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Tucson Shooting: Gun Laws Are Latest In The Blame Game

Stephanie McNeal |
January 28, 2011 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

On Jan. 8 a shooting spree allegedly perpetrated by Jared Lee Loughner, 22, who evidently suffers from major mental issues, killed six and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords outside a Safeway store in Tucson, Arizona.

Since the tragedy, everyone and everything is being blamed. There is no sign that the finger pointing will cease anytime soon.

First it was the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. Now, misinformed pundits are pointing to guns as the cause.

Following the attack on U.S. Rep. Giffords and news outlets have brought up the subject of guns, suggesting that had there been stricter gun control laws the shooting may never have happened. 

The first argument is that Jared Loughner, the gunman, should have never been able to purchase the high-powered Glock assault weapon for personal use to begin with. 

The second is that Loughner, who was kicked out of Pima Community College after a documented mental instability, should have been barred from purchasing a gun in the first place.

It is one thing to use this tragedy to push for tighter gun control laws in certain aspects. I will agree that tougher legislation should be enacted to prevent people with obvious mental illness, such as Loughner, the Virginia Tech shooter and others, from purchasing deadly weapons. 

However, it is another thing all together to completely blame our gun control laws for the shooting, as this New York Post article, titled “How Better Gun-Control Laws Could Have Stopped the Tucson Massacre” seems to. 

The message? The shooting is partially our fault, America. Our laws are what caused the tragedy and we should have seen this coming. Of course, articles and sentiments like these are like candy for politicians who agree, and use tragedies such as these to further their own political agenda.

It seems like that has been happening in a lot lately. The bitter cyclone of finger pointing and blame which has erupted since the shooting seems to only grow. Unfortunately, it seems to be every one's fault but Loughner’s. The shooting is slowly morphing from a horrible tragedy, to a way to further multiple political agendas. 

The truth is, Loughner is undoubtedly a very psychologically disturbed man who did this for reasons we cannot explain. Who is to say that if he had not been able to get a gun legally, he couldn’t have gotten the same gun from the black market? We have outlawed cocaine, yet millions still are addicted. 

If Loughner wanted to carry out this tragedy, he would have found a way. It may be an overused cliche, but it happens to be true: guns don’t kill people, people do. 

Let’s examine how we can make guns less accessible to the mentally ill, yes. But let’s also examine the person who did this, why he ended up the way that he did, and what we can do to recognize these signs in others. 

That is what will prevent these tragedies, not blaming everyone and everything else. 

It is also worthy of note that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in the shooting, has long been a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights and broad gun control laws.

I wonder how she feels about her colleagues using this tragedy to score political points.  


Reach Reporter Stephanie McNeal here.



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