Tuscon fallout: Criminal acts and incompetence
by Tim Inwood
After a tragic shooting in the US, you can almost use a stopwatch to count the minutes before certain people will start pointing fingers and placing blame in places where it does not belong. Sadly the Tucson attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was just such an event. Within hours, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik stepped up to the microphones and began to blather on about how this was the fault of the right wing, Tea Party activists and radio talk show hosts. When pressed about his proof he admitted this was just his opinion. As time passed we learned classmates viewed the shooter, Jared Loughner, as a left-wing, pot head atheist. Hardly the kind of person who would listen to Rush Limbaugh or Neal Boortz.
Later we would learn that Sheriff Dupnik was well aware of the many complaints about Loughner's erratic and eccentric behavior at school, as well as the fact he had sent Congresswoman Giffords a threatening letter and had been stalking her since 2007. Apparently in 2007 Loughner was at another event with Giffords and felt slighted by her answer to his questions. The grudge from that discussion in 2007 is what led to the shooting. For Sheriff Dupnik's information, the Tea Party did not even exist when Loughner's obsession with Rep. Giffords began.
Frankly, had Sheriff Dupnik done his job and charged Loughner with a crime, he never would have passed the FBI National Instant Check when he purchased the Glock model 19 pistol used in the shooting. It now appears Sheriff Dupnik was looking for a scapegoat to deflect attention from the fact that he was negligent and incompetent in dealing with Loughner. In my view, Sheriff Dupnik is the poster geezer for the kind of guy who should not be holding public office at all and should be removed from his office as a result of this incident.
However he was not the only liberal politician to try to take advantage of the incident. The worst was that insipid Socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who used the shooting for a fundraising letter. That, in my view, is flat out cold-blooded and disgusting.
Then you have the left wing media. They too were quick to glom on and blame conservatives. For days they carried on about the tone and how uncivil conservatives are, ignoring the left wing kooks and their actions over the last few years. The lovely Michelle Malkin, ever attempting to correct wrong thinking, posted many examples of just such left-wing rage. Funny how the mainstream media missed all of that material.
Nevertheless, the network talking heads and liberal scribes continued down their delusional path that this was somehow related to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, Mark Levin, etc. Never mind that facts put forward by those who knew Loughner were stacking up and even cursory scrutiny made it quite clear the guy was not a conservative but a left-leaning weirdo, very moved by zeitgeist, wanting to see marijuana become currency and other bizarre things that are more likely embraced by our liberal friends
Slowly it became clear to the left that Loughner was one of them, so the subject had to change quickly. So what did it change to? Gun control of course. While Dupnik was quick to point attention away from his own incompetence, another quarter of leftists were looking (as they always do under such circumstances) to use the tragedy as a vehicle to assault the Second Amendment. Before the bodies were even cold, I had an email in my box from the Brady Center begging for money, telling me our handgun laws were too lax. I for one was sorely tempted to email Jim Brady back thanking him for agreeing with what I have said for years, that his stupid Brady Law would not keep guns out of the hands of criminals or the insane, so lets repeal it. The impotence of the Brady act is an obvious truth. Loughner and the Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho both bought their guns via legal channels and both passed the background check because liberals have blocked access to mental health records by the FBI.
So since their anti-gun laws failed, the Brady's, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and scores of other misguided folks on Capitol Hill are eager to throw up another worthless gun law and attack our gun rights which have been affirmed by the US Supreme Court only two years ago in the Heller decision. While these anti-gun liberals would be loath to lose their own armed security guards, they would be quick to take away your ability to defend yourself from criminals and madmen. It’s insane and hypocritical.
Something the press discovered, but does not want to deal with, is that one of the people who subdued Loughner was legally carrying his gun that day. Joe Zamudio revealed in an interview on Fox News he was carrying his pistol but he did not use it because of the crowd, concerns about over-penetration and general bedlam in the aftermath of Loughner's spree. However, Joe was not attending the Congresswoman’s meet and greet. He was simply leaving a store nearby and ran to the scene to help. Since it was a crowd of Democrats, I am not surprised that no one else there was armed or had the ability to stop the shooter as the melee began.
Facts are sticky things and the Democrats who first attacked Republicans/conservatives, and later guns, did not wait for the facts to emerge before jumping to the microphones to pass judgment and guilt on parties who had nothing to do with the shooting. All they did was follow Rahm Emanuel's advice to never let a good crisis go to waste. So they immediately used the blood of innocents to try to score political points. It was grisly, calculated and disgusting. I note no apologies have been forthcoming from the offending parties. I have seen no mea culpas in the press. No, instead of an apology we have this sudden demand for a "new tone" and "civility." I am sorry, but in my view this is akin to someone whacking you over the head with a two by four and then when you rise to fight back the attacker says the fight is over and violence is not the solution. After tarring people like Rush Limbaugh and other innocents, do these liberals really think conservatives ought to just take it, be silent and not defend themselves? Are they idiots? The Left can forget this cheesy attempt at censorship. Not only will conservatives speak up, we will speak to the truth of this matter bluntly.
The facts are clear now. Jared Loughner, the assailant, is a crazy leftist who had a grudge against Congresswoman Giffords. All gun laws were obeyed. Because of the negligence of the Sheriff, Loughner was never charged with anything hence he passed the required FBI background checks to buy his gun. No new reasonable gun legislation would stop this from happening.
New gun control laws will not be useful in this sort of situation, and in fact statistics show that the more stringent the gun laws an area has the worse things are. For years Washington DC, New York City, and Chicago were among the worst for gun crimes. Never mind handgun ownership has been illegal in Washington DC, Chicago and its suburbs for decades. Gun ownership in New York is only for the politically connected. However, their crime rates were terrible because criminals ran amok without fear of getting shot as most citizens had no means of self defense.
Areas with higher gun ownership have much lower levels of crime and those that allow concealed carry have seen their crime rates drop too. Since the US Supreme Court declared the handgun ban in Washington DC to be unconstitutional and citizens have been able to buy revolvers (in defiance, DC still says semi-autos are illegal; expect more legal action), the murder rate has been dropping. In fact you have to go back to 1963 and the days of John F. Kennedy in the White House to find a year with as few murders in the Nation’s Capitol as what they had in 2010. However, none of the liberal pundits want to acknowledge the positive aspect of guns in our society. They ignore the fact that guns are used at least two million times a year in this country for legal self-defense by civilians. The facts don't fit their mental template so they ignore them and, even worse, try to bury what is real news.
Rather than bore you with easily found statistics by researchers like Kleck, Lott, Kopel, etc. about how firearms are of more benefit than menace to our society, I will let you go and research that for yourself.
I would like to conclude by saying the real lesson to be learned from what happened in Tucson is not that we need to attack the First Amendment by stifling free speech and the exchange of ideas. Nor do we need more inane gun laws. What we need is to hold criminals responsible for their actions and hit them with the hammers of hell as we punish them for their crimes. We need to return to a situation where the mentally ill are not allowed to roam loose in society as a menace to themselves and to the citizenry at large. And when we find office holders who are so derelict in their duties that their inaction puts all in danger, they should be held accountable for their incompetence and removed from office. And yes, I am directing that comment to the Pima County Sheriff's Office.
Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA and Life Member of the OGCA, Republican Central Committeeman for Chester Township A, in Clinton County, Ohio, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association.