I’m still shocked and…

I'm still shocked and saddened by the shooting of Representative Giffords, and the injuries and deaths of those around her. I'm so sorry for their families, especially the family of the child that died. This is what I'm thinking in the wake of it all:

  • This is yet another reason to hope we keep comprehensive health care as intact as we can, so that those people suffering from mental illness have a better chance of finding affordable treatment and care.

  • I would appreciate it if politicians in America, of whatever political stripe, and their supporters (media and otherwise), would refrain from gun imagery, military imagery, calls to violence, etc. They may be intended as metaphors, but they can be suggestive to unstable individuals at the very least. And possibly to stable ones as well -- human beings are easily led to panic and riot, sadly. I'm hoping that in the wake of this tragedy, all sides will refrain from such imagery/language for a time, at least.

  • I've never properly researched gun control issues, so I'm not sure what would be needed to really reduce the number of firearms in America today. But I would be a lot happier if we had a lot fewer of them around. Even if there's a legitimate argument to be made for keeping a rifle for hunting, or a pistol for home defense (and admittedly, I'm fairly dubious about the latter need), I can't imagine why an ordinary citizen would need any kind of automatic weapon, for example.

But mostly, I'm just sad and disheartened. In 2009, a Sri Lankan top newspaper editor often critical of the government, Lasantha Wickramatunga, was shot dead. The last I heard, nothing conclusive have been determined about what/who was behind the attack, but it's hard to deny the likelihood that there was a strong political connection. I had hoped for better from Sri Lanka.

And I expect better of us.

One thought on “I’m still shocked and…”

  1. Agreement re sad and disheartened. Me too.

    Shifting from personal reaction to abstract discussion, regarding guns:

    While I too would be much happier with fewer guns, I think it’s worth noting that the weapon in this instance (according to the FBI) was a handgun, a Glock pistol. (It’s a “semiautomatic” pistol, but that just means that the user doesn’t need to do various manual steps after firing to prepare to fire again.)

    It did have an extended magazine, but those were bought and sold even during the 1994-2004 period of the Federal assault weapons ban, which banned the manufacture but not the sale of such magazines. It’s a big complicated topic, and people can argue what-ifs forever; I’m just saying that various kinds of assault-weapon bans might not have prevented this kind of tragedy, though they might have reduced the number of victims. (If the shooter didn’t just use two pistols instead, as shooters have done in other such cases.)

    It’s also worth noting that people who are in favor of guns tend to use situations like this to argue that if everyone were armed, then bad guys with guns would be stopped immediately (and might not start in the first place). Whenever there’s a shooting in the US, everyone who has opinions about guns tends to use the incident to support their opinions.

    Again, I am certainly in the “fewer guns would be better” camp, for a variety of reasons, personal and political. I’m just saying that this kind of incident isn’t necessarily a strong argument for gun control.

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