Saturday, January 8, 2011

Terrorism Rocks Tucson

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The news out of Tucson, Arizona, today is sickening and outrageous.  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at point-blank range by a right-wing lunatic with a semi-automatic pistol.  Gabby Giffords survives at this time, but six others are dead including Federal Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman who was an aid to the congresswoman, and a nine-year-old girl who had just been elected to her school's student council and came to the event with neighbors to get a feel for democracy in action.

Rep. Giffords was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event for constituents at a Safeway in Tucson when the attacker walked up to her, shot her in the head, and then began firing indiscriminately.  In addition to the six people killed outright, thirteen others were wounded, some severely.

Ironically, the congresswoman was speaking at a meet-and-greet at another Safeway, this one in Douglas, Arizona, in August of 2009,  when an attendee accidentally let a pistol slip from beneath his jacket and bounce to the floor.  The gun was discovered as the crowd was leaving.

Today's terrorist was a 22-year-old male part-time college student from Tucson named Jared Lee Loughner. He purchased the murder weapon, a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol with an "extended" magazine, legally at a gun store in Tucson two months ago, even though many in the community knew that he was unstable.  (One report from a long-time acquaintance of Loughner's stated that he was recently barred from his college pre-algebra class over disruptive statements and screeds.)  There has been a lot of press attention focused today on the long, rambling diatribes that Loughner had posted on the internet.  He seemed to be especially bothered with immigration and the inability of immigrants to speak proper English.

Arizona is an "open-carry" state that has no meaningful restrictions over the sale or transportation of firearms. The state is a major arms supplier to the Mexican drug cartels.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the local investigating officer in this tragedy, has placed the blame squarely on the hate rhetoric that is so rampant in Arizona - and on the simple minds who are so easily swayed by the fear-mongering.

Sarah Palin had a posting up on her Facebook page identifying 20 House Democrats whom she targeted for removal from Congress because they voted for the Health Care Bill.   "Target" is the correct verb because each of their districts were identified on a map of the United States by the cross-hairs of a gun site.   Gabby Giffords was number four on her list.   This is the same Sarah Palin who uttered those famous words, "Don't Retreat!  Reload!"  Sarah had the surprising common decency (or smart fear of public reaction) to pull that posting down today.  It can still be seen at, and it is featured on today's Daily Kos.

Over the past several days mail bombs have been discovered by state office holders in Maryland, and another addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was intercepted at a Washington, DC, post office.  The Maryland parcels contained letters complaining about the state's anti-terrorism tip line.  Those bombs and today's shootings are acts of terrorism, make no mistake about that.  The barbarians are at the gates, and our country is in peril from these lunatics and their "Second Amendment Remedies."

President Obama is sending FBI Director Robert Mueller to Arizona to personally take charge of the federal investigation of the Tucson massacre.  That's a good first step, but he needs to do more.   The state of Arizona under the leadership of such loons as Governor Jan Brewer, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Senate President Russell Pearce, and a host of lesser clowns, has time and again placed itself above and beyond federal law, thumbing the state's nose at Washington to the continuing glee of every gun-toting baboon in the state.  This is no longer a state's rights issue - it is an issue of decency, and safety, and humanity.   Arizona is out of control!

President Chester A. Arthur threatened to send federal troops to Tombstone, Arizona, in the 1880's to establish law and order.  It may be past time for the current President to revisit that option.

Although I never personally met Gabby Giffords,  I have nothing but the highest respect for her.  I wrote about Ms. Giffords in this space on 24 October 2009:  I also made a minor donation to her most recent campaign, a real nail-biter that was so close the results weren't official for a couple of weeks after the election.

Be well, Gabrielle Giffords, and know that you are loved and respected by thousands of people whom you will never even meet.  May those who were wounded with you today receive the full benefits of quality medical care and know that America awaits with guarded optimism for their full recovery.  May the families of those who died in Tucson today find some comfort in knowing that the deaths of their loved ones may serve as the wake up call from this nightmare of madness that has consumed Arizona.

And as for you, Sarah, instead of focusing on "reloading," might I suggest that you spend some time "reflecting" on what happened in Tucson today and how you could use your fame and celebrity to bring down the level of national tension.  Don't Reload, Sarah!  Reflect!


bk in MO said...

This is a national tragedy, and should serve as a canary in a coal mine - there is something really sick about our country. I believe we are in the middle of a civil war in this country, one that threatens to tear apart families and alienate groups of people against each other, and will be out of control if something is not done. In my own family, we have extreme discord between the far right and the far left, and I admit my part in the schism. I have one brother who is not speaking to me right now because I dared to suggest to my stepfather that he consider the AARP health insurance plan instead of a medigap policy my brother preferred. AARP is a terrorist organization, he said, because they backed President Obama's health care initiative.

Marvel Goose said...

The search for a scapegoat will go on into pointlessness. Some people are so far off the mark that you can really say that they fell off their left or right wing a long time ago.

In the large majority of cases, the trigger is a nut-case. Simple.

After the first knee jerk of political finger pointing comes the second jerk -- our political rhetoric leads to violence. So why doesn't watching WWF Raw, South Park, or NFL football lead to nutcase violence?

Maybe its because a nutcase hasn't focused on WWF Raw. Yet.

Before I go cook dinner, I will leave one more thought:

Maybe its because nutcases are nutcases and the more we procreate the larger the number of people we have who fit into that special fraction of nutcase. If you want fewer nutcases, quit having so much sex.