In the wake of the horrific shooting in Arizona, we’re seeing a first hand account that journalism is in fact the first rougth draft of history.Â For many commenters on media sites and political blogs, the details aren’t coming fast enough which suggests some sort of conspiracy of course.Â This is hogwash.Â In the flurry of rapid gunfire, the rules of journalism still apply and the public should exhibit some patience.
Some items reported as fact that have turned out to be false:
- The suspect was a veteran (no, he wasn’t; he failed military physicals).
- That Congresswoman Giffords had died (she’s still in critical condition)
- That there was a second suspect (police have cleared a cab driver who drive the suspect to the event as a simple car service)
- That the shooter was a registered Democrat or a Liberal because “Mein Kapmf” and “The Communist Manifesto” were his favorite books. No wait, he was a registered RepublicanÂ because he shot a Democrat who voted for healthcare reform.Â The Arizona Star reports he was a registered independent who last voted in 2008 citing information from the Pima County Registrar of Voters.
- That Democrats were using the shooting for fundraising (a fundraising “bug” on email doesn’t go away no matter what content of the email to members is; Republican organizations also have the same “donate” bug.Â Using a tragedy to raise money should only be allowed if the funds raised are going towards the victims and their families to help with burial costs or law enforcement.
I like to tell people some of the my best friends are conservatives and Republicans because it’s true.Â What unites us as Americans is much greater than what divides us as partisans.Â I attended the first “Drinking Conservatively” event in Costa Mesa as the guest of Red County’s Chip Hanlon and had a great time speaking with Red County blogger Cynthia Ward and her husband. And likewise, we have conservatives attend Drinking Liberally events in Santa Ana regularly; a common theme that emerges with Democrats and Republicans alike — we have elected officials and candidates in our own parties that wae love and others we wish would be better representatives of our parties.
What this shooting has brought to light is some of the ugly side of “free speech.” We urge responsible speech to rule the day and suggest the public be patient as facts are uncovered and revealed in the case.Â We pray for the full recovery of all those wounded and we weep for the families of those who lost loved ones in this sensless tragedy.Â
And we have some questions:
- For those “second amendment” absolutionists out there, what is the purpose of a Glock?Â It’s overkill for “personal protection” and not appropriate for hunting.Â
- If the shooter was suspended from community college until he had a complete pyschiatric evaluation, does that institution have a legal obligation to inform law enforcement of this development and should that have come up on a background check before he bought the weapon in mid-December?
- What does a background check for a handgun consist of in Arizona when purchasing a handgun.
- The Republican leaders in the House made a big deal of reading the edited version of the US Constitition aloud at the beginning of the 112th Congress; with Justice Scalaia being an advocate of the “original intent” of the Constitution, should we intrepret the second amendment to apply to single shot muskets only which was the firearm technology available when the Constitution was drafted?
- Will Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rish Limbaugh,Michelle Bachman, Â Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Sharon Angle and others actually think about the words they choose when making public statements.Â Sarah Palin’s references to “reloading,” Sharon Angles “second amendment solution to losing at the ballot box,” and Michelle Bachman’s “want Americans armed and dangerous” comments come to mind.Â We are all for free speech, but free speech most be responsible speechÂ where ideas are debated and threats are not made.Â