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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

A Senseless Act

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


I was away at a meeting when news of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords broke. We watched the news during breaks and I spent about half an hour late last night after our meeting broke up catching up on the news.

Initially, I had a bit of a mental knee jerk and was ready to blame it on the current state of political rhetoric. The fact is, we don't know enough facts to pin blame. At this point I'm willing to wait and find out more about his motives (from more than what people have dug up on the internet) first.

One thing I do know pretty much for certain: A single guy subverted the will of the entire electorate in that district. Yes, it was a close race, but the way our system works is that a representative is elected with a majority of the votes. We generally understand that there is a lawful process for removing someone from office. When someone, for whatever reason, acts on their own (or with a group of people) to remove someone through violence, they've just deprived every other person in that constituency the right to decide the fitness of their representative for themselves.

While I'm praying for the recovery of Giffords and the other victims that are still alive, I find it hard to imagine that Giffords will ever be whole again. On a personal level, the gunman took that away from her, not to forget the lives of six people including an innocent nine year-old girl. The other victims will have to live with this for the rest of their lives as well.

Again, I'm not ready to jerk my knee and ascribe this act to extreme right or left wing politics. Amid renewed calls for civility, there's talk of a bill to make it illegal to use symbols such as crosshairs and bullseyes to threaten the president. Restrictions on free speech aren't the answer. It needs to start with the politicians and the pundits. Notch down the rhetoric. Grow a pair and take the lead. You're supposed to be setting an example. Do it.

I'm going to close with something a little off-topic, but very upbeat: Egyptian Muslims act as human shields for Coptic Christmas Mass. It's a very uplifting story.

Tags:Politics

Filed under: Politics            
1/9/2011 5:23:32 PM
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