Words from the founding fathers

Words from the founding fathers

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 8:01 pm
By: Nathan Castleman, Guest Columnist

Zach Osler, in an interview Wednesday with ABC’s “Good Morning America” said, “He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.”

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams’ argument in defense of soldiers in the Boston Massacre trials (Dec 1770).  

Here are a few facts as related to last Saturday’s shooting in Tuscon:

1. Jared Loughner was the man identified by authorities as the gunman in the shooting rampage, which killed six and critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 13 others.

2. He acted alone.

3. He was a troubled young man who left evidence of his dark delusional mind: favorite books – “The Communist Manifesto” and “Mein Kampf”, a series of homemade videos and post on the Internet expressing his twisted views, one video with the background soundtrack saying repeatedly, “Let the bodies hit the floor!” 

4. People noticed his bizarre behavior and rantings to the point that they were afraid of him. His Algebra professor said, “I was afraid he was going to bring a weapon like a gun to campus.  One student sat next to the door so she could have a quick getaway.” 

5. Between February and September last year, campus police were called five times to deal with disruptions Loughner caused in classrooms and libraries.

6. Finally two police officers from the Pima Community College in Tuscon delivered a letter of suspension to Loughner at his parents’ house.  

7. In a meeting with Jared and his parents, school officials told him that he could return only if he obtained a clearance certifying that “in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others.” 

8. None of his writings, declarations or postings associate him with any political or radical group. One of the high school friends who spoke to the AP reportedly paused when asked if he considered Loughner a Republican or Democrat. “Is there a radical party? It went beyond that, it wasn’t left or right,” the friend said.

9. There were at least three heroes during this tragedy.  Two men who wrestled Loughner to the ground and a 61-year-old lady who took the next round of ammunition from him and helped contain him.

10. President Obama set the example of how our leaders should respond –  “We are still assembling all the facts … A suspect is currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act. A comprehensive investigation is currently underway … What Americans do at times of tragedy is to come together and support each other. So at this time I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including Gabby, in our thoughts and prayers.”

11. The Army denied Loughner’s application for unspecified reasons.

12. Loughner had a history of problems with mind-altering substances. 

13. There was no police presence at the rally.

14.  Congresswoman Giffords had threats in the past and the door of her Tuscon headquarters smashed.

15. Under Arizona law, the school could have sought an involuntary psychiatric evaluation for Loughner, but didn’t.

16. According to federal records, of 121,000 records of disqualifying mental illness in Arizona, only about 5,000 were entered into the national database between 2008 and 2010. That means some people deemed mentally unstable could still get their hands on a gun. 

17. Zach Osler (Loughner’s high school best friend), in an interview Wednesday with ABC’s Good Morning America said: “He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.”

These are the facts that we have to deal with in this situation. There are some who are trying to conjure up their own facts. From the sheriff in Tuscon to news media people to elected officials who want to blame the conservatives, talk radio, posters, news outlets, people expressing their right of free speech and people across the aisle. 

In doing so, they are perpetuating the very acts that they say caused Jared Laughner to pull the trigger.  Then there are those in Congress who are introducing legislation to ban words and symbols, and make stricter gun laws.  

Everyone needs to stop and look at the facts, and not make up your own facts.  At a time like this calmer heads need to prevail.

It comes down to the fact that a very disturbed young man chose to commit an act that should cause us all to stop and be Americans who care for those who were shot and their families.  

It’s not time to start pointing fingers just because you have an opportunity to take a jab. Let the officials do their jobs and wait for the facts. Then we can have an informed discussion. 

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams

Send me your comments by email to foundingwords@yahoo.com.

wcp 1/13/11

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