Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Congresswoman Giffords' tragedy

The shooting of congresswoman Giffords in Arizona this week was a terrible event, and I send healing energy to her, her loved ones, and all of those affected by this tragedy.

To me, there are three changes I would like to see as a result of this tragedy.

First, we have no ability to protect ourselves and our society from people who are known to be dangerously disturbed.  We are not allowed to commit or to force involuntary medication on people who frighten us with their sickness.  I am afraid that civil libertarians have been too successful in protecting the rights of those that are a danger to themselves and to us.  They have let their ideology of ensuring that the mentally ill are treated with respect overwhelm the original principle of helping those that are in desperate need of help, and the rest of us are vulnerable to their delusions and paranoia, and sometimes, we are targets of their violence.

Second, I wish there was a system in place where people are required to report the dangerously disturbed into a data base that would make it impossible for them to pass the background check to get a gun.

Third, I would like the extreme polarization of the left and right in our political spectrum to become less noticed by the rest of us.  Even better, I would like each end of the spectrum to lower the incendiary rhetoric.  The right wing demonizes the left with incendiary speech, and so too does the left demonize the right with incendiary speech.  Unfortunately, it seems to me, immediately after the shooting, the left leapt into action with inflammatory accusations that Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and the right wing had created an environment of hatred that led to this shooting.  And they did so with no evidence that the shooter, Loughner, was even a right winger.  Their own paranoia kicked in, and they became the ones who were inflaming the country with incendiary speech.  Are they sure that a similarly disturbed person might not decide to go after Palin or Limbaugh? 

It might still prove to be that Loughner was driven by right wing inflammatory ideas, but it is looking more and more like he had very little connection to politics, and was enraged at her for being part of the government, which his paranoia told him was trying to control his mind – the mind that he could not control because of his paranoia and delusions.