Just listened to Neal Conan's program, Talk of the Nation, on National Public Radio. Neal devoted the first part of the show to the Tucson shootings. One of his guests was Randy Graf, a former Arizona state house rep and Giffords' Republican opponent in 2006. Mr. Graf spoke of how politics is a tough business; how Sheriff Clarence Dupnik stepped over the line when he described Arizona as a focal point for overheated rhetoric and bigotry; and the NRA platitude, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."
Yes, politics is a tough business. Things are said. Policies are going to offend at least half the electorate. I hope Mr. Graf isn't lumping the toughness of politics in with assassination, attempted or otherwise. 'Cause it sure sounds like it.
Again, at least half the electorate agrees that political rhetoric is overheated. Sheriff Dupnik is a law enforcement officer. That he made these remarks after a shooting rampage seems perfectly appropriate to me. And it's not like overblown rhetoric creating a hostile environment is a new idea--people have been talking about cooling it down for a long, long while. Why is it so outrageous to say it after a shooting? Does it mean that Mr. Graf and others want to keep open the option of throwing rhetorical flames? Is what Sheriff Dupnik said more outrageous than the conditions leading up to the shootings, or the shootings themselves? As in when the governor of Arizona makes the statement that many headless bodies have been found in the Arizona desert and which she later has to retract?
And as for guns killing people--ay, yay, yay. I'll quote a caller to TOTN, who said in response to Mr. Graf's recitation, "Try telling that to the mother of the nine-year-old girl."