Monday, January 10, 2011


I am so saddened by the shooting of Congresswoman Gaby Giffords, 13 others and the senseless deaths of 6 bystanders in Arizona.  It is apparent that the young man who caused all of this destruction is mentally ill and has been for some time.  Yet he was able to purchase the semi-automatic weapon  months in advance of the shootings.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, who said Saturday at a news conference that “unbalanced people” could be affected by the vitriol, anger and hatred of anti government rhetoric.  That's a "Duh" statement if I ever heard one.  Yet they felt the need to analyse it on the Today Show.  Tom Brokaw pointed out that we are all at the drug store buying tiny bottles of shampoo and this paranoid young man was out buying a gun. Thank you Tom Brokaw!

Because this young man didn't have anything "on record" that he was mentally disturbed, he was good to go on the gun.  All the rest of us are still out buying tiny shampoo bottles - no matter how clean our "records" are.  Didn't this same thing happen in Virginia?  Unstable young man buys a gun and shoots a bunch of people.  In the effort to spare anyone from having a bad record haunting them, we don't report these aberrant behaviours (or make the reports available) which should prohibit the purchase of a gun and perhaps stop or at least make more difficult these attacks.

A cynical person might think that the shooting of more members of Congress might be what it takes to make some changes in these laws.


jenn said...

I hear you! Why does it always take horrific incidents like this to bring these facts into focus??

Nan said...

One thing that's being missed in the discussion is that in addition to our ridiculously lax gun laws, we've managed to eliminate many services for the mentally ill. This young man had obvious mental health issues but there doesn't seem to be any indication he ever received any treatment or counseling. If his erratic behavior dates back to high school or earlier, doesn't it seem probable his family had been told to get help and then discovered that they couldn't afford it and there were no public services that they qualified for? There are a lot of people in the US who fall between the cracks -- no insurance, too poor to afford private pay, but above the cutoff that qualifies a person for MedicAid.