As we continue to learn more about the mass murder committed by a deranged college student in Arizona, we also learn of the strengths of a Congressman that was targeted but also see politicians and pundits who jump on the tragedy, pretending to care about a victim, in order to advance their political causes.
[For the connection with Rep Jim Moran pictured right, see This Ain't Hell.]
The first thing that should be noted is that neither the letter behind a name nor book covers define the person. I knew very little about Gabrielle Giffords before Saturday, but an interview on Fox with her not long before the event included the remark that her platform sounded more conservative than Democrat. Who, other than the politicians in Congress, would oppose her call for reducing Congressional pay?
The second thing to note is that too often those that rush to press are wrong. They jump on "facts" that support their political causes and positions and suddenly portray themselves as the best friends of the victim to support their call to action. They play on the emotional outrage to garner support for a cause that would not likely have sufficient support in rational times. Michael Haltman puts the political scene in perspective.
The first Veterans to play a role were active duty Troops at the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) that determined him unfit for enlistment, for whatever reason they did. Some in the "return the draft" club might claim that he might have learned some Honor had he been allowed to serve, but I will applaud those Troops that deemed him unsuitable, apparently due to his anti-American involvements and his mental instability.
This Ain't Hell has the best coverage I've seen of the Veterans that played a role in this event. While I in no way wish to diminish the importance that Rep. Giffords husband is a Naval Aviator and NASA Astronaut, he did not play a role in the event. My thoughts are with him, as his support goes to the woman who has supported him personally for so many years. I bid the press and punditry to leave him alone so he can focus on what's important: his wife and her recovery. If he wishes to make a statement, he knows how to do so. Until then, please afford him his privacy.
The next Veteran involved in this case is the first we can name. Colonel (retired) Bill Badger refused to be a simple victim or witness to this crime. Though shot in the head, he tackled the deranged college student turned murderer. The 74 year old Veteran did not act alone. The citizens of Arizona did not simply accept the murderous fate. Someone whacked the gunman over the head with a chair. Someone helped Bill Badger hold the shooter down. And a little old lady secured the loaded magazine when she could not reach the pistol.
The next Veteran we know of in the case is 24 year Naval Veteran, Dr Peter Rhee, whose experience in trauma medicine includes service in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In discussing the situation, he noted that Tucson is normally a boring position for trauma surgeons. He pointed out that the Navy used experience in California, where 30 gunshot victims each day are treated, to prepare medical personnel for combat. He noted that his experience in combat made the events of Tucson pale in comparison, but certainly helped him as part of the medical team that treated the victims.
9 year old Christina Taylor Green was a beautiful little girl who was there after being elected as a member of her school council. Of all the victims, the fact that the gunmen would shoot this one demonstrates his sick deranged mind more than any.
Phyllis Schneck, 79 years old, Citizen.
Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Staffmember of the Congressman.
John Roll, 63, Chief Federal Judge of Arizona, since 2006.
Dorwan Stoddard, 76, Citizen-hero, murdered while shielding his wife from the lunatic.
Dorothy Morris, 76, Citizen
The wounded include George Morris, husband and high school sweetheart of deceased Dorothy Morris and Mrs. D Stoddard, wife of Dorwan Stoddard.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Arizona Shootings Reaction|
Update: Jon Stewart provides a sane voice to this discussion. I don't always agree with Jon's political positions, but I appreciate his intellectual integrity and his willingness to call out those that he agrees with when they are doing the wrong thing, as in this case.
In short, he attacked the very young and the very old, along with a female Congressman and her aide. There is no Honor in that, only reprehension.
The criminally deranged, Jarod Lee Loughner, listed the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, as two of his favorite books. Neither Nationalist Socialism (Nazi) nor International Communism are "right wing." They are socialist of different stripes. They are anti-semetic. They are dictatorial tyrannies. He does not list the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, or any Constitutional causes in what I've found of him. He does include Woody Allen associated books.
His rants demonstrate a lack of coherence with some conspiratorial view on grammar and a wierd allusion to "conscious dreaming." I see no reason to dig too deeply into those rants. I've dug into the minds of serial killers, terrorists, communists, and islamists and it's rarely a pretty sight, but the rants of this guy appear harmless on the surface and simple enough proof of the mentally unstable.
I've known some that are very protective of grammar and literature and I can assure you that the Grammar Police may be annoying at times, but certainly not a dangerous crowd. They've given me more than one citation but those I've trained in firearms were not interested in using them for anything other than self-defense. For the most part, they're simply attempting to educate the world in a subject the school system seems incompetent or unwilling to teach.
I will not pretend to know what Gabrielle Giffords believes in regards to Gun Control, nor how this event will effect those beliefs or those of her husband. I refuse the arguments that Our Congressmen deserve no personal security, though there is only a certain amount of protection that could be afforded them. We certainly cannot afford to provide them the same level that the President requires, but they are targets and important enough to protect from assassination attempts. There is a level of protection that would have prevented this particular incident but there is always a way for a determined, creative individual to kill.
It is not that I believe that politicians are more important than we Citizens, but that the importance of the office and decisions of the people in choosing their representatives is that important that some level of protection is warranted to protect those the people elect. They are sufficiently targeted by loons and terrorists to warrant at least an armed personal protection professional while in the public forum. And they are too overpaid to be considered "public servants."
Before any emotional outrage turns into abuse of the legislative process, I will remind all of the 2nd Amendment:
"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."
You can try to argue "intent" or "interpretation" in any way all day long. You can try to argue that the definition of arms are those things hanging from your shoulders, but there is no doubt in the rational mind the 2nd Amendment refers to the hand carried weapons of the day and there is no loophole in the phrase "shall not be infringed." It does not limit to old technology or to hunting roles the limits of the "Arms" the "people" maintain rights to. It does not relegate the right of the people to "commerce clause" authority of Congress. It clearly states this is an individual's right, that cannot be infringed by any government.
You can claim that it does not state that the people have a right to ammunition or magazines, but that is a specious argument that makes no sense in the context of the 2nd Amendment. The 5th Amendment provides for the removal of rights, ie. liberty, only by "due process of law." In other words, a court can convict and limit the right to bear arms, but a psychiatrist cannot. The court can use testimony of the psychiatrist to form its decision, but the individual has a right to due process and representation.
The fact that politicians and judges have abused these or other rights may create a "precedent" but does not make it Constitutional. The emotional arguments to increase abuse of those precedents in the aftermath of this tragedy underscore the need for Constitutional Rights and procedures. It underscores the importance of the rule of law and the Constitutional Republic, with its limits on emotional outrage become democratic abuses, as well as on politicians that play those emotions to increase their power.
The evidence may plainly demonstrate that Jerod is guilty of murder, but he still has a right to a trial by jury, rather than a lynch mob hanging and Our Citizens still have a Right to Bear Arms, even if no one stepped forward to demonstrate that this particular criminally insane individual should have been removed of that right.
It is long past time that politicians end the emotional mudslinging and purposeful distortions that turn off the electorate and muddy the issues. It is long past time that they quit trying to find loopholes in the Constitution to extend their power beyond its intent and constructs but I don't foresee they'll do so any time soon and hence bid the American People to read, study, and understand the document that protects their rights from the infringement by the Federal Government and the power mongers we call politicians.