An Arizona sheriff angrily denounced what he calls a vitriolic political climate, particularly in his state, which he says could have led to the shooting of a Congresswoman and the deaths of at least six people Saturday.
A 22-year-old man, tackled by eyewitnesses on the scene, was taken into police custody after he opened fire at a town hall-style meeting at a Tuscon shopping center. Nineteen people were shot in the attack, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who suffered what is being described as a “devastating” head wound.
“We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry,” Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said at a press conference. He also told reporters that it is not unusual for all public officials to get threats “constantly.”
Indeed, according to The Washington Post, there has been a dramatic increase in threats against members of Congress over the past year. Forty-two threats were reported against federal lawmakers in the first three months of 2010.
Liberals have been quick to blame the Tea Party movement for its sometimes-militant rhetoric. But let’s not pretend that the liberals themselves haven’t been dishing it out as well as they’ve been taking it.
Dupnik said that people who are not mentally balanced could be particularly susceptible to the messages of radio and television pundits who are paid to continually stir the pot.
Giffords previously clashed with Tea Partiers and some conservatives by opposing Arizona’s illegal immigration law and supporting health care reform.
The suspected shooter is believed to have posted what he called “My Final Thoughts” on YouTube. On his YouTube channel, he reportedly listed Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto andAnimal Farm as being among his favorite books. His specific political views, so far, seems vague.
Political views — regardless of which way they lean — should never be considered an acceptable excuse for violence of any kind. A federal judge and a 9-year-old child are dead tonight, along with four other people.
If political vitriol has, in any way, contributed to the gunfire in Tuscon, this country has a lot of work to do when it comes to improving political discourse.
The Bible calls us to pray for those in leadership. It does not call for us to pray for harm to them, or to pray that “our guy” gets elected. Regardless of the political leanings involved, we’re to pray for our leaders.
When was the last time any of us prayed sincerely and without partisanship for a political leader with whom we disagree?
The likely answer for the average person is part of the problem.