Caution Urged In Response To Arizona Shooting Rampage

January 11, 2011

(ChattahBox Op/Ed News)  The outpouring of support and concern for Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D) Arizona and all of those who were either killed or wounded has been genuine and non-partisan, not that anyone would expect it to be otherwise.  The most jaded politician would never have the temerity to do anything but show concern and support, but that doesn’t mean that both the Left and the Right isn’t finding ground on which to “use” this horrific situation to make their own political points.

It’s wrong.

The rabid exchange as I scan the internet is all over the place with topics that either make no foundational sense or are just cheap shots at some kind of “moral” victory for your particular political point of view. Knowing what we do now know much of what is being pointedly accusatory is misdirected and uninformed, in my opinion.

When such a heinous act is perpetrated we expect certain responses and we also feel emotionally drained.  The symbol of an elected representative is pristine.  When that symbol is attacked it strikes at the heart of who we are and who we aspire to be as Americans.  Political differences aside, the American people are deeply compassionate and resolute in their belief that America and what she stands for is worth defending, protecting and strengthening and when events like this senseless rampage by a very deranged and obviously mentally ill man wakes something in us that is mostly good and admirable, but it can also weaken our sensibilities to some degree.

It was announced that legislation would be introduced today that would ban the use of a graphic that places a graphic of a rifle crosshairs on an image of any political figure.  This is in response to a widely reported image on former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s website that placed a graphic of a rifle crosshair image over the picture of certain politicians that were being targeted in the last election cycle including Rep. Giffords.  I understand the sentiment but I cannot support this legislation.

Immediately after this tragedy happened on Saturday many of the Left started attacking the Second Amendment that reads in whole: A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. It’s pretty simple and often debated, but as a lover of the Constitution and the very freedoms it provides for all of us we must be very careful NOT to overact or take advantage of the emotions of the same American people I described above.

Gun laws are fought and won and lost throughout the country every day.  Rules and regulations vary from state to state and will continue to evolve and change as society does, but the idea that we need to scrap the Second Amendment is not and never will be in the best interest of this great country just as banning graphic images would fly against everything I believe the First Amendment means to all of us.  I ask that we show great caution in the aftermath of this tragedy not to overreach or further weaken our Constitution in any way.

As we look to understand what happened we may or may not ever really know why this happened or how it could have been prevented.  As horrifically terrible this event is the idea that this is about talk show hosts or political rivals and political strategy just doesn’t sit well with me based on what we know about the shooter and his background.  To turn this already tragic situation into something it is not, would be the work of uneducated reactionaries and in the larger view of the world we live in counterproductive to what it is we know we want and we know we don’t want and to set a precedent that with every tragedy we must somehow usurp our Rights or redefine them to be custom tailored to one event is not only ill advised it would be wrong.

Many of us were very concerned and still are at the Patriot Act enacted in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and although we could debate indefinitely the benefit or harm of the Patriot Act we have fewer Rights today and less personal privacy.  Again, this is not about right or wrong but about being very deliberate in how we react to acts against our nation, as this shooting rampage was.

We need to have an open and level headed discussion about why and how this happened and I am certain there is much to be learned in the aftermath of this sad attack and the resulting deaths and wounded, but let’s make sure the discussion goes to the heart of issues that are appearing clearly now.  Issues like mental health and your legal Rights as they apply to owning a gun and its use and personal possession.  We don’t need to change the Constitution to do that.

I continue to believe the people we have elected to represent us will ultimately be careful not to challenge the foundational founding document that guides American society to this day.  As tragic, sad and profoundly impossible as this event was let us come together to pray for these families who have been touched by this event and for the leaders who must now respond to what happened in a responsible and reasonable way.

Today should not be about blame but about healing.  If there was ever a time to set aside politics and finger pointing this is that time.  I believe that with all my heart.

Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer.  He can be reached at tony@mediatony.com and can read his Blog at http://www.mediatraining.me


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