Watching the news about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of Saturday’s shooting by a mentally deranged man, I heard the mayor of Tucson among others, attribute this crime to inflamed rhetoric in our public discourse and express hope that a return to civility will be the lesson learned from the tragedy.
Whoa! Why is nobody talking about the elephant in the room?—the fact that in Arizona and most other states, a man with a long history of mental illness can legally purchase a semi-automatic pistol which he can take it to a public gathering and open fire?
In the light of this shooting Utah Congressman, Jason Chaffetz, has announced his intention to pack his own gun more often which should add flair to his public appearances. The more conventional members of Congress will no doubt allocate hundreds of millions to provide round-the-clock Secret Service protection for themselves. They will also avoid passing laws to provide sensible rules to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns.
The Arizona shooting which left six innocent people dead and wounded 20 others besides the Arizona congresswoman is far from the only incident of a shooting spree conducted by a mentally ill person using a legally obtained weapon. Congress will protect itself—but what about the rest of us? Isn’t our freedom to gather in public places without fear of being shot to death more important than the right of the insane to purchase guns without restriction?
Maybe it’s time for us to speak up to our representatives and demand they represent us rather than moneyed interest groups.