Sunday, January 9, 2011

Arizona shootings...

I was a little perplexed early this afternoon whilst watching ABC 24's report on the shootings that had occurred earlier in Tuscon, Arizona. A gunman opened fire on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and those listening to her talk outside a shopping centre. Gifford, as well as 19 other people were shot. Six died, including a nine year old girl and a Federal Judge.
The sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, pointed to the vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country as he denounced the shooting that claimed several of his friends as victims. He announced that the perpetrator, Jared Loughner suffered from a 'mental illness' and went on to say: When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous...people "poo poo" the danger of vitriolic speech. That may be free speech but it's not without consequences.
Some of that free speech was related to issue surrounding immigration laws, however, I suspect that this an underhanded way of commenting on the recent controversy surrounding WikiLeaks and it's right to exercise free speech on line. I may be wrong.
I was troubled not only because innocent people had died and the white, male, perpetrator of the crime was only 22 years old, but the Sheriff who chose to focus upon the consequences of free speech, at no point brought up the issue of gun control and the fact that access to firearms in America is pervasive. Too many people are using guns in an attempt to solve their problems!
I've just turned on the television again and now ABC 24 are discussing the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill after previously screening a program on assisted suicide. All I can say is, if I have intolerable pain and little quality of life due to terminal illness, I hope that legislation is in place so that I can end my life with dignity. Shouldn't it be a Human Rights Issue, to have choice and control about how to end our days?

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