Thursday, January 20, 2011

A wacko with a legal gun in Arizona and 31 bullets before he had to pause to reload

I haven't said anything here on the blog yet about the act of domestic terrorism that occurred 2 Saturdays ago in Tuscon, AZ. I am very troubled by it and very angry and have been waiting a little until some of the sharpness of my emotional reaction is filed down a bit by time. In case you are living under a rock and don't know the story, a 22 year old American went to the "Congress in your Corner" event for Gabrielle Giffords in front of a Safeway in Tuscon. With a semi-automatic Glock that had an ammunition clip containing 31 bullets, he shot 19 people, killing 6 including a 30 year old congressional aid, a 63 year old federal judge, and a 9 year old girl who was born on September 11, 2001.

The murderer and would-be assassin shot Congresswoman Giffords in the forehead from 1-3 feet away, and the bullet went straight through the left side of her brain. The motive seems to be paranoia, anti-government sentiment, and mental illness. The conservative-wing of the Republican party seems to have been has been turned upside-down and their righteous indignation has been scattered all over the carpet like a pocketful of coins- due to the ensuing discussion of relevant information that unfolded during the reporting of the story.

This particular area of the country is one of the districts that Sarah Palin marked a with cross-hairs on a map to say that the incumbent congresswomen needed to be "taken out" during the most recent election cycle in November 2010. Several days after the shooting, Palin herself release a video commentary drenched in politics, the first half of which said, (I'm about to paraphrase while using quotes:) "I care a lot about the victims too... God will hopefully help them... but I'm here to talk about me: Healthy critique and criticism in a democracy- like I inspired when I put the up the map with cross-hairs on my website; and promptly took down a few hours after the shooting- is not only good, it is paramount to preserving liberty. This happened only because of an evil man. Anyone who even talks about violent rhetoric as it relates to me or this tragedy is an asshole who hates America!!!" Then in the 2nd half of the video she pretty clearly says, (again, I paraphrase:) "Besides, this guy was a commie, pinko, nut job and if anyone is to blame, it is liberals. They are very evil themselves for attempting to take part in healthy critique and criticism (of me)! That is not what America is about!!! God bless, God, God, Blah, blah, God, God, America..."

I swear this is a fairly accurate recap... you can see the video yourself here if you are into it. (I watched it twice, but I admit that was only because I fell asleep a little the first time.)

Since the day of the shooting- while the congresswomen fights for her life, has endured at least 4 surgeries, and starts to learn how to stand, walk, speak, and understand what a mobile phone is for again- The NRA has gone out straight up with the battle cry of guns don't kill people, deranged people kill people and there should be NO RESTRICTIONS whatsoever on GUNS. The republicans (for the most part, though it seems like Dick Cheney might be a notable exception) have been unwilling even to discuss the re-enactment of a Clinton era bill that outlawed magazine clips that contain more than 10 bullets for semi-automatic weapons.

The story from AZ that day is that the gun man was stopped when he ran out of bullets. When the magazine was empty and he tried to change the ammunition clip, he was overpowered by 2-3 men and a women who were present and are now hailed as heroes. There was also at least one witness present who was armed, but never drew his weapon because as a responsible gun owner he was afraid that he would either have killed the wrong person or be mistaken as a second shooter and be killed himself.

All of Fox news and most of the GOP cried holy hell when the Sheriff in that district stated in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy (and has refused to apologize, recant, or back away from his assertion) that the violent rhetoric that exists in the area is so significant that if it did not contribute to the cause of an incident like this, at a minimum, it made this event something that should not have been a surprise.

I'm compelled to write today, because this clip from the Lawrence O'Donnell show made me just SHUT my mouth. I shut my mouth because finally someone said something so close to what I want to say that, well, there is nothing really more to say... Watch:

Don't... be silly.

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