The messages and diatribes keep on coming in connection with the Tucson shooting case.
One reader has taken me to task for failing to correct the capitalization, spelling, and grammar of writers’ messages. Sorry. Not possible in this format. I am trying to bring the diverse voices to a space where they can be read. There aren’t enough hours in the day to copy edit everyone’s email for the blog.
With that, we continue.
From Tom Townsend: The 1/11/11 column by John L. Smith was a decent attempt at reverse reality but ultimately, little more than a glorified "swing and a miss" as Mr Smith grasps at the false choice between two obvious non-motives for the Loughner killings. The killings were neither "random" and "apolitical" nor the result of "anti-immigrant hysteria and the Tea Party movement" as Mr Smith suggests. The facts are in and they are clear. Killer Loughner has no reported leanings toward the conservative, patriotic, christian right politically. Indeed, contrary to Mr Smith’s suggestions, he reportedly is and was a flag-burning, communist/atheist who, as such, would probably be more comfortable on the political left . If anything, Congresswoman Giffords was targeted because Loughner did not like the way she had answered his question and because she was a too moderate, "Blue Dog" Democrat, to him- a traitor to the liberal, progressive movement No?
From Jeanne Armstrong of Surprise, Ariz.: John, your article on the tragic shooting in Tucson was very sad. This little 9-year-old girl’s death was horrible. She came into the world on a horrific day on September 11, 2001 and left the world on an equally horrific day in her own hometown of Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011. As a resident of Arizona, I am appalled at what happened in our great state. For the sheriff of Tucson to blame political rhetoric is despicable. This nutcase of an individual had absolutely no political affiliation whatsoever. He fell through the cracks from the Community College all the way to the Sheriff’s Dept. who had been called to his home on numerous occasions. We pray for the victims of this crazed person and also for those who survived this unspeakable attack. It was a sad day indeed for Arizona.
From the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke today issued the following statements:
1) Contrary to media reports, the gun store that dealt with the Tucson gunman was not required to sell him guns and ammunition just because he passed a computer background check. According to ABC News this morning, the gun store owner who sold the gunman the Glock 19, said he debated whether he should sell him the gun, but felt he had no choice.
“While the Brady background check system is designed to stop “prohibited purchasers” listed in the background check databases from buying guns from federally licensed dealers, no gun store or dealer needs permission to deny someone they suspect of being unstable or irresponsible from purchasing a gun. There are no laws requiring gun dealers to sell guns to apparently dangerous people.
“Even the gun industry has recognized that dealers should not sell guns to suspicious customers. This entire situation is an example of how loosely we regulate lethal weapons in this country, and why we need to strengthen our laws to do what’s sensible to protect the public.”
2) There is no good reason for allowing the general public to purchase high-capacity magazines that were designed for military combat.
“The 30-round clip that the shooter used allowed him to kill more people in Tucson than were killed in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The Brady Campaign whole-heartedly supports the legislation that soon will be introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Sen. Frank Lautenberg to restrict the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
“The Tucson gunman was tackled when his 30-round magazine emptied and he attempted to insert a new one. If that had happened after 20 fewer bullets had been fired, more lives could have been saved.
“When politicians engage in vitriolic speech and gun-themed attack ads, that’s a concern. However, the gravest irresponsibility flows from political leaders’ failure to enact laws that would have made it harder for this gunman to carry out mass murder. The restriction on ammunition clips was a part of the expired assault weapons ban. Reinstating the restrictions on high-capacity clips is simply common sense.”
3) We need a national conversation about how to prevent gun violence.
“After every major American gun violence tragedy, elected leaders, the media, and the public seem surprised by how weak the laws on guns are and do hasty post-mortems about what might have been done to prevent the particular tragedy. Doesn’t it make sense for us to more deeply educate ourselves about gun laws and solutions before tragedy strikes?
While polls are now indicating that more Americans support stricter gun laws, when specific gun laws are proposed, support is higher, generally in the 75 – 85 percent range, with even gun owners supporting measures by strong margins.
“We have heard some suggest that Congress – primarily out of fear of the gun lobby – won’t pass, or even seriously consider, new gun laws. The question we encourage the media and the public to ask is not whether Congress will, but whether Congress should, make new laws to help protect the safety of the American people. Congress needs to do just that. President Obama should help lead the way.”