Monday, January 10, 2011


Thank you, Gail Collins, for saying in your column today what StraightMan and I have been telling each other all weekend:

Today, the amazing thing about the reaction to the Giffords shooting is that virtually all the discussion about how to prevent a recurrence has been focusing on improving the tone of our political discourse. That would certainly be great. But you do not hear much about the fact that Jared Loughner came to Giffords’s sweet gathering with a semiautomatic weapon that he was able to buy legally because the law restricting their sale expired in 2004 and Congress did not have the guts to face up to the National Rifle Association and extend it.

Regardless of how one interprets the Second Amendment and the "right to bear arms," I like to think that other Americans generally agree there is no reason for a "right" to carry a concealed semiautomatic weapon to a shopping mall, a bar (as Arizona state law apparently allows!) or a school or college campus (which Arizona sensibly does not permit). Or as the sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, himself told reporters: “I have never been a proponent of letting everyone in this state carry guns under almost any situation, and that’s almost where we are.”

This morning, I read through news accounts of the shooting, and what really shocked me was how quickly it happened: About 15 seconds. Why do we need such efficient gun technology to be so readily available to anyone? Honestly.

Yesterday, I cried when I read about Christina Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed in the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords. It made think about my own little girl (and little boy), and made me realize how intolerable I find the thought that any of us needs to fear for our safety in terms of gun violence.

The solution is not to retreat behind metal detectors and tighter surveillance - or to abstain from participation in public events like Giffords' meet-and-greet at Safeway.

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