Sunday, January 9, 2011

Guns, and Gabrielle Giffords

What a disgusting waste. Gabrielle Giffords is still in critical condition in a Tucson hospital. Even if she lives, she may have serious brain damage and a long road back to normal life.   Six people are dead , including a nine year old, and twenty people in all were shot-- all because here in America we can't seem to keep guns out of the hands of  crazy people.

  I've blogged about this before and have felt strongly for years that  the gun lobby in this country has plenty of innocent blood on its hands. Ditto the NRA and all those John Wayne types  who think the Constitution gives them the right to carry no matter what or where.

  Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against hunters and sportsmen or people who shoot skeet or even sane, honest, mature adults who want a gun for protection, or farmers and ranchers who need a rifle to keep the " varmints" away.   But nobody who is not in military combat or the police needs a semi-automatic assault rifle or a heavy duty hand gun like the one that shooter,  22 year old Jared Lee Loughner, bought legally at a local gun shop on November 30th, in spite of a history of mental instability and not one but TWO run ins with police.

Let's see, he tried to enlist in the army and was rejected. He was recently suspended from Pima Community College pending a mental evaluation and yet, on November 30th he walked into a gun shop and with no problems bought a Glock 19 9mm handgun like the one pictured above. I won't even mention that he was unemployed at the time and the gun cost over $400.  No alarm bells went off anywhere.  I find that amazingly stupid.  What kind of people are we anyway?

Only in America do we make it possible for mentally marginal people to buy guns. Jaren Loughner is a very sick dude.  You don't have to be a mental health professional to see schizophrenic delusion in his YouTube videos, Almost every week it seems like some sick guy walks into a fast food joint or an office building, shoots the place up, murders a few innocent bystanders and then turns the gun on himself.. When you add into the mix a toxic pollitical atmosphere, where right wing media types play to the paranoia of the not too tightly wrapped and overtly incite violence, you have a recipe for disaster.

Lets hope this is a tipping point.Let's hope we are shocked enough as a people to  turn down the imagery of violence in our political discourse and to  finally take responsibility for the truly mentally ill in our midst  by making sure they never, ever have the opportunity to get their hands on guns.


Kristen said...

I too have been wondering how he got the gun. They always tell us that in a state where everybody has a gun somebody will be there to shoot the shooter... but it doesn't surprise me that it didn't work out that way.

pinkpackrat said...

I am just appalled that he could have just walked in a bought a gun with all the indications of mental illness that he had--All of this could have been avoided if an obviously mentally ill man could have been stopped from buying a gun.

JamaGenie said...

Arizona supposedly has the least-strict gun laws in the nation, so I'm NOT surprised the shooter (I refuse to glorify him by using his name) WAS able to walk into a gun shop and buy a Glock despite a history of mental illness. Obviously passed the required background check because the signs of mental instability had NOT been entered into the database that's supposed to prevent nutjobs from obtaining Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In other states with stricter gun laws, crazies get their WMDs at gun shows where, thanks to the NRA, background checks aren't required.

As you say, there's no *legitimate* reason for a civilian to have an automatic or semi-automatic weapon.

The Second Amendment, written back in the days of one-shot muzzle loaders btw, was NEVER intended to give citizens the "right" to have weapons capable of mowing down a dozen or more fellow citizens in 10 seconds or less. It's insane to claim that it does.

Pamela Grundy said...

It's SO easy to get a gun if you want one. I went to a gun show in South Bend once with Bill. It was at the county fairgrounds and we thought there was a Civil War re-enactor event there (he's a history buff) but we came on the wrong weekend, so since we were already there anyway, we went in.

OMG. I mean, what's alarming is how unusual this guy ISN'T. If more people saw who was buying guns in this country, we'd be having a different discussion altogether I think. There's all these little hate groups all over the place, and all of the want guns and get them. It's very scary. We focus on terrorists 'over there' so much but they're all over the place right here at home. We grew them right here.

pinkpackrat said...
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pinkpackrat said...

redoing this comment to eliminate the typo here we go again....

Thanks to you both Jama and Pam for two really thoughtful, informative comments-- I didn't know that Arizona had the most lax laws in the country but I did know that you can carry a concealed weapon legally in Arizona and also that gang members from New York and LA go to Texas and Arizona to buy guns-- ditto Mexican drug dealers. We need some kind of unified Federal law AND database!

And I'm really interested in your gun show experience, Pam. Interesting that gun shows are the one place that you can buy guns without a background check. Wonder why that is-- seems crazy to me.... but then I think the whole American attitude towards guns is crazy :-)