Guns and words

The shootings in Arizona immobilized me yesterday.

I know no one who died or was even present when an unstable young white man opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol on a group of people at political event. A 9-year-old child, a federal judge and four other people were murdered. A Congresswoman whose name I’d never heard before was seriously injured.

Why did I sit by me television all afternoon yesterday watching CNN, worrying about where our country was going?

There were 20 people shot by the unstable man. Three people in the crowd are credited with trying to stop the gunman. In fact they succeeded because the spring the second magazine failed.

The bravery of those few people in the crowd makes me feel there is some hope. I search for more evidence of hope.

The Arizona sheriff made a few comments about the tone of political discourse in this country. No one has said the unstable man was connected with a political group.

The Milton Times, from its inception, has had a policy of refusing to print personal attacks. When we first announced the policy there was considerable testing by some people who wanted to use strong words to get their points across.

Over the years there have been a few times when attack words have slipped through the editting process but not many.

We believe that in a small community, like Milton, it is extremely important that our political leaders set an example for our children. How will our children learn to settle their own disputes?

There are people who believe controversy sells and inflammatory words sell even more. Perhaps that is so.

But there is a high cost for all of us if this is the bottom line.

Will this unstable young man’s actions lead to a cry for more civil debate? Will this incident lead to a discussion of whether automatic weapons should be taken off the retail market?  Indeed should someone be able to prove they are stable before buying a gun?

There is much to think about.

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