Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Only in America: Putting a positive spin on assassination (video)

Glock semiautomatic handgun like the one used to shoot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and kill six innocent people in Tucson on January 8, 2010. (Photo Credit: Stinsonarms.com)

Regardless of what Bill O’Rielly says, right-wingers are the masters of spin.

I knew that my anti-gun-violence article in Sunday’s Tucson Citizen would spark a plethora of the 2nd Amendment freedom comments, but I was really surprised at the level of denial regarding the link between gun ownership and violence.

I was particularly shocked that some commenters said if there had been armed citizens in the crowd at the Safeway that they could have stopped the gunman from shooting 18 people and killing six. (That’s the ticket– a re-enactment of Shootout at the OK Corral in suburban Tucson. People, just because you own a gun doesn’t mean you magically know how to shoot straight.)

Another person basically said, S**t happens and brushed off the assassination attempt and mass murder as something that happens in a country with so many people.

In today’s Arizona Daily Star, the article Suspect faced no legal barrier to buying gun at local store the co-founder of a gun rights group, Charles Heller, parroted some of my readers’ comments and appears ready for the Tombstone re-enactment. (Emphasis added.)

To Heller, Saturday’s shooting rampage, which killed six and injured 14 outside a northwest-side Safeway store, is evidence of the wisdom of liberal gun laws.

“This shows why it is so vital to have an armed citizenry,” Heller said. “If you can’t get the guns out of society, what can you do? You can have a well-prepared citizenry.”

Personally, I agree with Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who called out Arizona politicians for passing racist laws and fanning the flames of hatred and bigotry in our state.

Now Dupnik is coming under fire from wing-nut talk radio host Jon Justice and Senator Jon Kyl. As the right mobilizes against Dupnik for having the nerve to speak truth to power, the left is organizing a boycott of Justice’s advertisers.

[tnivideo caption=”Clarence Dupnik, Pima County AZ Sheriff, Blames AZ Political Culture for Shooting” credit=”FOX News”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVOCPO_a_MI[/tnivideo]

30 comments on “Only in America: Putting a positive spin on assassination (video)

  1. yayabrotherhood
    January 10, 2011

    “regarding the link between gun ownership and violence.”

    You mean the fact that lawful gun owners are far less likely to commit crimes and cities with lawful gun ownership show a proven decrease in violent crime whereas cities with restrictive laws against lawful gun ownership are war zones?

    Thank you for publicizing these relationships. You are truly progressive.

    It is amazing that liberals ignore the thousands of murders that happen in large gun-restrictive cities, yet get angry only when a liberal is shot.  A perfect example of a county of men rather than a country of laws. Not too long before we turn into the gun-restrictive Socialist paradise of Mexico. 

  2. JoeS
    January 10, 2011
    • Pamela
      January 10, 2011

      Hey, Joe– keep those stats in hand when Pearce, Brewer, and McCain start up the fear-mongering machine again.
      Where is the direct cause-and-effect correlation between lax gun laws and safety?

  3. JoeS
    January 10, 2011

    “Local Congressman Heath Shuler and some other members of the House of Representatives say they will carry concealed weapons for protection in their home districts, following Saturday’s shooting of Arizona Democrat Gabby Giffords in Tucson.  Shuler says he will carry the permitted handgun only when he is away from Capitol Hill and visiting the mountains.  Shuler says he and most other House members rely on Capitol Police for security while in Washington.  Congressman Shuler had a serious threat made on his life in 2009 and says he has periodically armed himself since then.Rep. Shuler on Concealed Carry “

  4. Farah
    January 10, 2011

    Wasn’t one of the men that tackled the shooter armed? I vaguely remember him saying on the local news that he did not draw his weapon because he didn’t want to scare people. Having armed people everywhere doesn’t necessarily help. Making it difficult for inappropriate people to get weapons does not take away the rights of rational, safety conscious people that want to own those weapons. Responsible gun owners should not mind taking a safety course or having their background reviewed. And of course guns will find their way into the hands of loony toon nutjobs, no matter what laws are enacted or enforced. Is it so wrong to ask that it not be made easy?

  5. Trek
    January 10, 2011

    To all legal gun owners.  You have the right to buy, carry and shoot, but that right infringes on others safety and has proven to be the death of 6 people. How many more, especially children,  have to die before you stop being selfish. This is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is a humanitarian one.

    • A concerned American
      January 10, 2011

      The right to buy, carry and shoot does not infringe on anyone, and certainly doesn’t infringe on anyone’s safety.  “Legal Gun Owners” – those of us Americans who are over 21, have not committed felonies and aren’t going through some court action for “domestic violence” in nearly every state have either taken safety courses, are trained by the military, police or some other organization in gun safety.
      Your attempt to “emotionalize” this is noted though, and is little more than an exercise in futility.
      The young man who committed this heinous act is a murderer now.  An assassin.  That he was able to obtain a gun is one thing.  The fact that he was mentally unstable, a left wing, pot-smoking, conspiracy theory whacko is completely another.
      Be careful what you people attempt to ask for.  Asking for the banning of guns at this time in history will only exacerbate the political rift which you’re already pushing.

      • Bob
        January 10, 2011

        The fact that you think this kid was left-wing just demonstrates how delusional the right is. The NRA is the murderer’s best friend. They work guarantee that anyone can buy a gun or a hundred guns at any time. In what universe is a 30 shot clip required for self defense? This right wing nut job was known to be dangerous, known to have mental problems, yet he bought a gun, multiple 30 shot clips and ammunition perfectly legally. We here in AZ have people carrying guns all over the place. Did it prevent this tragedy? Of course it didn’t.
        If I ever buy a gun it will be to protect myself from right wing nuts, not criminals.

  6. Brad
    January 10, 2011

    Gun ownership = violence?  Your math is a bad as Jared Loughner’s algebra notes. You also failed to show your work.

    • JoeS
      January 10, 2011

      emotion trumps logic on the left,  always has.

      • beefrank
        January 10, 2011

        I think ‘hijacks’ or ‘erases’ would best describe the scenario.

  7. A concerned American
    January 10, 2011

    I would point out, Ms. Powers that one of the men who tackled the assassin was of “Right Wing” mettle and was also carrying a gun – which he did NOT pull out and use to kill the assassin.  Instead, he tackled the murderer so he can be held up by your side over and over as a “victim” now.
    I have carried a weapons for most of my life – and I’m over a half century old.  I have never once pulled out a weapon and used it on anyone as a civilian.  I’ve never “accidentally” shot anyone (or myself). I’ve never “committed suicide”.  I raised five children and guns were around their entire lives.  Never once did one of them pick up a gun and use it against another human being.  Every one of the learned proper gun safety.
    Criminals, Ms. Powers who obtain weapons with the intent to use them could care less for your “anti-gun laws”.  They will continue to get weapons, they will continue to use them, while people like yourself continue to try to disarm Americans.
    I wish you “Progressives” would start to understand, Americans are not going to give up our country to Socialism, Leftism, Communism or even Progressives like yourself.  Complain as much as you like, it’s a free country, but don’t try to change America into something more like Russia or Cuba.
    Not on my watch, Ms. Powers, and I served (and am still serving) this country in the military for nearly thirty years.

  8. american by birth
    January 10, 2011

    shi*t does happen, but the fact that you use an off the cuff statement by “SOMEONE” (who the eff is this “SOMEONE”) to fan the flames of bitterness and divide….

    hello, pot, meet kettle.

    you and Dupnik are two peas in a pod. one side of your mouth is saying how much you despise the animosity and vitriol, the other side is spewing the same thing you despise. how convenient for you to be so liberal, with your enlightened viewpoints about morality and “right and wrong”….

    • Pamela
      January 10, 2011

      Check out the comments on the gun violence article and you will see who made these comments.

  9. Trek
    January 10, 2011

    Hey Concerned American.  Loughner’s legal right to purchase, carry and conceal the gun did in fact infringe on the 9-year-old’s right to live. What don’t you understand about this? Would you give up your right to own a gun if it would bring back this child? We need to adjust to the evolutions of culture and society. In olden times guns were a fabric of society. We have outgrown those days. Gun owners need to accept the new times. Their toys are no longer necessary and have been abused and misused all to often for killing innocent people. We as a evolving society no longer need guns to survive. It is just the opposite, we need to forbid them to survive.

    • A concerned American
      January 10, 2011

      Quoting Trek: “Loughner’s legal right to purchase, carry and conceal the gun did in fact infringe on the 9-year-old’s right to live. What don’t you understand about this?”
      I understand it quite well.  LOUGHNER was the criminal. It wasn’t HIS ability to buy a gun. It was his mind and actions that infringed upon the child and the rest of the dead and wounded.
      The fact is there are people like him out there, 2012 “Believers”, “Truthers”, and they are just as kooky and legally able to purchase weapons. Would you prevent all of them from buying a gun? Or would you even go so far as to “make them shut up” if they said something you disagreed with?
      Funny, you should point this out but LOUGHNER ALONE was responsible for this. Not the gun, not the gun dealer, not the government, not Rush Limbaugh, not Sarah Palin, not Glen Beck or even Barack Obama – None of them had anything to do with this guy. 

      It seems that you and others want to put the blame everywhere but where it belongs, which is on LOUGHNER.  He is the criminal, and is most likely a schizophrenic – or at least in some other manner mentally unstable.  This is not about guns, nor even about his ability to purchase a gun.  This is about the fact that he committed a crime (which by the way, Murder is ALREADY on the law books).
      If you want to “Blame” someone – stop blaming “Right Wing Gun Owners” – blame the criminal.
      Truth is, if he hadn’t gotten the gun legally – and was intent on committing this crime, he’d have gotten it ILLEGALLY somewhere on the street.  Right now, out there are gang bangers in nearly every large city who have access to “illegal guns” (as you Leftists call them) – guns that were stolen from their rightful owners in 98% of the cases.
      Stop laying blame on something that is nothing more than a tool – and place it firmly where it belongs, on the shoulders of those who commit the crimes.  Stop trying to make law abiding, American Citizens into criminals because they believe and uphold the Highest Law of the Land, the US Constitution.

    • beefrank
      January 10, 2011

      Loughner may had the legal right to purchase a gun. I do not know if he was within the law to CCW but he sure as hell illegally fired the weapon.   How many of AZ citizens illegally fire their weapons?  Or is that just too logical to ask?

  10. Mary Conners
    January 10, 2011

    Picture this at yesterday’s horrific scene.  Say 20 of the surrounding group had handguns.  And they all pulled them out to defend someone else or themselves.  We would have had 25 killed, not just 7.  Having a gun does not necessarily mean knowing how to use one.  The “accidental” shootings in such a picture would be a further catastrophe.  Guns in the early days of settlement of the southwest may have been useful, but we live in an urban community, not near the OK Corral.  To the NRA, please do something useful and positive about this dreadful law.

    • A concerned American
      January 10, 2011

      Picture this:  SEVERAL individuals in that group HAD weapons and didn’t draw them.  Instead at least one of them tackled the creep.
      You haven’t the right to determine whether Americans can own guns.  You have the right to chose NOT to carry one or to Carry one. Period. 

      You have NOT the right to tell me I can’t carry one.
      This is not a police state, and will not become one.  Just because YOU “feel” scared around people you think might have guns, YOU are not the final judge.

      • Bob
        January 10, 2011

        You carry a gun for one purpose, to intimidate your fellow citizens. There is a word for people who carry guns who not peace officers. The word is thug.

  11. Desert Thunder
    January 10, 2011

    It sad to read in Ms. Powers article the resentment that she has for anyone elses 
    opinion. If they don’t agree with her then they are a nut or right winged. This is actually the crap that Dupink is talking about. Hey Ms. Powers – How about a civil dialogue?   

  12. Brian
    January 10, 2011

    Agree with the article.  And agree with the sheriff.  More guns are not the answer.  Bigger guns are not the answer.  Guns that shoot more bullets is not the answer.  Being able to carry guns in bars and restaurants, or in schools, is not the answer.  The paranoia and fear of gun owners is a threat to those of us who are willing to take the very, very small risk of leaving our homes and encountering a dangerous situation.  Law and order works in this country without the need for every person to be armed. 

    • A concerned American
      January 10, 2011

      The “paranoia and fear” of anti-gun people is a threat to the US Constitution, Second Amendment.  Law and Order works – some of the time.  MOST of the time, I dare you to find a police officer while you’re being robbed or within ten minutes after the fact.
      Or after you’re stabbed by the criminal.

  13. Mini
    January 10, 2011

    I’ve never been to Arizona and based on the lax gun registration laws and Wild West mindset I never plan to.  I’ll spend my tourist $$ elsewhere. 

  14. Trek
    January 10, 2011

    Hey Concerned America. You still did not answer the question, “Would you give up your right to own a gun if it would bring back this child?” and literally the thousands of others who die yearly. Read the stats from the Centers for Disease Control below. It’s a simple question yet you prefer to ignore it. Giving up the right to own guns needs to be put on the table. Like it or not the time is coming when this will happen. I lived in Japan where gun ownership is extremely restrictive, yet the Japanese are doing quite well as are other people in similar non-violent environments. And Concerned Citizen the fact is the 9-year-old would be alive if the killer would not have been able to purchase the firearm without any restrictions. Which by the way Gov. Brewer made easier as you know.
    American children are more at risk from firearms than the children of any other industrialized nation. In one year, firearms killed no children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany, 109 in France, 153 in Canada, and 5,285 in the United States. (Centers for Disease Control)

    • galse
      January 10, 2011


      There is evidence that Loughner planned this tragedy over a period of time.  What makes you think that he could not obtain a gun illegally?  Or used another method to carry out the tragedy?   The guy is a nut like Timothy McVeigh, who by the way did not use a gun to carry out his insanity.

      You cite Japan, I’ll cite Switzerland (high gun ownership/low murder rate – automatic weapons at that) and raise you Northern Ireland (low gun ownership/ high murder rate).
      Face it, we are a violent nation.

  15. Bheeg O. Pinion
    January 10, 2011

    “Gun ownership = violence?  Your math is a bad as Jared Loughner’s algebra notes.”
    Have a look at the long-running A&E TV Series “The First 48” sometime. The title refers to homicide investigations. Nearly all of the investigations depicted involve handguns or fully-automatic weapons discharged in a moment of rage. Whether they are “illegal” guns, stolen guns, or legally-purchased guns is simply irrelevant: it just takes a moment of bad judgment or evil intent and suddenly people are dead. That’s where the TV show begins. If you have an open mind, I ask you: watch an episode and try counting up all of the uniformed cops, detectives, evidence techs, crime analysts, and other police support staff that are called upon to serve in a *single* murder investigation. You will see dozens of them in any given episode, and we don’t even see all the prison staff nor any of the prosecutorial personnel required to take a homicide investigation all the way through the courtroom to the penitentiary. Yet nearly all of these workers are unionized (gasp!) and they make very good wages… and they work a LOT of overtime and have excellent benefits. In short, a single homicide of a worthless pimp or drug dealer is not a win for society; it’s a great, deep tug at the public purse.
    I’m trying to make two points:
    1) Gun ownership facilitates nearly all of the murders shown on The First 48, and
    2) Taxpayers pay HEAVILY for each one, even if the victim is a two-bit criminal who deserved what he got.
    It’s easy to say that guns deter crime and that responsible gun-owners don’t commit crimes — and I’m happy to admit that this is true enough in most cases! But using those truths as an excuse to stop ANY debate on gun regulation is causing huge costs to society. And these costs aren’t being paid by the criminals, they’re being paid by YOU, the law-abiding, gun-owning citizen. Failing to even talk about responsible gun ownership means that more of these crimes are allowed to occur.  If you’re going to trot out the “guns aren’t the only way to kill someone / criminals would just find another way” argument, please save your breath: a large majority of the crimes committed in “The First 48” could not have happened without a gun. Knives don’t shoot innocent children playing across the street, and a baseball bat won’t allow a single man to slay half a dozen people in a parking lot. Regardless of whether you agree with what I’m saying or not, The First 48 is an excellent show that highlights the great dedication and performance of some very hard-working Americans (our policemen and women) and it’s completely free from the message I’m trying to put forth here. I urge you to watch it. It might not change your mind about gun regulation, but at least you can see the tremendous impact a single gunshot can leave on entire families and the cost that gunshot takes on the taxpaying populace.


  16. Lentenlands
    January 10, 2011

    Jared Loughner had been making death threats by phone to people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When the Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, Sheriff Dupnik’s deputies wrongly assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that the further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it would solve. Was Jared Loughner’s mother, Amy Loughner, employed as a Natural Resource specialist for the Pima County Parks and Recreation a factor?
    The FAILURE lies on Sheriff Dupnik failing to investigate fully and assure that Loughner did not have access to lethal weapons and received the mental health care he obviously NEEDED. This is an unacceptable failure by the Sheriff.
    Every victim of his threats must also be wondering if this tragedy could have been prevented if Sheriff Dupnik had been more aggressive in pursuing charges against Mr. Loughner. Perhaps with a felony conviction he would never have been able to lawfully buy weapon he used to strike down the lives of six people and decimate 14 more.
    This was not an act of politics. This was an act of a mentally disturbed young man hell bent on getting his 15 minutes of infamy. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department was aware of his violent nature and they failed to act appropriately. This tragedy leads right back to Sheriff Dupnik’s gross negligence and all the spin in the world is not going to change that fact.

    • pamela
      January 10, 2011

      Blog commenters here at the Citizen regularly make death threats to public figures, and I delete them. Should I give their e-mail addresses to Dupnik and Janet Napolitano?

  17. Trek
    January 11, 2011

    There are a lies being posted by those who want to defend their beloved heroes, i.e. Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and the right wing extremism ideals that the liars want to hold scared. So beware of those and look for proof. For example, the post from letenlands sounds made up and is meant to discredit the Pima County Sheriff. I would ask if this person can prove their allegations then please educate us. I’m waiting….

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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