When a tragedy strikes such as the one in Tucson, Arizona last Saturday, many people ask why did this happen and how could this have been prevented? Some people even think stricter gun control laws are the answer. Others think “hate speech” caused it, so new laws curbing peoples rights to free speech may be the answer. I have yet to hear someone suggest that we put the blame where it lies…the perpetrator. We now know that Jared Loughner, the shooter, was disturbed. Every one of us hears the opinions of people we disagree with and some are quite passionate about their beliefs. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone elses ideology and debating it. What is wrong is trying to force your beliefs on others, especially through violence. All indications are that this was exactly what Jared was doing. Trying to make someone pay for disagreeing with his world view, at the point of a gun. This was not a us versus them, liberal versus conservative crime (the judge that was killed was conservative). This is what some people who exploit tragedies such as this try to spin it as. They compartmentalize people into groups, and pit one against the other mostly for their own gain.
As for more gun control laws, well that is just unnecessary. There are far more decent, law-abiding citizens than there are crackpots out there. The crackpots don’t sit at home thinking about the laws they may break when they commit a crime. They think about how they are going to do the most damage. They are already planning to break the law so what’s one more? If there were a couple of decent, law-abiding gun owners there during this horrible crime, the perp may have been the one who ended up in ICU and the not the innocent people he affected. I know it sounds cliche, but guns do not kill people. I have never seen a gun jump off a table and say, “I think I will go out and wreak havoc today and kill a few people”. A gun is simply an instrument that can be used for good or evil. It is man that decides that, not the inanimate object. Fire can also be deadly, or can be our friend. It can burn down someone’s home or it can cook our food. Fire can do damage, or make our lives better depending on whether it falls into the hands of an arsonist, or a chef.
Talk radio, I will say, can be infuriating. I listen to it. Sometimes I agree with the commentator and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes those who call in to the show can make me so angry I want to scream. But mostly, I am informed. Informed about something I may or may not be aware of. It is very important that we all take into consideration everyone’s take on an issue, whether we agree with them or not. Then and only then can we say we are informed enough to make a decision, and even vote on that issue. If I don’t agree with the commentator on the topic, that’s alright. That doesn’t mean I will go out and plan the demise of all who think like him or her. It simply means I disagree, and my “free” speech and vote will reflect that. What is so wrong with talk radio? Nobody holds a gun to my head and makes me listen to it. It is my decision, my choice. What is wrong with having choices? Absolutely nothing. Here again, we must blame the perpetrator and what he or she does with the information they have just been exposed to through talk radio. We can keep going forever and ban this book or that word and still never stop those who are intent on making others pay for their beliefs, but that will not stop another “Tucson” from happening. Let’s stop pointing fingers at everything and everyone for something that one person did. Let’s think rationally before we have our rights stripped away for the good of all.