It is a sad trend that after every shooting in this country, there is a group of people who, without fail, rush to use it to make some political point. There’s always the perfunctory debate about gun control, with advocates stating that somehow gun sellers should predict when someone will use the weapon for evil. And when the target is political in any way, one side always uses it to make the case that the other side is “encouraging hate” and thus somehow to blame for the shooter’s actions.
We saw this clearly in the Gabby Giffords shooting, when those on the left tried to tie Jared Loughner’s actions to Tea Party rhetoric and even absurdly to Sarah Palin by posting pictures of a “target map” she had created, clearly referring to taking POLITICAL action against certain incumbents, not violence. Yet this did not stop liberals like Paul Krugman from plainly implying that she and other conservatives were partly to blame for their so-called “incendiary rhetoric”. This is not to say that the language of Palin and Bachmann is not often excessive and overheated, but it is plainly not encouraging violence.
Fast forward to this week, when a gunman decided to take out his disagreement with the Family Research Council by opening fire, wounding a security guard before being wrestled to the ground. Now, it should be known that I vehemently disagree with basically everything the FRC stands for. But never in a million years would I or any other sane person think this warranted violence. It’s clear that the main issue here was a severely imbalanced person who decided that the way to express his feelings was firing a gun at innocent people.
Ever since the tragic shooting in Tucson, anti-gun forces have been wringing their hands. They see it as a golden opportunity to continue to demonize a mere object, a tool that protects far more lives than it harms, and score political points with their base. Many are proposing a new assault weapon ban, under the deluded idea that it would somehow have prevented the Tucson tragedy.
First, it has about as much likelihood of passing as Whoopie Goldberg has of winning Miss America, but let’s take a look at the reality of what a new assault weapon ban would actually have.
Obviously, we have to guess at what it would look like based on the previous assault weapon ban. Any new law could have significant differences that we won’t know until a bill is formally introduced and makes it through committee. However, much of the talk has indicated the bill will be without significant differences save for the lack of a sunset provision.
The focus for the new AWB will be magazine capacity. Previously, any magazine over ten rounds was deemed illegal to manufacture for civilian use. All so-called high capacity magazines were marked “For Law Enforcement Use Only”. It was illegal to have one of these magazines. However, magazines produced prior to the AWB were still legal.
Even under the old AWB, this wouldn’t have prevented anyone who wanted a 30+ round magazine from getting it, the law simply made them more expensive. Gun stores often hand some on hand, and internet websites still offered them for sale to those willing to use the web for their purchase. It wasn’t difficult to find them.
A little over a week after being shot in the head by a deranged person, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is continuing to put up a miraculous fight to recover:
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords smiles at her husband and has even given him a back rub, her doctors said today.
The tracheotomy tube in the throat of the badly wounded Arizona congresswoman prevents her from speaking to her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, but the doctors said the smiles were important indicators.
“It implies she is recognizing him, and that she’s interacting perhaps with a more familiar way with him,” Dr. Michael Lemole, the neurosurgeon treating Giffords at University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., said at a news conference today.
The doctors reported that they performed surgery on Giffords’ eye socket to remove bone fragments Saturday. Within a few hours of surgery, Lemole said, the congresswoman was “waking up and through the weekend came back to the same baseline as before” the procedure.
“At this time, we’re hoping to continue tying up loose ends” to get ready for the third stage of Giffords’ recovery, rehabilitation, Lemole said.
Giffords’ condition was upgraded Sunday from critical to serious, a day after doctors replaced her breathing tube with a tracheotomy tube to allow her to breathe better and free her from the ventilator.
We haven’t covered anything on the shooting until we heard more about Giffords. Frankly, I’ve been incredibly disappointed - though not surprised - with the fingerpointing from both sides of the aisle in the aftermath of the shooting; even one of the victims has sadly resorted to absurd rhetoric and threats.
As more become clear about Jared Loughner, the facts seem to mean less and less for those seeking to turn this tragedy into a political witch hunt. It appears that Loughner, had an obsession with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) dating back to 2007 - before Sarah Palin or the tea party movement came on the national scene, and the warning signs that Loughner was an unstable person had been ignored; even by police.
And while the debate on Loughner’s political leanings is still raging, Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post notes that he is a registered independent:
Loughner registered to vote on Sept. 29, 2006, identifying himself as an independent. Records show he voted in the 2006 and 2008 elections but is current listed as “inactive” on the state’s voter roles — meaning that he did not vote in November.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, liberals sought to paint Loughner as an anti-government, tea party conservative. Conservatives retorted that Loughner lacked anything close to a coherent political philosophy — a case strengthened by subsequent glimpses into his personal life that suggests someone struggling with mental illness.
Loughner’s decision to affiliate as an independent rather than a Republican or Democrat would seem to affirm the sense that while he targeted Giffords in the attack, it was not a decision born of a set of deeply held political beliefs that fit neatly into either party.
In light of the tragedy that took place in Tucson on Saturday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has postponed votes on legislation for the week, including an planned vote to repeal the health care reform legislation passed last March:
“In consultation with the Speaker and the Democratic Leadership, I have postponed all previously-scheduled legislation for the coming week to accommodate any action needed in light of yesterday’s tragic events in Arizona.
“The House will meet on Tuesday in pro forma session and there will be no votes or legislative business expected for that day.
“On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for legislative business and we will consider at least one resolution honoring Representative Giffords and honoring those who have fallen, including Federal Judge John Roll and Gabe Zimmerman, a member of Congresswoman Giffords’ congressional staff.
“At the request of bipartisan Members from the Arizona delegation and the Democratic Leadership, it is my intention to not have a recorded vote for the resolution. As Members know, however, we cannot assure that a recorded vote will not be requested. We will continue to be in close contact with the Democratic Leadership regarding those matters, along with the substance of the resolution, and will relay them as they become available.
“For now, it is my recommendation that all Members of the House who can, return to Washington to honor those who have fallen and to receive any necessary security briefings from the U.S. Capitol Police. I will defer on the latter issue to the Speaker and the Sergeant At Arms.”
Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.