By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Defective people, not guns, are the real issue for us
Placeholder Image
I wasn't surprised to see politicians and the national media capitalize on the unfortunate tragedy of the shooting in Tucson. Moments after hearing about it, I suspected - with accuracy - that the left would begin an assault on conservatives.

Before the gun cooled after leaving the hands of mentally deranged suspect Jared Lee Loughner, the national media spin began. Reporters located a video made by Loughner on youtube and lifted one quote from his incoherent ramblings - about "illiterate students" at his college (where he was feared by teachers and students as a "nut case"). The ranting, they assumed, were of a right-winger. Did they assume that he was biased against Latinos, since Arizona recently enacted law to crack down on illegal aliens. Since his target, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was a Democrat, that cinched it in a lot of minds on the left ready to open fire on conservatives, especially talk radio conservatives.

Those who wait for fact learned Loughner's reference to "illiterate students" had no reference to immigrants but came from a confused and demented mind. Those close to Loughner say he was apolitical and never listened to conservative talk radio.

The knee-jerk conclusion to the high-profile shooting immediately prompted a torrent of vitriol. Case in point: Days after the shooting San Francisco homosexual activist Cleve Jones sent an e-mail to editors which tore into Sarah Palin. Friend Harvey Milk was killed in the 1978 San Francisco City Hall shooting; and Jones himself was stabbed 1985 by a group of skinheads screaming "faggot." Jones' shoot-from-the-hip e-mail acknowledged that "while no one knows for sure what drove Jared Loughner to commit this heinous act, we do know that the toxic political discourse in this country today - candidates talking about Second Amendment remedies, news networks featuring anti-government conspiracy theorists, and national political figures like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin describing themselves as 'progressive hunters' and urging followers to 'reload' - lays the groundwork for this kind of violence."

Doesn't Jones know that political discourse is more civil today than in centuries past? After all, Alexander Hamilton was shot and killed in a 1804 duel with former Vice President Aaron Burr after Hamilton called Burr a "dangerous man and one who ought not be trusted with the reins of government."

Cleve Jones' e-mail contained it all: attacks on Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and anyone supporting the Second Amendment. Talk about hate speech! Nothing is more hateful than accusing Sarah Palin of accessory to murder. Palin, nor Limbaugh nor Sean Hannity nor Beck have advocated gun violence. They faulted Palin for a political flyer with crosshairs on congressional districts as "targeting" political opponents. If that ramps up someone to violence, perhaps the next time a Republican is killed we might blame President Obama for uttering: "If they bring a knife, we bring a gun." Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., said this of Florida's new Republican Governor Rick Scott: "Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to ... shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the U.S. government..."

Jones feels America "will never end this violence until we have an honest national dialogue about who and what is feeding it, and determine the steps that can be taken to prevent more violence." Read between his lines: "I want to silence the influential conservatives like Limbaugh and shut down talk radio because I am threatened by them politically."

Even more dismaying was the way Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik linked the actions of a lunatic to Republicans' agenda of fighting big government and overspending of the Obama Administration. He even took aim at Rush Limbaugh. Fortunately most Americans saw it for what it was: Dupnik seizing on his 15 minutes of fame, attacking the right instead of addressing why he did nothing, apparently, to safeguard Giffords from a man who made prior death threats against her.

Mr. Jones and Sheriff Dupnik, our country was founded upon certain unalienable rights, one of which is freedom of speech. I'm sorry the left feels like it's losing its grip - read the results of the last election - but you can't silence people who differ from you. People, I might add, who represent the viewpoints of millions of Americans who oppose an over-reaching government that seeks, among many things, taking away guns from law-abiding citizens.

I'm not a gun owner but I believe the country would be a safer place if more law-abiding citizens carried them to protect themselves and others. Police can't be everywhere. Criminals may be less likely to rob a bank or fast food place if they knew the customer behind them may have a weapon under their jacket. And it's really too bad that a law-abiding gun owner wasn't available in the Tucson shopping center to drop Loughner before he was able to murder a federal judge and five others, and critically wound a U.S. congresswoman.

Let's be intellectually honest. New guns won't keep Loughner types or gang bangers from getting them. And I wonder, had Loughner gone on his killing spree with a butcher knife, would politicians on the left be screaming about knife control? When a nut job runs a car into a crowd with the purpose of killing, do we hear for calls for car control? I understand people's fear of guns, but like any item, guns can be used for good as well as evil purposes. (Imagine a Secret Service agent who didn't carry a gun to protect our president.)

True, a great number of people toting guns today have no business carrying them, just as many people are driving cars without licenses and insurance. The teenager who fatally shot a Ceres man last year - after an argument over waking his victim asleep on the couch - had no business with a gun. Nor did the man who shot a young Ceres man in the head last week in yet another senseless case of violence. Gang shootings occur in Stanislaus County with so much regularity that the shock value is wearing off.

It would make no sense - and will not affect the incidence of gun violence - to take guns from people who are trained to use them, responsible in their handling and willing to use them for protection or reduce the amount of evil in the world.

No, the debate should never be over thye inanimate object. Guns are not the problem any more than knifes, hammers, phone cords or video games. Defective people, mentally ill or socially ill, are.

If the left wants a national debate, let's take up a genuine topic of what is causing young people to grow up fearful of nothing, full of so much hate and disrespect of life that they're willing to shoot a foe outside of a Carl's Jr. to settle a score. Why are the hearts and souls of so many young people wrought with evil? Why do so many feel so bad about who they are that they turn to drugs to escape? Just where are many parents going wrong? Forget gun control talk, we need to open a national dialogue about a culture that breeds dysfunctional kids, gangs and crime.

Since we're at it, let's talk about ways faith and churches offer a positive force for good in America and have the left explain why they undermine faith and people of faith, especially those in politics. Let's address how a burdensome tax rate makes it hard for couples with kids to allow one parent to stay at home to raise the kids. Let's also talk about why we need government to pay people for years to not work, robbing them of their dignity, breeding idleness and crime in the process.

Bring it on. Those are real issues affecting America so let's start talking. But don't expect to hear that debate. There's too much political power at stake. There's an old saying that is so sad but true: "A government who robs Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul."

Their fear of losing control is what is keeping us from focusing on the real problems our country faces.

How do you feel? Let Jeff by e-mailing him at