The Tragedy In Tucson

Posted: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm
By: Doug Lund
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As I write this, an Arizona congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition after being shot in the head by a mad man outside a Tucson, Arizona grocery store attack that killed six people including a nine year old girl,  federal judge and a couple of elderly religious leaders.

Briefing reporters, the local sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, strayed away from simply releasing basic facts of the case to offering some personal commentary.  Mr Dupnik blamed a climate of vitriol for helping create the circumstances in which the shooting took place. (I had to look up “vitriol.” I believe he means “caustic criticism.”)  He said, “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” The sheriff called on politicians and certain members of the media to tone down the rhetoric.

It didn’t take long for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann to get on the airwaves, acting like Edward R. Murrow reincarnated in voice and mannerisms, pointing a finger at the likes of Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and the Tea Party crowd for fueling the fires of anti government lunatics like 22 year old Jared Loughner. He called on everyone to put their guns down, literally and figuratively. To be fair, Olbermann apologized for any things he, himself, might have said on his program that could have provoked any of his left leaning followers into committing some act of violence. The truth is, Olbermann is just as adept at manufacturing rage  as any of those right wing “nut jobs” he accuses. He closed his lecture with Murrow’s  famous signoff, “Good night and good luck.”

Good Grief!

I’m not a fan of any of the political pundits on the airwaves..left or right. In fact, I can’t understand why President Obama would give Bill O’Reilly the time of day..much less granting a Super Bowl Sunday interview. How long do you think that will go before the smarmy O’Reilly interrupts the president several times with his embarrassing and condescending interjections? But I digress.

Sarah Palin’s ad, targeting democrats who favor the Health Care bill using symbols that look like the crosshairs of a rifle scope, may have been stupid..but I doubt that’s what pushed young Loughner over the edge.  It’s more likely he’s been a rejected loner all his life who is easily influenced by fellow crazies on the internet..violent video games..along with music and literature that promote hatred and vengeance. His cry for attention was to go after Representative Giffords and anyone around her with his recently purchased Glock semi automatic pistol blazing. We’ll know soon enough, I suppose, as this creature’s background is exposed in the light over the days and weeks ahead.

Odd that just a few days after my blog about former Keloland anchors who’ve gone on to success in big markets, two of them have been thrust right in the thick of this tragedy and one of the biggest stories of their careers.  Lou Raguse’s station, KMSB Tucson, has provided excellent insightful coverage. Steve Irvin’s station, KNXV in Phoenix, has also done a stellar job with Steve himself on the front lines in Tucson reporting live


  1. Lou Raguse says:

    Hey Doug,

    I’ve interviewed Gabby Giffords several times since moving here, including an in-depth piece for her 2008 re-election campaign. As a politician she reminds me of former SD Congresswoman Herseth-Sandlin — a moderate Democrat whom many conservatives could side with. As a person, she is very open and friendly… more “real” than most politicians. Her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly is a real nice guy as well. It’s very sad and surreal here. Although many of the political topics Giffords deals with are controversial, she is not a political lightning rod by any stretch. That’s part of what makes it so hard to grasp. She’s not someone who you would think needs extra security because of who she is. It’s just senseless.

  2. I would rather be fishing says:

    I thought these were some very surprising and interesting comments from Joe Scarbroug(former GOP congressman): “Nobody can find a direct link to a Sarah Palin ad or a Michele Bachmann statement or the extreme rants from the left,” he says. “But it serves as a very clear warning to everyone involved in politics that there are unbalanced people out there who may seize on any words they hear and the consequences may be devastating. “Timothy McVeigh didn’t come to his conclusions about government in a vacuum.” While the case of Arizona gunman Jared Loughner is very different, he says, “we warned for three years that those who are most affected by the harsh language are people who are detached from reality and can hear the ranting on cable or in parts of the blogosphere.” And yesterday on the news former GOP congressman Joe Scarbrough and conservative stalwart Pat Buchanan agreed that right-wing firebrands like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) should “apologize” for their violent rhetoric — not to assume any culpability for the tragedy, but to simply acknowledge that “they’ve been irresponsible in their rhetoric”…..

    WOW! I don’t know what else to say! WOW!

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