Yesterday in the aftermath of the shootings in Arizona yesterday that killed six people, including a nine-year old girl and a federal judge, and critically wounded Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik said the following at a press conference:
Mr. Dupnik called the shooting a “very sad day for Tucson” and a “horrendous, horrendous, senseless, unbelievable crime.” And then he blamed the crime on the rhetoric — presumably political rhetoric — in the country.
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” he said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
Mr. Dupnik said it is time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.”
He added: “The vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business … This has not become the nice United States that most of us grew up in.”
Later, he said: “It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”
After something as horrific as this you might expect “leaders” to heed this kind of advice, or at the very least make an appeal for civility, much less look for something in the way of accountability.
Sadly for those in Arizona a response like this from Sen. Jon Kyl who represents them will be of little comfort:
A clearly angry Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) challenged Dupnik during an appearance Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” – arguing that Giffords was a Second Amendment backer who would likely oppose what he called a “rush to judgment.”
“I didn’t think that had any part in a law enforcement briefing last night. It was speculation and I don’t think we should rush to speculate,” Kyl told host Bob Schieffer.
Referring to Loughner’s online political rants – which seem more generically anti-government than explicitly partisan – Kyl added, “It’s probably giving him too much credit to ascribe a coherent political philosophy to him. We just have to accept that there are some unstable people in this country. Who knows what motivates them?”
Yes, you certainly wouldn’t want a “rush to judgment” on something like this, which has only been published publicly on the Internet since March of 2010:
And that’s just ONE example out of many.
Kyl also does her the disservice of putting words in the mouth of Giffords herself, while ignoring what she actually said about the very same SarahPAC map here last year. Giffords in fact did express concerns about the violent rhetoric as well as the Palin “crosshairs” map.
To make a statement as Kyl did is frightening, is as irresponsible as it gets, and yes, pathetic.
Was Kyl elected to serve the people of Arizona, or was he elected to merely throw up your hands in the face of violence and say “Who knows what motivates them?” He might as well have just said “who cares?” Let me be the first to suggest that Kyl use that phrase on his campaign the next time around.
Better yet, it would make a great campaign slogan for what today’s Republican Party really represents: WHO CARES?
They don’t need “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz for that.
Meanwhile, in the short-term, if you’re looking for accountability, you certainly won’t get it from Jon Kyl.