In America, the right to own a firearm is mostly undisputed. Many conservatives seem to think that right is under attack, regardless of the truth. President Obama’s only action on gun ownership rules has been to loosen them. What isn’t set in stone, however, is just how guns should be regulated.
Is it smart for a person to find it almost as easy to buy a gun as it is to grab a pizza? Or should we have reasonable rules and regulations? If a person wants a pistol for sport or protection, shouldn’t there be added requirements for a semi- automatic that can lay out 30 rounds before someone can stop the shooter? Shouldn’t more attention be paid to mental red flags?
And the question of the day – should inflammatory rhetoric threatening or hinting at violence be held culpable.
It may seem a tough nut to crack, but not really. Any overt threat of violence should be investigated by law enforcement. That’s easy enough to accomplish. Yes, that would directly impact the Tea Party movement, and should. The political environment has so been poisoned by the the rhetoric that whether or not a direct line can be traced between a shooter and a political target becomes somewhat of a moot point.
Fox News and right wing pundits are blathering about the shooter ranting mostly about the gold standard and bad grammar. Calling him a “deranged young man,” and saying he is “not political at all,” right wing punditry is running from any possible role.
That he is called deranged and mindless and troubled also point to a difference in terms based on the nationality and/or religion of the perpetrator. The Fort Hood shooter was immediately labeled a terrorist, although he was clearly deranged too.
Here is a thought for the far right to ponder. As they defend Sarah Palin’s campaign to target vulnerable members of Congress with a literal sniper scope cross hair, as they defend Tea Party rhetoric which for almost two years has involved implicit and implied threats of violence, as they defend groups like the Oathkeepers who vow to commit insurrection if they don’t like the politics of their orders, will any answer one question?
Imagine that everything was the same. A deranged shooter attacks a member of Congress, and shoots multiple victims. Just a little different, though – the member of Congress is Republican, and vehemently opposed to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. A few months earlier, an Islamic group had put out an ad campaign just like Sarah Palin’s, cross hairs and all.
Would the right wing be silent? Of course not. There would be calls for crackdowns on all Islamic groups, probably some Mosque burnings too. Vitriolic rhetoric would be flowing like water. The Republican controlled Congress would be riding the news like a wave.
Will anyone on the right acknowledge the obvious disconnect? Or will they rant about liberals, make excuses for their actions, and try even harder to distance themselves from Jared Loughner, the Arizona shooter?
There may well be ties to the extreme right and Jared Loughner. Perhaps none will be found. In any case, the politics of fear and hate, pushed mostly by the far right, need to be assessed and held to a level of account.