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Thoughts on the tragedy in Tucson

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POSTED January 17, 2011 12:27 a.m.
Last weekend I was as shocked as almost everyone else in the nation to learn of the shootings of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people in Tucson, Arizona.

My prayers go out for all of the victims and families involved. I pray that the wounded will recover and that the families of the deceased will be comforted in their time of loss.

I saw on the evening news where the Arizona Legislature took the quickest action in their history to pass a law that would provide protection for the families of those who died from that whacko church who wants to protest at the funerals of those killed in this tragedy. What kind of crazies would protest at the funeral of a 9 year old girl who was on a visit to see her congresswoman?  I believe her family has suffered enough and that it’s reasonable to require any protesters remain a respectable distance from the proceedings. As I understand it, the new law requires protesters remain at least 300 feet from any funerals. I believe the law should specify an even further distance, like maybe 3,000 feet away.

It’s ironic that Congresswoman Giffords is a conservative, Bluedog Democrat, who is both a gun owner & who supports the Second Amendment.  When I checked her website I found that Gabrielle Giffords signed on in support of an Amicus Curiae brief on both the Heller & MacDonald Cases at the Supreme Court which ultimately held that gun ownership is an individual right.

While I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, heck, all the Amendments, I believe that certifiable crazies should not be allowed to purchase guns. I think that there is definitely some tightening of background checks that are necessary. It seems pretty clear that the alleged shooter, Jared Loughland, displayed erratic behavior in public on numerous occasions. It seems to me that he shouldn’t have been able to pass a background check. I believe that’s where we need to start.

Last weekend, 300 million Americans didn’t kill anybody. It doesn’t make sense to curtail the rights of normal law abiding citizens. It does make sense to keep guns away from crazies.

I am extremely wary when it comes to abridging our Constitutional Rights and believe we should proceed cautiously.  In 1978 there was a terrible tragedy at a place called Jonestown in Guyana and over 900 people were killed, including a U.S. Congressman. In 1993 there was a terrible tragedy in Waco Texas and 80 people died. There were calls both times to curtail the rights of citizens to join a crazy, whacko church, but reason prevailed. And ordinary citizens are still able to go to the church of their choice.  I believe that all of our constitutional rights should be taken very seriously and that tinkering with basic constitutional rights should not be undertaken lightly.   If we can abridge one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, doesn’t that precedent apply to the others as well?

We might even ask ourselves “What would a gun owning Congresswoman from Arizona do?”
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