Following up on my last post about the debate we need when talking about yesterday’s incident, this statement from Senator John Kyl, when talking about last night’s remarks from Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, are not helpful:
First, I didn’t really think that that had any part in a law enforcement briefing last night. It was speculation. I don’t think we should rush to speculate. I thought that the report that we just saw from Tucson seems to have it about right: We really don’t know what motivated this young person except to know he was very mentally unstable as was pointed out in the piece.
It’s probably giving him too much credit to ascribe a coherent political philosophy to him. We just have to acknowledge that there are mentally unstable people in this country. Who knows what motivates them to do what they do? Then they commit terrible crimes like this. I would just note Gabrielle Giffords, a fine representative from Tucson, I think would be the first to say don’t rush to judgment here.
I listened to the Sheriff’s remarks and he didn’t “ascribe a coherent political philosophy to him”, but instead addressed the growing violent rhetoric we hear day in and day out on the radio and television. That is enough to push a person, who is mentally unstable, to becoming a violent killer. This is a problem we see on the right and left, a lack of responsibility for the statements they make. They feel that they can make some statement with violent undertones, but that in no way is them saying to go out and do it. Of course they are right with saying that, but we do have people in our society who can’t distinguish right from wrong. We don’t require a psychological screening to watch TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper or even lurk on the internet. These are all avenues that can be easily utilized to plant a bad idea in the head of someone like Jared Loughner, intentionally or not.
We need leaders like John Kyl to recognize this simple fact and put the safety of our nation above the rhetoric of politics. It’s time to put name calling aside and work towards a common good. We will never eliminate the threats of people like Jared Loughner, but we can sure try to diminish them.