What happened to all the caution that our liberal politicians and biased media personalities advised regarding the linkage of a mass shooter’s motivation or connection to outside groups?

When Maj. Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood while shouting “Allah Akbar,” the aforementioned were very wary of linking his actions to Islamic terrorists. “Let’s not rush to judgment!” was the mantra. In fact, they never did make the obvious connection.

Meanwhile, the story of the Tucson shootings had barely hit the wires when the partisans started playing the blame game.

Although Jared Loughner uttered no cries of “the tea party forever” as he shot up a political gathering, the left-wing partisans knew why he did it. It was all due to vitriolic rhetoric, the tea party, Sarah Palin, and anyone else who does not agree with liberal political policies.

Indeed Mr. Loughner, possessor of a well-documented record of bizarre behavior, has been identified by friends as a philosophical rather than political person.

Moreover, Loughner himself proclaims on his website that his beef with the government is about “grammar,” not political discourse.

Then, too, it has been reported that he felt Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had disrespected him at a previous meeting as far back as 2007, hence his actions.

But why would our hypocritical partisans let a gift like an unhinged gunman’s massacre be wasted?

Of course they need to assign blame to their ideological foes and silence them. Their aim is to make everything political. But of course their rhetoric is never vitriolic or mean-spirited.

Perhaps political discourse in our country would be much more reasonable if speakers and actors on both sides of the political spectrum were held to the same standard.

As it is now, the liberals’ hypocrisy is appalling.

Gerald Caruso

Falmouth 

In the aftermath of the Arizona tragedy, a firestorm of condemnation has erupted from all spectrums of the political landscape, each faction blaming the other for creating an atmosphere of hate, fear and violence which they claim was responsible for the casualties in Tucson.

Others are of the opinion that only an “unhinged” individual was to blame for the mayhem.

But even while innocent victims are recuperating or being laid to their final rest, the media are reporting that there will be very little change in our political climate regardless of who is to blame.

Our president’s compassionate televised address is being both praised and criticized, his words offering comfort to grieving families and nation, but they may not alter any attitudes.

A newly elected Congress, after paying tribute and praying for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ recovery, reconvenes to “do the people’s business,” attempting to repeal the health care reform act and whatever other laws they do not support.

The NRA will continue to lobby its friends in Congress to resist efforts to pass any laws that would control the sale and use of guns.

I will concede that most NRA members are responsible individuals and have the constitutional right to “bear arms” so they may hunt and provide for their own protection.

They must be aware, however, that the next time it may be a member of their own circle of family or friends who falls victim to a deranged, unhinged shooter.

Isn’t it just common sense that the next order of business for Congress should be to consider legislation to ban and thus deny access to semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines and other lethal add-ons to semi-automatic pistols to those irresponsible individuals who would commit these senseless acts of violence?

What better way to protect all of us?

Phyllis Kamin

Cumberland

Here we go again: An alleged nut case uses a gun in Arizona and Chellie Pingree, our wonderful liberal representative to the U.S. Congress from southern Maine, said on TV Jan. 13 that she thinks we need more gun laws?

If a nut case wants a gun, he will find a way to get one. The only defense is a sane person with another gun. If we take away your gun, who will protect you?

Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away, and they will be glad to call the morgue to pick up your body, and they will even handle the paperwork.

Be sure to have someone call the TV stations and have them talk to your relatives on TV, it makes great news.

If you think we should not lose our rights that your father and grandfather fought for you to have and keep, then please take a moment to call or message Chellie to tell her to leave your gun rights alone.

Please pass this on to all Mainers: Pingree is not representing us. If a madman runs over 10 people, should we outlaw cars? If a madwoman uses a knife to kill another person, should we outlaw knives? How about bats (Linda Dolloff!), rocks, sticks and bows and arrows?

The price for living free is high, but it is worth it, and many people died for you to have it. Don’t give up any of your rights for so-called “safety” that isn’t even real.

David Call

Standish 

This letter is a thank-you to Bill Nemitz for writing a column that asks the real question in response to the Tuscon shooting. Why would anyone ever need a semi-automatic weapon that fires 30 consecutive rounds? As the week unfolded and pundits pondered about political tone, civility and whether or not there is enough funding to serve the mentally ill, I wondered why this country allows the manufacturing and sale of semi-automatic weapons at all?

Deciding you need a semi-automatic weapon in and of itself may be a sign of mental instability, since the only purpose for such a weapon is to injure a fellow human being.

Has gun control become a forbidden topic in politics? Why has it been avoided as a debate in the news?

I also heard this week on National Public Radio that in Juarez, Mexico, the capital of drug shootings, all of the guns in that conflict are purchased quickly and cheaply right here in the United States. Why do criminals from Mexico come to the states to buy guns? It is because Mexico has very strict gun laws.

Let’s fight for a civil society that does not include guns. Let’s fight for gun control in Maine and everywhere else.

Tiki Fuhro

Portland 

Bill Nemitz’s column about 33-round magazines got me to thinking. It is fairly obvious why the Tuscon shooter chose a 33-round magazine; he wanted to commit mass murder. On the other hand, I have always wondered why a law-abiding gun owner would want a 33-round pistol.

Could it be that he wants to be ready in case 33 burglars break into his house some night, or is it possible he fears one burglar will break in and he might miss him 32 times?

George Howitt

Lyman 

Opposing political views are not the cause of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims. It goes back to gun ownership.

The United States is a virtual armory loaded with gun lovers, gun collectors, gun factories and gun shows where anyone can buy guns — even the insane.

Children have electronic games where the object is to kill as many of the enemy as possible. They play these games from the time they are able to press a button.

They become so inured by death and mass killings, is it any wonder that mass killings seem commonplace to them?

Mass killings will only become more common because Congress will never do anything to limit access to guns because of the powerful lobbying by the NRA.

And for those who swear by the Second Amendment, they may own a musket and have a militia. But individuals do not a militia make.

Russell E. Sprague

West Baldwin 

Bravo to Ron Bancroft for his Jan. 18 column, “Politics of gun control debate stifle common-sense reforms.”

There are many, many aspects of gun control Americans already agree on — gun owners and non-gun owners alike.

On Jan. 14, Mayors Against Illegal Guns conducted a poll using two polling firms, one with mostly Democratic clients and one with mostly Republican clients.

The results showed strong support, from both gun owners and non-gun owners, for a number of common-sense gun laws, including that 58 percent of those polled supported a ban on the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines; 69 percent supported requiring ammunition buys to have background checks; 86 percent supported requiring all gun buyers to have background checks; and 90 percent supported fixing the gaps in current databases to prevent mentally ill and drug users from getting guns.

The problem comes when the gun lobby muddies the issue. The gun lobby sells fear and the paranoid notion that any gun control means all guns will be banned.

The result is that legislators brave enough to sponsor a gun control bill are inundated with intimidating, bullying phone calls and e-mails from angry gun owners who believe there should be no restrictions on gun ownership.

Fortunately, these zealots are a small percentage of our community. Unfortunately, they speak loudly and carry big guns and have convinced legislators to stay away from the issue of gun control.

Until our elected officials hear differently from the overwhelming majority of us who believe in common-sense gun regulation, this situation will not change.

Cathie Whittenburg

States United to Prevent Gun Violence

Portland