I was traveling on Saturday when the events surrounding the Tucson, AZ shootings took place. Since I was traveling by car and rarely turn to a news station while driving, I checked Twitter once I reached my destination and started catching up. Once back in the car, I tuned to a news station and then checked television and web coverage of the developing story after arriving home. These are my thoughts of the last 24 hours.

  • I do not place any direct blame on any of the rhetoric, images, terminology or analogies that have come from any of the politically-focused talking heads. These types of metaphors have been used for years and I’m certain that their public discourse in using these types of verbiage were never intended to translate to anything violent.
  • The shooter, who has shown to have some instability, is the only one to blame. Period.
  • While I am a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and not against anyone owning and possessing a firearm, I do not feel the original drafters of this amendment foresaw automatic and semi-automatic weapons as “the right to bear arms”
  • Reasonable and moderate politicians like Rep. Gabrielle Giffords are the ones we need more of in office and seeing violent threats and acts committed against them does nothing to help further a sane and professional form of governing.
  • I am glad that said shooter is still alive, instead of dead, ensuring he will be brought to justice. While it appears he was expecting his life to be taken, it was to the credit of a few brave bystanders that he was taken down before he had the chance to fulfill his “mission”
  • It’s sad that a tragic event like this is sometimes what it takes to bring everyone together. Life is important to all, even to those that disagree. I hope we never lose this, but it would be better to reduce and eliminate these types of outbursts when it comes to uniting us as a collective nation.

All that being said, I do feel that the political rhetoric has divided this country more than it’s united us. We have become a people of “Us vs. Them” and one side feels like it needs to win in order to show the public that they have their best interests in mind. There are no winners, only losers. If any elected official is more concerned about winning re-election than serving the needs of those that re-elected them, then they need to get out of politics. When I see the sea of people at these rallys, are those people really expressing how they feel or simply just following the frenzied words of the speaker? I seriously doubt that someone who is unemployed is asking for a repeal of a national health care system that has the potential to provide them with health care while they are out of work. No reasonable person thinking logically would want that. Yes, going back to work should be their top priority, but until that happens and if something medically happens to them, it would be one less worry to know they can get the medical attention they need without having to be denied or rack up thousands in bills they can’t afford to pay. With concern for the aforementioned shooter and his reported state of mind, any of this division could have adverse affects. And given the reported history of his thoughts, words and actions, it’s hard not to connect him somehow to the divided rhetoric going on today.

Those reasonable and sound-minded gun owners are the ones I respect. They understand that the gun they own and carry should be used responsibly. Any firearm that has the capability of unloading a large number of rounds with a single trigger pull shouldn’t be part of a responsible gun owners arsenal. The single purpose for an automatic or semi-automatic firearm is to do a lot of damage in as little time as possible. I will never change my stance on this. There is no reasonable argument for any gun owner to make that would ever justify them to be packing this type of heat. SWAT teams, police force and other professionals are obviously exempted from this as they would be used professionally to reduce further carnage by a crazed person that is packing these over-powered weapons. Gun control to me isn’t inducing fears about the government taking your guns away. It’s reducing fears for the innocent that are affected by irresponsible people using these type of automatic firearms.

If we do not find a way to reduce the use of fear, fevered rhetoric, threats and violence to control the public discourse, we will lose our democracy and those elected officials that want to bring us together, working towards a better way of life for this country. While I am no fan of these fear-inciting political types, I wouldn’t mind hearing less of their dividing messages after this horrific tragedy. I want people to think for themselves instead of embracing each and every word that spews from these money-driven media mavens. And I include all sides of the political dividing spectrum: left right and in-between.

While we will never see an end to the crazed freaks of society that want their 15 minutes of criminal fame, I do feel that if we were more collective in our pursuit of a United States of America, we will see a reduction of them and their kind. And while some may not have been directly motivated by the voices of political sways, removing and reducing division can’t hurt to keep them out of the top stories in the media.


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