I've just read the news of the terrible tragedy in Arizona today. Congresswoman Giffords was wounded, and a federal judge killed, by a lone shooter who is now in custody. The congresswoman is now the second House member to be shot in the line of duty in my lifetime, as far as I know, the other being Congressman Leo Ryan who was killed by members of the Jim Jones cult in Guyana in 1978. What a tragedy! I'm reminded of the sacrifices so many of our nation's founders faced so that Americans have the freedom to govern ourselves, and at the same time how fragile and unique and precious are the values and liberties Americans share. That this event shocks us is a sign of the inherent moral fiber that makes America a great nation.
Americans should not and will not allow events like this to deter us from involvement in politics and self-government. I already see in news reports the linkage between the shooting and Congresswoman Giffords' support of Obamacare, and I'm reminded how President Clinton and the Democrats used another tragedy in 1995 to demonize conservatives and to try to deter and discourage us from taking part in partisan politics. At the time, just after the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress, President Clinton linked the Oklahoma City federal building bombing to Rush Limbaugh and the "haters" encouraged by talk radio. Republicans and conservative activists, shocked by the bombing and on the defensive from Clinton's attacks, allowed themselves to be painted as sympathizers and encouragers of terrorists, and the righteous activism faded away. I fully expect a similar effort in the coming days from some quarters of the Democratic partisan attack machine.
Well, it won't work. Not this time. No one knows details yet, but only the shooter (and anyone who might have assisted him) is responsible for this crime. Americans cannot allow terrorism to bar us from doing those things that make us Americans, and that includes standing up for those values and ideas we believe in as part of the political process.
Let me emphasize again that no one who participates in American political give and take need feel guilt about the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the other victims today in Arizona. We should feel shock, sadness, and anger, and empathy for her and for her family and the other victims, but also resolve and fortitude to not let this tragedy be used by those who would advance their own agendas with the blood from their wounds and the tears of their families and the mourning of a nation.
For every left-wing partisan who tars conservatives with the taint of the Giffords shooter, I would counter with this: Democrats passed Obamacare in the face of massive public resistance, with almost no Republican votes, taking advantage of every parliamentary trick in the book, essentially making a mockery of the will of the people. This is in contrast to every other example of major social legislation in the last hundred years which were all passed on a bipartisan basis. Was it foreseeable that someone who was already mentally unbalanced might take their frustrations too far? I would say, yes, and I would say so no matter what motive is ultimately shown in the case of the Giffords shooter.
No, the blame belongs to the shooter and the shooter alone (and any possible conspirators), but if the Democrats want to use this horrendous event for their political advantage, they stand on very shaky ground. I don't believe the American public will let them, not this time. Let us today pray for Congresswoman Giffords and her family and the rest of the victims, mourn those who lost their lives, and resolve to honor them with our involvement in the political process and our refusal to let anyone trade on their sacrifice.