1-11-11 Giffords shooting nothing more than tragic
Political assasinations are nothing new....from Julius Ceasar to Abraham Lincoln to Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The reasons vary...the desire to change government, or maybe revenge for some percieved wrong. In this case, a troubled young man disagreed with Congresswoman Giffords' political views and shot her and several others at a "Congress on your Corner" event in Tucson. The shooter is the typical "loser", with few friends, extreme views, a history of drug use, rejection, and possible mental illness. Many are seizing on this tragedy to call for more gun control (the shooter legally purchased his gun) and to try and muzzle groups like the Tea Party, saying loud, aggresive political descent encourages nuts go get guns and go on killing sprees. The truth is, the shooter (I won't soil my blog by mentioning his name) showed signs that he was a ticking time bomb and was ready to blow. People who know him have been quoted as saying they predicted this would happen. He was kicked out of his community college and told to get a mental exam, not unlike the Virginia Tech shooter of a few years ago.
It raises a troubling question....what do we do about people we perceive as "nuts" or just plain nutty? In the movie "Minority Report" police are able to predict crimes people will commit and arrest them ahead of time. That's science fiction...we live in the real world, although it would be handy to be able to see the future and prevent these tragedies. At what point, if any, should "nutty" people, those with extreme or even unbalanced views be locked up, for their own good and everyone else's? What should we do when we run into these people? Do we want to be someone who is interviewed after a tragedy, saying we could see it happening? Should we start being afraid to say something many people disagree with out of fear WE will be locked up as "nuts"? When it comes to gun control, there are plenty of laws on the books right now. Instead of creating more laws, the ones that exist need to be enforced. But I don't know if that would have stopped the Tuscon massacre.
On Friday night my wife Sharon and I went to "The Dark Side of the Room", put on by a local group of musicians playing Pink Floyd songs. It's great to live in a community with so many talented musicians. It's my hope people will get out more in 2011 and go to some of these shows and enjoy and support our local artists. Jazz and Java, next to Whitney Music in Willmar, is becoming a Mecca for these artists and shows. Their Thursday night sing-alongs are gaining popularity. Hats off to Bob Whitney for putting them together.