Disgusting pundits and the shooting

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Column by Jim Clark

All journalists respect free speech, so there’s no reason to tell the commentators who have attempted to assess blame for the Arizona shooting to shut up … except common decency.

Almost as soon as Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ wounding made the airwaves, some radicals were on the air blaming, of all people, Sarah Palin. They said her map of several months ago, with crosshairs indicating which members of Congress the Republicans should try to unseat, was the cause.

How utterly ridiculous!

The same day as the shooting, there were two NFL playoff games on. There were quarterbacks “targeting” certain defensive backs, there were quarterbacks with “rifle” arms, there were defenses using the “blitz” and there were battles in the “trenches.”

Yet with all these military references, no one came out of the stands and started shooting at the opposing team.

Let’s put the blame for the shooting where it belongs – on one young man, obviously troubled, who went off the deep end.

Photos released earlier this week show a hidden compound in the shooter’s backyard. Inside was a small “altar” with a container holding a skull, among other things.

This man obviously had problems long before the country ever heard of Sarah Palin.

While the shooting of the member of Congress was a tragedy, as of Wednesday morning she was alive and doctors were optimistic. We shouldn’t forget that six people were killed.

Getting the most attention was the 9-year-old girl who, it was discovered a day later, had been born on Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the World Trade Center attacks in New York. There were three retirees among the dead, and we’re not sure if they came to hear the Congresswoman, or if they were just grocery shopping at the store with the ironic name “Safeway.”

There was also a federal judge and a Congressional aide among the victims.

In addition to the revolting commentaries by the television and newspaper people, there was an even more disturbing note. That church from the Midwest was planning to protest at the funeral of the 9-year-old.

Arizona’s Legislature passed a law and the governor signed it within two days to prohibit this sort of protest. The law may face a court challenge, but hopefully that will come after the funeral.

The people from this “church” call themselves Christians, but they seem to forget that most Christians consider their God a God of love, not hate. To deliberately make the parents of a dead 9-year-old suffer even more is despicable.

So we have a lot of free speech that is taking place and is making a lot of us uncomfortable. While you have to respect the right of people to say what they believe, we also have the right to speak to them. And our message is quite clear: “Be quiet!”


Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.