I thought you’d want to know that blogger Ashleigh Borroughs over at The Burrow was hit by three bullets as she reached for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ hand, just as the shooter let loose his barrage. Ashleigh may undergo several surgeries but should survive. Read all about it in a note from her daughter at http://ashleighburroughs.blogspot.com/.
We can talk for days on end about the need to calm down the rhetoric, but you can expect that the same people who bring you more guns than people in the US, will say guns are not the problem, the shooters are. Same old, same old.
So far, I’ve heard no one addressing the way we sweep mental illness under the rug. Apparently, this guy scared people in many settings long before he shot up the grocery store last week, so why was he still floating around in crowds? Why was he allowed to buy a gun? Where is his family, his caseworker, his parole officer or whoever was supposed to be keeping tabs on this unhinged individual? Where's the outrage that this person did not get the help he needed to live in a free society? Why do we insist on stamping a political affiliation on a deranged individual?
As for those who deny the power of words, think about heated arguments you’ve had or fights you’ve observed in public, in which someone threatened to hurt or even kill someone else. Suppose the person making the threat also had a weapon in plain sight. What do you think a bystander might reasonably expect to happen?
If lethal violence can erupt in a flash between strangers in public after an insult, a slur or a threat, how could anyone deny the power of the words at play? Add a little alcohol, drugs or mental illness to the smoldering fire, and the heat is more likely to flash. Add a gun, a knife, a metal pipe and what do you guess might happen? Duh! That’s why there are bouncers in bars.
If we insist on living in an environment rife with slurs, insults and threats, while allowing the gun lobby convince us that our liberty is at stake unless we own weapons similar to those armies use, what do you think will happen?
We condemn the Muslim world for teaching children to hate Westerners, acknowledging how difficult it is to reprogram those repeatedly brainwashed with lies and half-truths through biased media and schools. But, but we allow hate and half-truths to flourish in our own country, in the name of entertainment, news, even free speech. In fact, we reward those who spew the garbage with outrageous salaries and power. What do we think will happen?
That’s all I have to say, but I’d like to direct you to some sites that say it better.
This event was bad enough for Citizen K to come back from his new blog and weigh in. He always has great insights. Read his take on this tragedy at http://killiansaid.blogspot.com/2011/01/words-have-consequences.html
George Phenix is someone who’s been in the line of fire of political violence himself (see The Day JFK Was Shot for George’s memory of watching Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald, up close and personal). See http://www.blogofages.net/2011/01/yes-vitriol-fuels-violence.html