There are times when even the capture of the culprit fails to quench people’s
thirst for justice. This usually happens in the wake of horrific, mind-bending
crimes like the shooting in Arizona last weekend that killed six people and
injured scores of others. The gunman’s intended target, a congresswoman, has
barely escaped with her life, for now.
But in the heated aftermath — sparked by comments by the Tucson sheriff, who
was a close friend of two of the victims — there seems to be a wider indictment
being brought by some in the media. He suggested that a general political
climate of intolerance caused these events.
Whatever else you say about Sarah Palin, she’s got the worst sense of timing in
Just when the nation is yearning for healing, the same morning members of
Congress prepare to gather in prayer, just hours before the president goes to
Tucson to deliver a message on the need for us all to pull together — Palin
decides to pour more gasoline on the flames of hatred and division she has
It would have been so easy, and appropriate, for Palin to say what so many
other public figures have said. Something like: In light of Saturday’s
tragic shooting, it’s important that we all do a little soul-searching about
the political rhetoric. I certainly never meant anybody any harm when I put up
that map with “bull’s-eyes” on it (her word), but today, looking back, I
realize it was probably inappropriate. And I wouldn’t do it again.
Reporting on Jared Loughner’s music choice, The
Washington Post’s J. Freedom du Lac says a lone video is listed as a “favorite”
of the shooter, Drowning Pool’s “Bodies.” “ ‘Let the bodies hit the floor, let the
bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor,’ the singer barks in a refrain
that carries an eerie echo in the context of the shooting rampage Saturday in Tucson,”
he writes. David Horowitz, executive director of the First Amendment group Media
Coalition, told the reporter, "it seems like a real stretch" to suggest
that "Bodies" had anything to do with the shooting.
I am heartbroken by the tragedy in Arizona and wish the best for everyone
affected by the shootings, those grieving and those recovering from the horror
In my column Thursday I will touch on the broader issues this has raised, but I
will briefly take note here of how this event is already affecting
the 2012 presidential race. Let's start by agreeing that former Alaska Gov. Sarah
Palin (R) is not remotely responsible for the actions of mentally unstable
people and should not be the central focus of the discussion over how to arrive
at a more measured and reasoned debate. Do comments like "don't retreat,
instead RELOAD" coarsen the political discourse? Absolutely. Is she
the only person who talks that way? No way.
Like everyone in America, my three granddaughters in Atlanta were troubled by the
recent murders and mayhem created in Arizona by a crackpot using a Glock. So much
so, they wrote to their president seeking his leadership in this troubling violent
world they find fearsome. “I don’t think there should be guns. People would have
to figure out there [sic] problems without hurting each other,” Anabel wrote.
These aware children have genuine cares and fair questions. “I hope these violent
things stop. What can we do about this?” Cait earnestly asked her country’s leader.
Joanna inquired of her president, “If you have any good ideas, please write me back.”
She noted, “It’s not OK to shoot people,” along with reporting that she is sorry
about what happened to Gabrielle Giffords.
There is abundant evidence that our cities are safer with
guns. One of the most remarkable examples of this simple maxim is Washington,
Thirty-two years ago, lawmakers banned gun ownership in D.C.
Over the next three decades, the murder rate in the nation’s capital
skyrocketed 134 percent. Yet in the two years since a federal appeals court
overturned the D.C. ban of handguns, the incidence of gun violence has dropped