The assassination attempt yesterday in Tucson of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the attendant massacre of 6 of her constituents and the injury of 13 others was apparently the work of an obviously mentally unstable young man. Here’s a report from his community college instructor and a fellow student, in which they report that they were afraid he’d bring a gun to class. (More details here in this earlier report.) (H/t to this thread at TalkLeft.)
As I’ve written here before, on sadly too many occasions in the past three years, it’s clear that this massacre was the work of the same kind of person who always engages in spectacular incidents of gun violence. It’s almost always a man, frequently a young man (under 25 or so), and it’s usually someone whose mental illness has been obvious to others for a long time. How do these people get guns, and how would banning assault weapons not be a reasonable public health measure? (And isn’t it sad in this country, where this scale of violence is commonplace, that we speak of mitigating the damage, rather than stopping it? Isn’t it a shameful admission of defeat that we might see a massacre of “only” two or three people as something to celebrate?)
I’ve been working and playing hard offline this weekend. I will return next week to post more on Tony Grafton’s call to arms, as promised.