In Knoxville, Tennessee Sunday morning began like any other Sunday for the congregation of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. It did not end that way.
Two people are dead, seven others are injured, because a gunman motivated by frustration over his inability to get a job, and hatred of the “liberal movement,” took his frustration out on the congregation. The gunman, Jim Adkisson, allegedly chose the church because of the liberal values of the congregation including their open willingness to accept homosexuals.
It seems that the gunman had been convinced, probably by right-wing radio talk show hosts like Hannity, O’Rilley, Lindbaugh, Dobson, and Robertson to name a few, that “liberals” are to blame for everything that is wrong in one’s life. Their hate filled rants are just the spark needed to ignite the fuel of discontent created by the policies of the current Republican administration.
In the past few days there has been an uproar from Republican activists in Orange County over Sheriff Sandra Hutchens’ decision to review all Conceal and Carry (CCW) permits issued by here predecessor, Mike Carona. It is widely believed that some permits may have been issued as political favors, possibly in return for campaign contributions. Opponents to the Sheriff’s decision to review existing permits have cited the “right” to bear arms” as the only necessary justification for the permits. They have objected to medical and psychological evaluation; background checks, and most loudly to the possibility that applicants may be subject to a polygraph tests to receive a permit.
While backgroung checks, or medical and psychological evaluations, would not have prevented the horror of this past Sunday, the wisdom of using them to decide who gets to carry a concealed weapon cannot be dismissed simply because this disraught assassin used a shotgun instead of a handgun.
Now I can imagine that the “2nd Amendment” activists will argue that the mere fact that there are crazy people out there with access to shotguns is sufficient to demonstrate the need to be issued a CCW permit for self defense. That logic is rooted in the same flawed rationale that guided Mr. Adkisson in his belief that he had the “Right to Shoot Liberals.”
The shooting in Tennesse demonstrates that the right to bear arms is one which should be fairly and rationally regulated. I have no problem with people who have a compelling need to carry a concealed firearm having the ability to do so. I just think we are all safer in a society where the number of people carrying guns is limited to the few that really have a compelling, and substantial need to.
And for the record, just because the economy sucks doesn’t mean it is open season on liberals and homosexuals.