01.11.2011 07:09 AM

In today’s Sun: Bullets have no ideology

“Why do these things keep happening?

Whenever there is a loss of life caused by guns in the United States, people from all sides of the ideological spectrum ask questions approximating that one: “Why do these terrible tragedies happen?”

And, just as inevitably, some people – on both the left and the right – start to assign blame, and well before all the facts are in.

It happened again this past week, when Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords was targeted in an assassination attempt allegedly by Jared Lee Loughner.”

28 Comments

  1. Hugh Whalen says:

    Not only is it a horror… it is also an incitement to
    commit sociology. Hugh

  2. Brennan says:

    Hi Warren, Good article in the Sun today. I only take issue
    with the comment that FB and Twitter are primarily used by ‘people
    on the left.’ I know that blogs and talk radio (according to my
    American friends) are indeed popular communication vehicles for
    politics right of centre, but I wonder how true it is to say the
    most mainstream types of social media are left of centre? I think
    that in Canada this is probably not true?

    • Bronson says:

      In my observation this is true. Pick any right-wing figure at random and search for them on Twitter. They’re pretty much all there. It may be that as far as average Americans are concerned there are more left-oriented types on Twitter, but I don’t think you can say the same for the commentators, politicians, and activists.

  3. Mr. Chamberlain says:

    The Americans will not learn anything from this shooting,
    apart from developing further advancements in damage control. The
    question is, will Canadians?

    • The Doctor says:

      So what is it that Canadians are supposed to learn from some severely mentally ill guy buying a Glock semiautomatic handgun in one of the most handgun-friendly states in the US and going on a shooting rampage?

      • Warren says:

        Don’t copy them.

        • The Doctor says:

          Well, personally Warren, I think the odds of any Canadian jurisdiction ever having access to gun laws that are anything close to Arizona’s are pretty much zero. I’m not a gun owner or enthusiast myself, but I do find some of the scare tactics employed by gun-control advocates in Canada to be ridiculous, e.g., when they say or imply that we’re in danger of having “US-style” access to guns here if we scrap the long-gun registry. I couldn’t care less about that registry one way or another — I’m fine with it existing, but I wouldn’t shed any tears if it were scrapped either — but I just wish that the partisans on both sides of the issue would quit with the overheated rhetoric, exaggerations and bs.

          • Mr. Chamberlain says:

            Is it really about the guns — partly, of course. But let’s not overlook the role of a style of rhetoric purposely designed to get a strong response. It’s called rolling the dice and the limit is whatever you can get away with. That’s a tremendous amount of power in the hands of political parties in being able to impact a society in the way it can with all of the rhetoric, and the divisiveness, even hate, that can go with it — what we prepared to allow here? Should parties be allowed to wield that much power? Do they have that license?

    • Ralph says:

      Didn’t a highly placed Harvard professor once advocate “targeted assassination” as a “lesser evil” when counseling President Bush?

      • Namesake says:

        I dunno: DID one? Who, where, and in what voice or context? I.e., was it a topic proposed, analyzed, and ultimately rejected?

        Because I’m sure not going to take your drive-by slur word for it.

        And if it was re: Saddam Hussein or Osama bin laden — or Hitler back in the day — then, gee, WOULD it be so beyond the pale for an academic to say:

        hmm, on a utilitarian calculus, instead of playing by Marquess of Queensbury rules & not getting to the true problem until you wipe out their country first, wouldn’t it be better to just just assassinate a bona fide mass murderer & world menace instead of waging a war that would cost billions and kill many thousands of innocents on both sides, destroy families, and set countries back by decades?

  4. Human nature: You never let a serious crisis go to waste. (History has many examples from all camps)

    The Safeway massacre has nothing to do with what the left and right are talking about today or tomorrow.

    Gun Control, anti-right wing rhetoric, Sara Palin. (I could list twenty more “causes” or ideas being promoted)

    • The Doctor says:

      I personally find it disgusting how political partisans — of ALL stripes — jump on stuff like this and try to score partisan political points out of it. Yet another reason why I loathe political partisans — of all stripes.

  5. Darren says:

    Jon Stewart on The Daily Show had an excellent comment on
    the situation on Monday’s show. The Comedy Network has the episode
    on its website in Canada. Worth checking out. I may not always
    agree with Stewart’s politics but his comments Jan 10 were
    bang-on.

  6. The Doctor says:

    Re: Vancouver, I would posit that gun ownership has little to do with whether those crimes do or do not occur — I think it’s clear that other factors are at play. The big factor in Vancouver, particularly for B&Es (which don’t even necessarily involve guns at all), is drug addiction. Particularly in the Downtown Eastside, but also in other places like Surrey/Whalley, Greater Vancouver has a huge number of drug addicts, and they tend to feed their habits by committing property crimes.

  7. jon evan says:

    I am sick today and this arizona shooting makes me sicker…

    My hope is that this horrible tragedy would bring political parties closer together both in the USA and Canada toward a common understanding and conviction and that being:

    Please please tone down the rhetoric and the partisan nonsense and move on to mutually respectful dialog, mature polite debate, and learn to agree to disagree with less vitriol and more basic human respect.

    It is possible to redeem this surreal nightmare.

    • Troy says:

      I too am sick Jon. Sick that even though there may be a momentary pause in the “rhetoric and partisan nonsense,” that it will all pick up again where it left off; and all too soon at that.
      Just watch as those who have lead the charge, using this incident to blame all with whom they disagree with, and you will see it is they that will lead the charge right back into the name calling, the vitriol and the sophistry they call debate. It is what draws them to this site after all.

  8. allegra fortissima says:

    This article is posted on one of my friend’s fb page – he is American, but lives on Saltspring Island. His comment regarding the surge of gun sales: “Unbelievable”. Another friend thinks it’s “frightening” – so do I.

    Glock Pistol Sales Surge in Aftermath of Arizona Shootings

    “After a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tuscon shopping center on Jan. 8, Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers.

    Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols – popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters – flying out of the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

    ‘We are double our volume over what we usually do.’ Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition.

    A national debate over weaknesses in state and federal gun laws stirred by the shooting has stoked fears among gun buyers that stiffer restrictions may be coming from Congress, gun dealers say. The result is that a deadly demonstration of the weapon’s effectiveness has also fired up sales of handguns in Arizona and other states, according to law enforcement data.

    ‘When something like this happens people get worried that the government is going to ban stuff,’ Wolff said.

    Arizona gun dealers say that among the biggest sellers over the past two days is the Glock 19 made by privately held Glock GmbH, based in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria, the model used in the shooting.”

    The full article can be read @ www. bloomberg.com

  9. allegra fortissima says:

    Swiss Gun Politics:

    “Switzerland practices universal conscription, which requires that all able-bodied male citizens keep fully-automatic firearms at home in case of a call-up. Every male between the age of 20 and 34 is considered a candidate for conscription into the military, and following a brief period of active duty will commonly be enrolled in the militia until age or an inability to serve ends his service obligation. During their enrollment in the armed forces, these men are required to keep their government-issued selective fire combat rifles and semi-automatic handguns in their homes. Up until September 2007, soldiers also received 50 rounds of government-issued ammunition in a sealed box for storage at home. In addition to these official weapons, Swiss citizens are allowed to purchase surplus-to-inventory combat rifles, and shooting is a popular sport in all swiss cantons. These facts aside, some Swiss gun laws are more restrictive than those in the US. Unlicensed persons are not permitted to carry weapons except under special certain circumstances such as travel to military training. Owners are legally responsible for third party access and usage of their weapons. Licensure is similar to other Germanic countries.” (Wikipedia)

    Apparently gun laws are an issue in the US – do your homework, Gord!

  10. smelter rat says:

    He dips he dives, he slips he slides, he crawls on his belly like a reptile, he’s from the river Nile… and he’s on stage in 5 minutes .

  11. Troy says:

    Actually Allegra your Wiki post seems to support Gord’s assertion that the reason is other than the availability of guns. Providing the post is accurate (Wiki is not an infallible source after all), it demonstrates that guns and ammunition are abundantly available in Switzerland.
    I would argue that it is the education as to the proper care, storage and use of firearms that is responsible for folks being responsible gun owners. This education (I can only assume) is likely mandatory for all in Switzerland, whereas it is required of law abiding gun owners in the US and even Canada. This guy was not a law abiding gun owner. Crazy is crazy and laws don’t fix crazy. Neither do they make criminals law abiding. A responsible gun owner was one of the folks who helped wrestle Gifford’s shooter to the ground and would have shot him had the situation proved necessary; his safety had been turned off.
    I would have preferred an ending that included only one unfortunate death and many wounded.

    • Namesake says:

      Pretty selective retelling there at the end, there, or maybe you don’t know, but:

      that responsible — and untrained — gun owner who helped apprehend the shooter actually revealed that he came perilously close to shooting the wrong man mere moments before that (the man who’d seized & so was holding the gun from the shooter).

      “Friendly Firearms — Gabrielle Giffords and the perils of guns: How an armed hero nearly shot the wrong man,” by William Saletan http://www.slate.com/id/2280794/pagenum/all/

      • Troy says:

        Not selective, I saw a portion of the interview. Although he attributed it to luck I?d say he made some quick and vital decisions in the heat of a violent moment that proved to be good ones. Could be his father trained him well.

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