It will be all too easy and popular to claim that the shooting in Arizona that killed six people was caused by the vitriol prevalent in American political discourse, but as usual the easy and popular explanation of this tragedy will avoid the truth, R. Lee Wrights, libertarian writer, activist and potential 2012 presidential candidate said in a statement today. This is reprinted from the Liberty for All blog.
“As a father of two daughters myself, I am especially saddened by the murder of a 9-year-old girl, and I mourn the death of all those killed,” Wrights said. “I pray for the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and all those injured.”
“I understand that in our grief it’s naturally for us to want to know why such a terrible thing happened,” Wrights continued. “So it will be easy and popular for people to attempt to explain this awful event by laying the blame on everything from so-called hate speech, to the rhetoric of the Tea Party movement and political talk show hosts.”
“Sadly, that won’t give us the true answer. Everyone will conveniently overlook the fact that this was the horrible act of one, very troubled individual,” Wrights observed. “No matter what other factors were present, no matter what pressures, ideas or words he was exposed to, one individual made the decision to commit this horrible crime.”
“We shouldn’t let grief, or political agendas, obscure the fundamental truth that the real culprit in this tragedy is the individual who pulled the trigger,” Wrights said. “Blaming this crime on anyone or anything else would be an unconscionable justification of his failure or inability to take responsibility for his own actions.”
“Unfortunately, it’s all too common in America today to justify bad behavior by blaming in on nebulous causes like upbringing, environment or society in general. No one is willing to take responsibility for their actions,” Wrights said.
“If the person who committed this heinous act has mental or emotional problems, that could mitigate his guilt, but should not excuse or justify his action,” Wrights said.
“I began this new year by resolving to cleanse myself of hate, resentment, and bitterness, and focus on using the tools of peace, love, mercy and forgiveness against the weapons of war, hate, vengeance, and cruelty,” Wrights resolved. “I also resolved to remain civil in my political discourse and treat all people I encounter with the dignity and respect that is their due as human beings.”
“This terrible act only increases my determination to keep those commitments. If we are going to put an end to violence in our nation, if we are going to stop all war, then we must begin by stopping the use of war-like words in our political debates,” Wrights reflected.
“Words did not cause this tragedy anymore than words will bring back the dead or heal the wounded. So, we must be ever careful to not allow the words of talking heads and political pundits to push America into another unnecessary war,” Wrights concludes. “Let’s not be drawn into a war against one of the most precious freedoms we Americans still enjoy… the freedom of speech.”
R. Lee Wrights is a writer and political activist living in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Contact Lee at email@example.com.