Shooting prompts many valid questions

The senseless shooting in Tucson was one of the most terrible days in our country's history. It is a reason for all Americans to examine our own consciences to find ways to improve our actions locally and nationally. President Obama's admonishment of the "blame game" that began almost immediately after the shooting was the very strong and proper first step in the process.

However, as we begin to try to understand the "why" and see what we can do to improve our communal interactions in the future, the following thoughts need to be included:

- While this was certainly horrific, why was the reaction so significantly more than the tragedy of the Fort Hood shooting?

- Why is the role of the mainstream media so biased to one set of views in this country vs. reporting all sides and, most importantly, the facts?

- Why is one side always so quick to launch personal attacks, whether it be allegations of vitriol, racism or threats to individual welfare of the middle class?

- Why is "political correctness" the most important element in all analyses and debates and conclusions on any issues of national importance?

- Why is no one in politics or the media willing to suggest that possibly the Tucson shooting could be related in part to the less-than-civil manner Arizona has been attacked by this administration since Arizona passed its immigration legislation?

- Why is no one in politics or the media willing to suggest all the warning signs of the deranged mind-set of the shooter were there as far back at 10 years ago? Perhaps it is that our overall mental-health program is broken. No one suggested the Pima County sheriff, who has been most critical of one side ever since the shooting, seems to be the one who appears to have some responsibility for the way his department failed to act in response to these many warning signs.

Remember -- as we discuss fixes needed to address our mental illness problems in this country -- that the use of institutions to ensure unstable people would not be threats to themselves or others was done away with because of the demands of this same side more than 40 years ago that the use of such institutions constituted a violation of individual rights.

These thoughts, if carefully included in the analysis and political and public debate, will expand the conversation into areas that also need to be addressed if we are really going to change the direction of this country.

Joel Cote

Aiken, S.C.

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