Jan. 8th will never be the same again in Southern Arizona. While the tragedy at Safeway had a national impact, it will always have a special place in the hearts and souls of we who live here.
Responses local and national have ranged from noble and intelligent to repulsive and confused, representing the best and worst in human nature. The best were well reported. Many of the worst have been allowed to slide.
Narcissism hit bottom with the memorial service turned tacky pep rally. Commemorative T-shirts? An incoherent invocation from a pseudo-Shaman? Boo the governor? Cheer the sheriff? I expected beer vendors next. While President Obama and the other officials handled it well, I suspect many family members of victims quietly felt the same.
Some believe our atmosphere has been so fouled by militant political speech, specifically from the right, that even if this killer never heard any, some process of osmosis motivated his deranged brain. That, and the easy availability of firearms, has been the focus from much of the left, chanted with standard hoary hyperboles. As when similar tragedies occurred, some simply ignored facts. Others basely pimp partisan advantage.
Americans are strongly divided over many issues. Periods when they weren’t, even briefly, are rare. Maybe the day after Pearl Harbor. There are few periods in our history when we weren’t vitriolic and “uncivil” starting with the Declaration of Independence. It’s the American way, and the way of a free society. Watch Question Time in the Brit or Australian Parliaments, or check the Knesset. The only thing different is conservative rhetoric just won a big victory over leftist rhetoric. What the left really doesn’t like is this time theirs didn’t work.
There were exceptions. Those who condemn the hardball campaign against U.S. Rep. Giffords ignore that she and her support groups were slightly better at it.
FBI stats for the past 50 years tell us that gun ownership increased while violent crime went down. That may or may not be cause and effect but it negates gun proliferation as a cause argument. This nutter had a stack of drug arrests. Had someone charged him with a felony or ordered a mental evaluation referral, he would’ve been barred from legal purchase. He could still have easily acquired an illegal weapon the same way he acquired his illegal dope – illegally.
More important is where, with no means of support and living with his parents, he got $500 to buy a Glock from anybody. Those blaming his actions on abstract forces should focus on the parents who ignored his many busts, his expulsion from college, and the skull shrine in their backyard. Don’t feel sorry for them; they were the real enablers, not Sarah Palin.
Hoplophobia is again rampant. The same pathetic and baseless fears that disarmed Wilbur Wildcat and stopped the traditional contest for the Kit Carson Rifle between the UA and UNM is back. Dillinger Days is modified to not somehow stimulate the addled. Otherwise rational City Council members accommodate irrational neighbors who fear the sale of ammunition at the new WalMart. All avoid the real problem, the evil sicko who commits the crime and those who directly aid him including they who act as his PR staff.
Sadly, this tragedy will repeat. There will be copycats. Massive publicity given this perp guarantees it. We already know the response if the next incident revolves around a Democratic official. But what if a Republican, or an entertainment or business figure, or just a group of innocent people is targeted? Who or what will be blamed besides the killer?
Leftist hate speech? Violent movies? Video games? Target Stores? Bullet Trains? Tombstone re-enactments?
The picture of our killer on the cover of Time magazine all but guarantees a sequel. And please note, I never used the creep’s name.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. on KVOI 1030 AM.