Tragedy in Tucson
To the Editor:
Saturday’s shooting of 19 innocent people at a strip mall in Tuscon, Arizona is disturbing and troubling, and to quote journalist Luke Russert, is an “ugly stain” on the political landscape of America.
The incident, at a community outreach event organized by the office of Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, left the Congresswoman critically wounded and six people dead, including a member of her staff, long-time Federal Judge John Roll, and 4 others, among them a nine-year old girl.
Most troubling, was the inclusion of Representative Gifford’s name on a list of 20 in the cross-hairs of a prominent conservative political action group during the recent elections. While no evidence connects the PAC and the shooter, the rise of inflammatory political rhetoric in our country over the past few years certainly is a contributing factor.
The time has come when, as Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik stated, that we, as a country, do some “soul searching” and set aside the “vitriolic rhetoric’ that leads unbalanced people to claim the innocent lives of citizens of this nation.
It’s time to end the ad hominem attacks on politicians, whether it’s President Obama and other leaders in Washington, DC or Governor Lepage and his new administration in Augusta. Justification by way of the first amendment does not excuse abhorrent behavior. Civil discourse benefits both the viability of the State of Maine and security of the United States of America.
The time has come, as well, for those vocal advocates of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms to take a leadership role in establishing conditions that will limit the future events in which a semi-automatic weapon is in the hands of a mentally unbalanced individual. The memories of Columbine and Virginia Tech, and so many other senseless massacres, are now joined by Tuscon.
Those gun-rights advocates, who know the infinitely more than the rest of our citizens about the power of their weapons, have the inherent responsibility to see that they don’t harm the rest of the population. It’s time for them to act, for the benefit of our country.
The victims of the Tuscon shooting are in our thoughts and prayers.