The media and public figures who have rushed to rule out a political motive for the Tucson massacre should inform Republican congressman Peter King of New York, because he sees a political motive.

He intends to introduce a bill in Congress that would forbid firearms within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress. Clearly he sees a political connection, as do other members of Congress who are planning to introduce other bills in response to this tragedy.

And how ironic that a Republican member of Congress should push legislation against guns when his own safety is at stake. No such concern for the general public, though! I’m sure Peter King toes the Republican party line on gun regulation in general.

But there’s more to the hypocrisy of the right. Leaders of the right like Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have engaged in the worst fear tactics and have called “liberals” every imaginable thing since the elections of 2008, but the minute any insinuation is made against them and their tactics they cry “boo-hoo,” just as Ms. Palin did last week.

Right-wingers are so convinced of their own God-given righteousness that they consider themselves untouchable.

The Tucson shooter may indeed have had no political agenda, and perhaps he is a psychotic who came unhinged and became just another agent of the mindless culture of violence that defines America. Perhaps he is neither right wing or left wing. But let’s not ignore his anti-government rantings that he posted on the Internet before the shootings.

Is there a political connection? Peter King seems to think so. And he is not a liberal.

Kostas Sarantidis

Portland

 

So, hate speech from political lunatic elements has no effect on hate action! That’s what your Jan.11 editorial would have us believe! (Critics too quick to find politics behind shooting”)! I suppose then, that allowing people to walk around carrying loaded weapons also had no effect on the Arizona assassinations!

Elliot Burton

Portland

 

Maine is not all that different from other states in that we get much of the same media as most other states do. That’s the biggest factor of all in this tragic incident.

We hear apologists say about Jared Loughner: “The shooter was so deranged, there’s no way to tell where he got the idea,” or “that guy was such a wacko he wouldn’t know politics if it bit him!”

That’s flat wrong. Legally “sane” or not, his writings and blogs, his choices as to the event, targets and weaponry all demonstrate his ability to design a plan and execute it effectively. His motivations are evident in his objectives.

It’s not likely that he’s uniquely vulnerable, nor that he’d be motivated solely by his exposure to hate radio and TV. More likely he’s had a steady diet of hate-mongering and lies from whomever he hangs around with. We can sometimes catch snippets of it at the coffee counter, on the job, at the bar, even in some organizational meetings.

Living on a restricted diet of that kind has deadly impact, as propagandists, political indoctrinators and certain talk show hosts have known for many, many years.

Famous ones abound in history. Goebbels, for instance, said: “He who owns history, owns the future,” meaning of course: “Control what people ‘believe’ about their history and you can control their future.”

We must face the potential for ideological hate-mongering and lying to erupt right here in Maine and, in fact, pretty much anywhere in our America today; that is, so long as we’re all willing to tolerate it.

Seabury Lyon

Bethel

 

 

Could rampage happen without large magazines?

 

The news of the Tucson, Ariz., shootings is shocking. Understandably, we are asking ourselves how did the level of political discourse in our country deteriorate to the point where such violence is involved.

Since biblical times, humans have been committing despicable acts of violence against each other.

The shooting in Tucson by Jared Loughner is yet another instance. Much as we pray for improvement in human behavior, there will always be Jared Loughners out there.

What has not always been the case, however, is easy access to weapons. Under pressure from the gun lobby, guns have become too easily accessible to dangerous individuals. In hindsight, Loughner should never have been allowed to buy the gun that he used to kill six and injure 13 more.

Because Congress refused to renew the assault weapons ban, he was allowed to acquire a gun that was specially designed to kill large numbers of humans as quickly as possible.

As a society we need to ask ourselves some hard questions:

Should high-capacity pistol magazines be sold to private citizens?

Is it too easy for those who are mentally ill to buy a gun?

Unless we have a serious and thoughtful discussion about these issues, we have no one but ourselves to blame if a Maine political leader is the next to be attacked.

Here in Maine, the Legislature has refused to ban the sale of assault weapons and refused to add all those who have been adjudicated to be mentally ill to the government’s official list of those prohibited from buying guns. How much longer will this continue?

There will always be disturbed, angry and dangerous people. But we can limit the amount of violence they commit by restricting their access to guns.

William Harwood

Yarmouth

 

Mental health column put right perspective on Tucson

 

I am writing to respond to the Jan. 11 Maine Voices column, written by Randy Seaver (“Where was mental health crisis care before Tucson tragedy happened?”).

Randy, you are praised for your courage to acknowledge your illness, and for your willingness to fight it.

You are a hero, a survivor.

Please read Randy’s writing – please heed his words, and please try to understand mental illness.

Carol DeRosa Keroack

Falmouth

 


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