen are wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  How many more acts of random gun violence will it take to convince people that saturating our society with firearms doesn’t make us safer?

I’m not one for the little mood emoticons, but today I’m sad.  And I’m angry.


December 11, 2007

Ever go to  Great site.  It’s kind of a compendium of the daily posts from various left-leaning blogs (along with clips from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, when they’re airing new segments).  Yesterday, there was a post from Jamie Holly lamenting the spate of deadly shootings we’ve seen in the States over the past week or so — the Omaha mall shooting, the Colorado church shootings.  It’s worth a read (as is today’s lead post, in which Tony Perkins, the leader of the far-right Family Research Council, is taken to task for blaming secularists for the church shootings).

Jamie raises the point that those on the right who seem all too willing to sacrifice our personal freedoms in the name of “Homeland Security” — the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the detention of suspects without trial, the illegal wiretapping of law-abiding American citizens, the use of torture against detainees — refuse to give an inch when the discussion turns to limitations on our Second Amendment right to bear arms.  Why is it that the Second Amendment is more important than the First (freedom of expression), or the Fourth (freedom from “unreasonable search and seizure”), or the Sixth (right to “a speedy and public trial”), or the Eighth (no “cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”)?  Why is it considered patriotic to allow the Federal Government to erode our personal liberties, but a crime against the intent of the Founders to enforce a ten day waiting period for the purchase of an automatic weapon?

Every year in this country, thirty thousand people die from wounds inflicted by firearms.  Every year!  That’s nine times the number of people who died on 9/11.  I offer that not to downplay the significance of the attacks on New York and Washington, but rather to point out the terrible cost of gun violence.  Even if we were to take out suicides and gun accidents, that would leave eleven thousand murders and cases of manslaughter involving guns.  Isn’t that too many?  Shouldn’t that be considered a matter of national security?  Weren’t last week’s shootings acts of terrorism?

Where are our national priorities?

Today’s music:  Sphere (Sphere)