Monday, January 10, 2011

Libertarian ideology leads to tragedy

Right-wing ideology is responsible for the Arizona shootings. When I say this, I do not mean overheated rhetoric by politicans/pundits/talk show hosts. Overheated rhetoric has been a part of American political discourse since the 1780s. Sarah Palin isn't even remotely responsible for this madman's action. As this New York Times article by Gail Sheehy points out, an ultra-libertarian approach to gun control in Arizona has led to this tragedy. This paragraph sums up her case wonderfully:

But you do not hear much about the fact that Jared Loughner came to Giffords’s sweet gathering with a semiautomatic weapon that he was able to buy legally because the law restricting their sale expired in 2004 and Congress did not have the guts to face up to the National Rifle Association and extend it.

My prediction: the public won't learn anything from this murderous assault. On FOX /MSNBC/CNN there will be angry partisan Democratic pundits trying to blame Sarah Palin/ Michelle Bachmann/Rush Limbaugh for this action. Then Republicans will come back with examples of hysterical statements from liberal speakers. A lot of noise, but no enlightement. The real issue—severely mentally ill people getting dangerous weapons— won't get much publicity. If you doubt me, read Paul Krugman's column today (I'm not linking to it because a Nobel laureate should be able to think more clearly).

Also, I do not expect Arizona, or any other state for that matter, to revise its gun laws. I do,however, see the cliches are coming: "when guns are outlaws only outlaws will have guns," guns don't kill people, people kill people," etc..

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