Who deserves blame and shame?
I am disappointed to read letters like Cal Johnston’s published in the Feb. 2 Columbine Courier concerning the Tucson tragedy (“Venomous rantings have consequences”). Was it coincidental that Mr. Johnson attacked a list of conservatives “for helping to create a climate of hatred toward government, government officials and politicians of opposing views in the U.S.”? Not likely. Was it politically convenient? You bet.
I need to remind Mr. Johnson that we live under the protection of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which includes the First Amendment. It reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Our Founding Fathers used violent revolution to win those rights because they understood that open and free speech (even heated or vitriolic) was a prerequisite to maintaining a free republic. Of course, the British and Loyalists thought Patriots that openly dissented against the Crown and its policies were shameful too.
President Obama advised in his speech at the Tucson Memorial that “bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.” Those were wise words. Unfortunately, the opportunity to score political points against conservatives, even in a time of tragedy, is apparently too hard to resist for some progressive liberals. Why do these political opportunists insist on foisting the blame for a criminal’s actions onto law-abiding citizens? Responsibility rests squarely on the shooter’s shoulders. The real shame rests with those that use tragedy for political gain.