Estimated reading time: 13 minute(s)
Originally published 1.11.11
It was only a matter of time.
Some of us are still in a state of shock but many of us expected something like this to happen sooner or later.
With all the hateful rhetoric that is being spewed via television networks, radio shows, protests and marches, the gruesome shooting in Tucson, Arizona sends a serious message that if it doesn’t stop, this could be just the beginning.
The worst may be yet to come.
Over the last few years alone, since the election of President Obama, we have witnessed a heightened culture of hate, violence, bigotry, death threats, religious intolerance, vicious political foolery, racial tension, divisiveness, unceasing character assassinations and outright plots of murder.
Is this the America the beautiful that this country sings about? I don’t think so. It’s extremely ugly right now.
I looked at my cell phone in pain when learning that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot in the head and others had been killed or injured. It was saddening to read that 9-year-old Christina Green, who was known as a young community activist according to her parents, will never have a chance to grow up to reach her full potential. She may have been one of those future giants necessary to change the course of degradation that this country is on.
However, we will never know because the alleged 22-year-old shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, chose to take their lives.
My sincere prayers go out to the victims and their families, and a thank you to the heroic bystanders. Thank you to President Obama and the First Lady for leading us in a moment of silence.
Was this truly isolated or the result of the attacks made against Rep. Giffords and others prior to this incident? There are conflicting debates about this going on as we speak. When Rep. Giffords’ father was asked by the New York Post if his daughter had any enemies, he replied, “The whole Tea Party.”
Should we just pretend like Sarah Palin didn’t post a map on her website of the congressional districts of 20 of the representatives who had backed President Obama’s proposed health reform bill and she had them marked with rifle crosshairs? That list included Rep. Giffords. Rappers get in trouble all of the time for inflammatory words, why not politicians?
I’m a firm believer in freedom of speech but where do we draw the line? These type of attacks will keep breeding individuals like Mr. Loughner who may think that “taking back the country” means taking the lives of others in senseless violence.
Should we just face reality that we’re living in a country where anything goes? Or do we as sane citizens have a duty to stand up where we live and help to thwart these kinds of verbal attacks that could lead to more Arizona-style shootings? I say we have to stand.
Sorry, but I’m not buying into the mainstream media’s attempt to portray Mr. Loughner as a nutcase who didn’t know what he was doing. If he was of another race, how would this story be handled right now? What if he was a Muslim? Think about it.
This is one reason that out of all that has been said, the words that resonated the most came from Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County Sheriff. During the January 8 press conference, held nearly eight hours after the shooting, he said in part:
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous…And unfortunately, Arizona has become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
He went on to say:
“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats. And that’s the sad thing of what’s going on in America. Pretty soon, we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people who are willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”
In a recently released statement regarding the shooting, Fidel Castro said, “Even those of us who don’t share his (Obama) political or philosophical ideas in the least sincerely hope that no children, judges, congressmen or any US citizen should die in such an absurd and unjustifiable way.”
How can we put an end to all of the vitriol?
Why can’t we have sensible dialogues, debates, and differences of opinion anymore without shouting, cursing, threatening or assassinating the character of one another? We’ve allowed our differences to cloud our judgment and have become extremely savage instead of dignified human beings. We criticize gangs but we’re doing “drive-bys” everyday in the name of religion,culture, race and politics.
Will those who perpetuate such vitriol only pause for this brief moment and then go right back to the same thing that might have led to this shooting? I’m sure they will.
I don’t see better times ahead within the next few years. If you think otherwise, I humbly ask why?
Especially when you still have people like Pastor Fred Phelps and his notorious funeral picketers roaming the country.
(Jesse Muhammad is a Staff Writer for The Final Call Newspaper. You can follow him on Twitter @BrotherJesse)