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Giffords Among U.S. Gun Culture’s Latest Victims

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), the six people killed, and the many others injured Saturday morning near a Tucson Safeway are some of the latest victims of the United States’ intense love affair with guns.

I say “some” because we all know that many other lives have been destroyed by gunfire in America since a man with a Glock opened fire at Giffords’s “Congress on Your Corner” event.

Giffords, 40, was unconscious but alive this morning at Tucson’s University Medical Center, where doctors and nurses have been treating her for a shot to the head. A nine-year-old girl who was born the day of the 9/11 terror attacks is among the six fatalities.

“Pundits” and GOP talking heads have been doing their best to dismiss any blame directed at Sarah Palin and Jesse Kelly, Giffords’s Palin-endorsed opponent in last year’s election. The shooter was deranged, they correctly say. Palin and friends can’t be held in any way responsible for what a deranged many does, they add – and that’s where they’re wrong.

Republican/Tea Party scaremongering about government “oppression” pushes all the wrong buttons on people who are on the verge of violence. Palin isn’t the brightest bulb on the chandelier, but surely she can understand that.

As well, gun rhetoric and metaphors are cues to the deranged that gunfire is the remedy to what ails their beloved country. The acceptance and endorsement of firearm actions signal to the unbalanced and angry that pulling a trigger is at least as valid a means to political change as marking a ballot or holding a peaceful rally.

Allow me to point out as a Canadian that guns need not be so important to a country’s political culture. Indeed, some of the background to the Tucson massacre seems bizarre and barabaric from up here.

If a Canadian political leader issued a list of “targets” with a graphic depicting rifle scope crosshairs, she would be roundly condemned for doing so.

If a candidate for Parliament were to hold a gun-centered campaign event with the inducement of getting to fire “a fully automatic M16” – and an opponent’s name cluttered in near the word “target” and after the word “remove” in an event notice – the backlash would be quite damaging to the candidate and his party. In fact, I’m pretty sure such a candidate would be dumped by any mainstream party in Canada.

But not in the United States, where talk of “Second Amendment remedies” and the sight of a protester toting an assault rifle outside an Obama rally get criticized but don’t seem to be a really big deal. It’s quite sad.

In closing, here’s a brief TV news report of one of Giffords’s previous public meet-and-greets – the sort of event that may become a rarity after the Tucson massacre.

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Posted by on January 9, 2011. Filed under Commentary,NEWS/COMMENTARY. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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Gwendolyn H. Barry
10 years ago

I absolutely agree with your ethic and ideas here Mike. Would that we could chuck the NRA bullshit and leave guns in the hands of real hunters who qualify for permits and military – police forces that are trained and psychologically evaluated to hold onto a gun. I abhor war and the tools of war. The majority of people who misuse guns spout the vitriol and rhetoric that the likes of Palin and Republican right wingnuts do. Or they are hardened criminals who are easily disposed to commit murder. That’s just how it is, generally. (note the application of the term ‘generally’) Would that the karmic implications of such violence might take hold in the hearts of Americans. Handguns continue to be the highest ranking killing agents… and the laws passed by the “2 amendment rights” folks in AZ prove copable in this too. This state is a hotspot for political injustice.

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10 years ago

[…] treat Israel as it deserves Probe launched on ‘Travel Palestine’ ad omitting Israel Giffords Among U.S. Gun Culture’s Latest Victims Until now, I don’t believe anyone knew that the Mossad had actually made a prior failed attempt […]

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10 years ago

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tony Thomas, Michael Scott. Michael Scott said: RT @madmike1 Giffords Among U.S. Gun Culture's Latest Victims http://bit.ly/egAVFB […]

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10 years ago

[…] Sarah Palin Has NOT Deleted ‘Reload’ Tweet Or Facebook Note Jared Loughner’s Alleged YouTube Video Reveals Possible Clues Behind Giffords Shooting A sampling of the Arizona shooting suspect’s social-media postings Police ‘actively pursuing’ second person in Tucson shooting Man linked to Giffords shooting rampage called ‘very disturbed’ Arizona Tea Partier: We Need to Be Careful About What We Say Live Blog: Representative Giffords Shot Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik Explains Why He’s Against New Immigration Law The US Senate is a complete joke (and what to do about it) In Attack’s Wake, Political Repercussions The Patriot Act America’s Left far too blinded by inaction and fear CIA and Australia My day in the courtroom of Judge John Roll, who lived and died in Arizona’s climate of hate Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain The Cloudy Logic of ‘Political’ Shootings Dep’t of Homeland Security suggests anti-Semitism may be motive for assassination attempt in Arizona The Conservative Constitution of the United States Giffords Among U.S. Gun Culture’s Latest Victims […]

John Myste
10 years ago

Don’t we need guns in order to a well trained militia? I am sure a band of American hunters would do just fine against the Marines if push comes to shove. Otherwise, if we embrace the Doctrine of Original Intent, then the second amendment cannot achieve its purpose in this world. While I acknowledge that Original Intent applies to interpretation of the Constitution and not what we do with that interpretation, but still, the amendment is no longer really useful for its purpose.

Scalia, the great champion of Original Intent, of course, wants to keep his guns, regardless of this problem. Ask him why. He points to the Second Amendment.

lazersedge
lazersedge
Reply to  John Myste
10 years ago

JM, I think the concept of an armed militia has outlived the concept of its intent in 1789. The weapons of today that one can find in homes are of such magnitude that the authors of the Second Amendment would be doing back flips over, if they could. On the same point, we do have an trained militia in several forms; local law enforcement supposedly provides the last line of defense against an enemy attack; and, the National Guard which can be mobilize by each state or the military. That being said, the complaints about people owning guns is rarely about guns used in hunting. Glocks and AK 47’s are really poor hunting weapons but they are very good tools at killing people.
On your other point. No, a band of hunters would not be able to handle the Marines or probably any other well trained military unit. Killing people who train every day to kill other people in combat situations is much different than hunting animals that cannot shoot back.

Dusty
Reply to  lazersedge
10 years ago

True hunters abhor the NRA argument about freedom to own any and all types of guns. As you say, anyone that owns a semi-automatic handgun or rifle isn’t going deer hunting..he is looking to kill as many people in as short a time possible.

My only hope is that this killers easy access to weapons reopens the dialog about requiring extreme, thorough screening of all individuals wanting to purchase non-hunting weaponry.

Having spent some time living in the western part of the state of VA, I was freaked out at how many residents owned huge cache’s of guns. When I asked them why they owned so many weapons their stock answer was: It’s my right to protect myself. When I asked who they were protecting themselves from..it was either people of color or…the government.

John Myste
Reply to  lazersedge
10 years ago

I agree. Hunters guns are not the general targets. People point to the Second Amendment to justify all gun ownership. However, the reason stated in the second amendment is invalid by today’s standards. Their real opinion, which I am not addressing, is that it is a violation of a basic human right to take ones gun from them. They should just say that this is what they think, but instead they invoke the Second Amendment as argument as to why they “should” be able to have certain guns. There is legal question and there is the philosophical question of what our goals should actually be. They use the legal answer to prove their philosophical position. Even if you assume that both the legal answer and the philosophical answer are ultimate the “correct” answer, the use of these two answers is fallacious.

lazersedge
lazersedge
Reply to  John Myste
10 years ago

The problem JM is with organizations like the NRA who want protection for any and all guns. They believe that if we put restrict ownership or registration of particular types of weapons it puts us on a slippery slope to having the government government confiscate all guns. Though there has never been any sort of suggestion along these lines the conspiracy nuts can be led to believe anything. The focus of gun legislation in recent years has been on handguns and semi automatic combat style weapons which have virtually no use for anything but killing other people. In fact, early in the Obama administration people were carrying them to town hall meetings to show that they could. I agree that perhaps it is time to define what kind of weapons are permissible and what are not but the NRA would fight any thing of the sort with tooth and nail. It is ridiculous to believe that people believe they need such weapons for hunting or self protection, but idiots are idiots are idiots.

Dusty
Reply to  lazersedge
10 years ago

The problem JM is with organizations like the NRA who want protection for any and all guns Both JM and Lazersedge have hit the nail squarely on it’s head. The power the NRA has to manipulate the gun control argument really drives me crazy. For me,There is very little logic to an argument that says everyone has the right to own any type of weapon they want. The AZ killer legally purchased his glock, even though dozens of individuals and one college knew this guy was demented. Yet he passed the check with flying colors. I want to know how the NRA can spin that one.

SagaciousHillbilly
10 years ago

This just amps of the rhetoric of the class warfare. It’s not about conservatives and liberals or rep. and dems. It’s about keeping the working people focused on each other rather than who is holding their thumb on them.
I’m tired of people not getting.

Holte Ender
Reply to  SagaciousHillbilly
10 years ago

Well said.

lazersedge
lazersedge
10 years ago

Very well done Stimpson. Maybe, just maybe some of the idiots will wake up and understand that this the power of words does have severe consequences. The persistent injection of hate filled speeches filled with violent adjectives does have consequences. I wonder when law enforcement and the courts are going to stop considering it as political speech and seeing it for what it is, incitement to violence. This is the same tactics that was used by the KKK for years until the courts were used to take them down. They tried to say they didn’t not mean to be taken literally but they ultimately paid a price for it.

Stimpson
Reply to  lazersedge
10 years ago

I’ve just watched a special commentary by Olbermann. He’s correct when he says everyone must speak up on this issue. That includes Sarah Palin, who must atone for ramping up the hatred and violence.