Monday, January 17, 2011

Perspectives on the Tucson Shoorings

The shooting of a member of Congress is a direct attack upon our democracy.

The assassination of a judge is a direct attack upon the rule of law.

The killing of a nine year old child is a barbaric act which is a direct attack upon civilization.

The act of those seeking a political advantage from these horrific crimes, without even ascertaining the facts, is despicable.

Arizona is no more responsible for these shootings than Dallas for the assassination of President Kennedy.

Personal responsibility, even if clinically or legally insane, is the cause of these tragedies.

Sadly, the Tucson shootings would have happened sooner or later in a country where the phrase “Going Postal” has acquired an unfortunate meaning.

Random acts of violence by nutcases are all too common, starting with the University of Texas Library Tower in 1966, including Columbine, Virginia tech, Northern Illinois, and an Amish schoolhouse. Just a few weeks ago a high school student killed a teacher who had disciplined him.

The following establishments have witnessed murderous attacks: Congress, Fort Hood, McDonald’s, Denny’s, the El Al check in counter at LAX, Vegas casinos, churches, city halls, law firms, and an Albertson’s Supermarket. Sane people do not shoot up a North Hollywood, Jewish day care center, a Jewish community center in Seattle, or drive a large Cadillac into a Costa Mesa pre-school. The D.C. Sniper(s) paralyzed the Greater D.C. area in 2002.

Political assassinations are an unfortunate part of American history. President Kennedy, Senator Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mayor Michael Moscone have been killed in my lifetime. Presidents Truman, Ford and Reagan, Governor George Wallace, and Larry Flynt survived assassination attempts, and only the Secret Service knows how many threats it has thwarted against Presidents Bush and Obama.

Increased security for members of Congress is necessary, but do not expect it to prevent all future incidents. Currently the Speaker of the house has security, but the Speaker is third in line for the Presidency.

Security will not prevent all attacks. A police officer was on duty at Columbine when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold commenced their murderous rampage.

A student at Red lake High School in Minnesota in 2005 killed his grandparents one night. Grandfather was a tribal police officer. He then stole his grandfather’s guns, and then the next morning killed the security guard on duty at the high school metal detector, before killing others in the school.

A gunman shot to death a police officer outside the Kirkwood City Center, stole the officer’s revolver, and then killed others inside the City center in 2008.

Increased security can prevent some incidents, and reduce the casualty toll in others, but they will not prevent all future attacks. Members of Congress need to pound the flesh, to be visible. The Secret Service probably cringes every time the President works the rope line. Members of Congress normally fly commercial.

The people’s representatives must appear before the people. That is an inherent risk in our democracy.

Some crazed nut job, perhaps a copycat, will strike again.

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