The tragedy in Tucson
The tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona this past Saturday served once again to remind us that the greatest threats to our nationâ€™s stability are not from our real or imagined enemies in far off places, but rather from within our own borders.
Yes, the young man who pulled the trigger and unloaded a hailstorm of bullets into innocent victims, including a nine year old girl, appears to have mental health issues.
But it also is beyond dispute that he had adopted the political mind set of those who advocate what amounts to anarchy and who use rhetoric filled with metaphors of guns and physical violence to vilify their opponents. If a student at Winthrop High were to place on his or her Facebook page symbols of firearms cross-hairs with references to teachers or other students, similar to what Sarah Palin did on her web site with direct reference to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, that student would be arrested and incarcerated with no questions asked.
But for Sarah Palin and her cohorts on talk radio and TV, it is called free speech. It simply is absurd for anyone to suggest that the assassination attempt upon a liberal, Democratic Congresswoman was just a coincidental happenstance springing from the deranged mind of some 22 year old junior college dropout.
It is also is absurd for the usual groups to continue to defend the gun culture in our society. The assassin was able to buy a weapon that fired off tens of rounds bullets (91 by one account) into an unsuspecting crowd in a matter of seconds. Even if one accepts the baseless, recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that the Founding Fathers intended for the Second Amendment to provide a right to every citizen to bear arms, it cannot be said that the Founding Fathers meant it to apply to such lethal weaponry as we have today without some sort of government regulation (keeping in mind that a single shot musket was state of the art in the 1780s).
After all, the Founding Fathers were not idiots. But it seems that we have lost all sense of common sense when it comes to gun control because of the power of the National Rifle Association, which fills the campaign coffers of its favored candidates thanks primarily to funding from the gun industry.
The bombing of the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City was carried out by a similar sort of individual, Timothy McVeigh, who likewise had become a part of the hysterical anti-government culture which arose in the aftermath of the election of Bill Clinton.
Yet as bad as the rhetoric and negativity was at that time by the right wing groups, it pales in comparison to what we see today from the Tea Party and other similar groups who are even more anarchic in their words and deeds.
In our lifetime, we never have seen things as bad as they are today in America, with little hope for our future that things will get better. Fox News makes too much money and Wall Street moguls who fund all of those special interest groups have too much at stake to care about whether nine year old girls die on our streets while attending a public meeting with her Congresswoman.
We all continue to express outrage and anger and seek revenge for the 3000 Americans killed on 9/11 by Muslim fanatics, but in those 10 years since then, more than 150,000 Americans have been murdered by their fellow citizens. And yet, the radio talk show hosts and politicians routinely use violent invective regarding their political opponents du jour and guns continue to flood every corner of the nation.
Never has there been more truth to the axiom that the inmates are running the asylum than is the present condition of the United States in 2011.