The tragic shooting in Tucson that took the lives of six and injured 14 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was a sobering wake-up call for both U.S. lawmakers and citizens. While many have echoed President Obama’s calls for civility and honesty in public discourse, others — such as Sarah Palin — have reacted with a disgustingly business-as-usual attitude. Those who claim that the shooting was the work of a madman — an isolated incident unrelated to U.S. politics as a whole — fail to see the important lessons here. Not only should we begin to critically analyze the way we discuss politics in our nation, but, importantly, there are policy steps that we can take right now to prevent this type of tragedy from reoccurring.
[media-credit id=20135 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter, had been expelled from his college for disruptive behavior, which was documented as bizarre and, in their words, “creepy.” Loughner had been rejected from the army for failing a drug test and had been described by friends and classmates as withdrawn and strange. It was clear that Loughner was mentally unstable, though the degree to which this influenced the shooting is debatable. It begs the question of why someone with a record of disruptive and dangerous behavior, previous drug charges and rejection from the army was able to purchase a firearm. On a larger scale, it questions what aspect of our society allowed someone who exhibited signs of mental illness since high school to never receive any true psychiatric care.
Luckily, these two issues are ones that we can actually solve with policy. Gun control is a very unpopular political topic; it has always been extremely partisan and contentious. Therefore, we should use this opportunity to follow figures such as New York senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in advocating for reform of our gun control legislation. Right now, figures from both parties can advocate for rational gun control without worrying about the usual political backlash. Even if we are able to create legislation that helps restrict those who are mentally ill from purchasing weapons, it will be a step in the right direction. Sadly, this climate of cooperation won’t last for long and it is up to legislators to act quickly before regulation becomes impossible.
The second solvable issue here is ensuring the availability of proper care for the mentally ill. Realizing this, it is baffling that Republicans have continued their ideological push for healthcare repeal. Despite a brief hiatus, they remain committed to repealing the law in the face of cases such as Loughner, who prove the inadequacies of mental care in the U.S. This unshakable conviction shows how tragically little we have learned from the Tuscon shooting. If we can’t even make policy steps towards correcting the obvious causes of this tragedy, there is little hope for any larger ideological reform in U.S. politics.
We should start with the changes we are able to make and we can begin to remove the militant, violent exhortations and language that have continued to pollute discourse in our nation. We owe it to those who were lost to show we can change, show that we can create smart policy to correct our failings and hopefully inspire rationality both at home and in Washington.
Actually The disgusting business as usual attitude comes from the left and it’s hipocrasy. There is nothing debatable the man is a lunatic.
So the hate for Palin an Bush that you Liberals spew, will that not
want to make a lunatic go off.
“…it questions what aspect of our society allowed someone who exhibited signs of mental illness since high school to never receive any true psychiatric care.” Parents. Everyone is up in arms about who should have done what, which party is responsible. The guy was a nut job. It doesn’t matter what his reasons were, he had a screw loose. The responsibility lies with the parents. Not the teachers, not the guidance councilors, not state mental health care. The parents should have know their kid needed help and sought it out. There doesn’t need to be gun reform. There doesn’t need… Read more »
goverment always use cases like this to further restrict the second amendment. this man was a nut job. why take the rights away from millions of law abiding people because one person was a nut job. im tired of goverment and atf wanting to control normal good people who have guns and dont shoot people at grocery stores, schools, postoffices
Of course, we all know BEFOREHAND exactly who is going to go on a shooting rampage at a mall or post office.
It’s so obvious!
You’re right, it isn’t easy to pick out the ones who actually will kill. It is easy to pick out the ones who need help, and usually nut jobs who go on shooting sprees fall in that category.
When you accuse someone of hypocrisy, it usually doesn’t help your point if you threaten to kill all the accused.
I call BS, police your own before you tell the rest of us what to do. “it will be a step in the right direction. Sadly, this climate of cooperation won’t last for long” There was never a climate of cooperation, the first thing that happened after this tragedy became national news, was the LEFT blaming Conservatives for it. Why else talk about Sarah Palin, cause she had a list and a map? What politicion doesn’t? “it is baffling that Republicans have continued their ideological push for healthcare repeal”. I guess never let a crisis go to waste is still… Read more »
Let me ask you this: If you whisper to a person that is already imbalanced, “hey, they are taking away your rights, hey they are taking away your guns, hey they are turning your country into a communist state, hey they are turning the government into a totalitarian government.” and then on top of that you say “Omg, do you see what they are doing! those leftist liberals, that hideous monstrous scum! SOMEONE NEEDS TO STOP THEM!!!” If you say “I would love to poison their leader, burn them up” When that deranged person finally ends up killing someone because… Read more »
Also, with regards to gun controls that they are trying to place after the events in Arizona. Let me lay out some facts for you. During Bush’s last term in office, a bill was about to expire, that limited the number of bullets in a magazine to 10. Even though Bush was in favor of renewing the law, the bill failed thanks to the efforts of the NRA. Today, you can purchase a weapon if you are on the terrorist watch list, you can buy a magazine and semi-automatic weapons without much restriction and have little restraint on the buying… Read more »
“I dare you to find 3 examples that even match the rhetoric of conservative pundits or leaders.” The eight years’ worth of liberals calling for kill Bush. Or make a movie on such. Or hanging him in effigy or having him killed in posters. Or similar stuff about Palin and her children including her newborn when she was first announced as vp candidate. Don’t give us the rubbish there is no 3 examples that even match the rhetoric of the conservatives. There is a lot more than that and far worse. Oh yeah even as last election goes, liberal media… Read more »