This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published January 12, 2011 on Townhall.com
I formerly lived twelve minutes from that Safeway grocery store in Tucson. I worked four minutes from it. My wife and I sometimes shopped there. I first met Rep. Gabrielle Giffords eight years ago when she was a state senator. "Call me Gabby," she told me. And I did.
Now in the wake of the tragedy that left the Arizona Democrat gravely wounded and six others dead - including a federal judge, a congressional staffer, a nine year-old girl, and an elderly gentleman who shielded his wife with his body, sacrificing his own life - the Far Left can't restrain itself from intruding upon Tucson's grief. Banning guns and silencing dissent is not the solution, and conservatives are not to blame.
It started with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a Democrat. At a moment when decency and duty require being a nonpartisan policeman, Dupnik immediately blamed political opponents for this murderer.
He later had the gall to say on Fox News that the problem in this country is that we have one political party trying to stop the other party from making America a better place. Let me guess which party you're blaming, Democrat Dupnik.
Dupnik disingenuously asserts that he's only expressing his personal opinion. That's so ridiculous, it insults voters' intelligence. In this setting, when Dupnik speaks, he's not a private citizen; he's the sheriff.
In this tragedy, he should keep his partisan mouth shut, and strictly confine himself to nonpartisan law-enforcement. Instead, he's blaming Rush Limbaugh.
Now the Left has descended in force. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-AZ, faults Arizona for not having stricter gun control. A New York Times columnist railed that the Glock-19 used, "is extremely easy to fire over and over," and slanderously insinuated that somehow the NRA shares blame. Another writer argues for changing the Second Amendment.
These statements are absurd. A Glock-19 is an ordinary handgun. It's not high-powered and doesn't fire more rapidly than other handguns. Countless Americans carry it for personal protection, and many policemen carry one on duty.
This has nothing to do with Arizona law, in that Loughner was a 22-year old who had never been convicted of a felony, never been mentally treated, and never been involved in a violent act. He could have obtained a Glock-19 in any state in the country.
Except reports are surfacing that Loughner had a history of making threats and that law enforcement was alerted at least once that Loughner could be dangerous. No action was taken. The problem there is confronting menacing individuals, not passing new laws.
Loughner is to blame. It may be that others were also to blame when warning signs emerged. But conservatives are not to blame. As Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, says, Loughner is a degenerate, not some political actor.
To the extent that this evil thug has any politics, his lauding Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto puts him on the left, not the right.
Nor is the First Amendment to blame. With shameless hypocrisy, liberals who have used certain metaphors in previous elections now seek to criminalize conservatives who do the same.
We must all speak with civility, but we mustn't create a federal thought-police to investigate every vague use of common words like "target."
It's already a federal crime to threaten a federal official, and there's a long list of liberal diatribes that cross the line with violent imagery.
There's no perfect solution. Congressmen will start having police at public events. But that prudent step can't protect them 24-7, and won't help 300 million Americans who don't have security details. Evil people will always find a weapon with which to try harming innocent people.
The Second Amendment was written to combat this, recognizing the right of every law-abiding, peaceable citizen to bear ordinary firearms--like a Glock-19--to defend themselves and others.
A killer randomly shooting people in a crowd where several people are carrying Glock-19s wouldn't fire more than a few rounds before being shot himself. Although tragically this wouldn't have helped Gabby, it nonetheless could have saved lives.
The police can't be everywhere. An officer's presence at her event would not have deterred this twisted killer; Loughner could likely only be stopped by the officer's gun. That's why the Constitution guarantees every law-abiding American the right to defend his or her own life.