Sunday, January 9, 2011

Arizona Tragedy, Time to Rethink


As the authorities attempted to piece together what prompted a troubled young man to go on a shooting rampage here that killed six people, including a federal judge, and gravely wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords, they called for the public’s help in finding a possible accomplice who was still at large.

Ms. Giffords, 40, an Arizona Democrat, was among at least 12 people wounded in the shooting outside a supermarket where she was meeting with constituents on Saturday morning. She remained unconscious and in critical condition Sunday morning at the University Medical Center in Tucson, where she had been operated on by a team of neurosurgeons.

Among those killed were John M. Roll, 63, the chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, and Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, who was the director of community outreach for Ms. Giffords. The others who died were identified as Christina Green, 9; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79.

Darci Slaten, a spokeswoman for the medical center, said the congresswoman’s husband, the astronaut Mark E. Kelly, was with her, as were her parents and two stepchildren. Four other victims of the shooting were in critical condition at the hospital and five others were listed as serious on Sunday.

Two witnesses at the scene tackled the gunman, who was arrested and identified as Jared Lee Loughner, 22. And law enforcement officials on Sunday morning released a photograph of a second man being sought as a possible accomplice.

Here's a lesson to be learned, if you spent most of the day defending your screeds or redirecting criticism you're part of the problem. Taking down website content or memes, confusing basic metaphors, calling someone left-wing or an atheist as if one attribute clearly makes the shooter a liberal, telling people over and over "both sides do it"; you're part of the problem. And if you're a party that says "we won't change" you're part of the problem. This act was done by a clearly disturbed individual, perhaps two.

A nine year old girl died yesterday. Nine year's old, if that doesn't jar you into rethinking part or all of your violent rhetoric, regardless of political affiliation then you're lost. Simple "RIPs", "thoughts and prayers" won't cut it. Something has to change, some accountability has to occur and an apology is where to start. Perhaps, a retraction of a long history of ramping up a foaming base for short term political advantage?

Our nation has to admit we foster such horrific acts, that we are all a party to this. When guns go unchecked, when mental health facilities aren't funded, we have to look back and wonder, what could we have done differently?

I've long spent post after post on this blog attempting to hold accountable those who rally their base over heated and violent rhetoric. It will continue with and without snark. We have to restore a piece of our integrity, it seems some are not ready to do that.

The glimmer of hope, Daniel Hernandez.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

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