When we celebrated our one-year-old grandson’s birthday in Tucson on December 29, I went to the nearest grocery store to buy the ice cream. It was a Safeway store located in a shopping center on the corner of Ina and Oracle. On Saturday, that very store was in the news as the scene for a most horrific shooting. As I have watched the coverage the past couple of days, I can visualize from my own experience the very spot where one young man carried out his sinful deed. Less than two weeks ago, I was there.
The object of his ire apparently was his congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. He succeeded in shooting her in the head, yet even though the bullet went through her brain, she remains alive in an intensive care unit. Doctors are cautiously optimistic, but any recovery will be slow. In the process, the shooter, later identified as Jared Loughner, killed six people outright, one being federal judge John Roll; a total of twenty were injured by his bullets. Fortunately, he was captured on the spot and is now in custody.
Almost immediately, information on Loughner surfaced. I’ve seen his You Tube screeds. If you’ve seen them, you know they are largely chaotic in nature with a logic that sometimes defies definition. Without doubt, they are the product of a troubled mind.
He is an atheist—that much is clear. Beyond that, it’s difficult to find much consistency in his belief “system,” if that’s the proper term for it. On the one hand, he writes about reading the Constitution and believes in holding gold rather than fiat money. Yet he’s not a “conservative.” Two of his favorite books are The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. His atheism separates him from traditional morality based on God’s law. One of his high school acquaintances remembers him as someone who was ”left wing, quite liberal” politically. Another called him a “hater,” adding, “He was a goth-type. He was more of an outcast.”
In other words, he is in no way connected, philosophically or in practice, with modern conservatism or the Tea Party movement.
That has not stopped some extremists from using this tragedy for their own political purposes. Leftist bloggers have already blamed Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and any opposition to the Obama agenda for Loughner’s actions.
I was watching the Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, in his news conference Saturday evening when I was bowled over by his editorializing. I’d never heard of Sheriff Dupnik previously; I had no idea of his political leanings, but he didn’t leave a nationwide audience in the dark for long.
He immediately rushed to judgment, placing the blame for the shootings on what he called “vitriolic” comments from talk radio [code for Rush Limbaugh et. al.]. He then proceeded to trash his own state of Arizona, labeling it the most bigoted state in the nation [presumably for its strong stance against illegal immigration]. This man was supposed to be giving an update on the day's proceedings; instead, he chose to unleash what I would consider to be "vitriol" of the lowest caliber.
Yesterday, in an interview with Fox News, Dupnik followed up his initial comments by declaring that Loughner's actions were the result of an atmosphere created when “one party is trying to do something to make this country a better country and the other party is trying to block them.” For Dupnik, the party trying to make things better is the Democrats and the party trying to block them is the Republicans.
Can this man be trusted to be involved in an honest investigation of the facts?
The one thing the sheriff said that was true is that the political discourse has become heated. He didn't help the situation, however; all he did was fan the flames with false accusations. The New Testament book of James provides this instruction:
But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
Let's allow the righteousness of God to come to the forefront at this time.