A horrific act occurred in the State of Arizona yesterday. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was meeting constituents outside a Safeway grocery store when a man opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol. Congresswoman Giffords, along with thirteen other people, was seriously wounded. Six people were killed including a nine year old girl.
Several things struck me as the reporting of the incident and the associated commentary unfolded throughout the day in the various news media. Professional people in law enforcement, government and the media have been stating conclusions and making comments based on less than sufficient facts to support their conclusions or comments.
Some have suggested that "toxic rhetoric" may be responsible for the shooter deciding to take the action that he did. Some have implied that the Tea Party movement bears some responsibility. Others suggest that talk radio and television commentators express views in a manner that incite people to commit extreme acts of violence.
At this point in time no one knows why the shooter decided to wreak havoc and mayhem upon the Congresswoman and her constituents. At last reports the suspect is in custody and has invoked his right to remain silent...that means the only person who truly knows the "why" of it isn't talking. Everything else is speculation and conjecture.
I expect that a number of things will emerge from this horrible event. One will undoubtedly be a call for more gun control laws. Experience has shown that gun control does not, and never has, stopped criminals from perpetrating gun violence.
Another will be a call for an end to "toxic rhetoric," whatever that is. Those who will shout the loudest on this point will undoubtedly be those who, hypocritically, have been the most guilty of engaging in such rhetoric.
I urge everyone to wait for the true facts to come out before any decisions are taken on how to implement or change policy with a view towards preventing such incidents in the future. Any such decisions that infringe upon our God-given liberty must be avoided. I would also counsel policymakers to wait until the raw emotion evoked by this incident to subside before any decisions are taken.
May God bless the families of those who have been killed or injured in this incident. May God grant Congresswoman Giffords and her fellow wounded a speedy and full recovery from their injuries.