Safeway Massacre

For those of you that are unaware, there was a grisly shooting incident in Tucson, AZ this past weekend. A glock-wielding madman rolled into a supermarket gathering held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) and opened fire on the Congresswoman, her staff, and the surrounding crowd. Six people were killed and at least 12 others were injured. Giffords was shot through the side of her head, but is miraculously alive and communicating with doctors.


For those of you that are unaware, there was a grisly shooting incident in Tucson, AZ this past weekend. A glock-wielding madman rolled into a supermarket gathering held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) and opened fire on the Congresswoman, her staff, and the surrounding crowd. Six people were killed and at least 12 others were injured. Giffords was shot through the side of her head, but is miraculously alive and communicating with doctors.

The sheriff presiding over the case, the national press and many members of Congress have all called for dialing down political rhetoric; however, I disagree. I would hope that we can all discuss our disagreements in a civil manner at all times, but I do not believe that rhetoric is the cause of these crimes. Some outlets are blaming people like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck for this tragedy, but fail to report that no one knows the true motivation for the actions of the gunman. Although this is a national news story, it still applies to all of us here at The University of Akron.

We all engage in rhetoric of some kind, but that does not mean that we are responsible for the actions of others. For example, let’s say that you and your friends are sitting around a table discussing your professors. Pretend you tell everyone that you hate one of your teachers, and you wish they’d get into a car accident. Now, if one of your friends were to go and cut the professor’s brake line and he or she ended up dying in an auto crash, it would not be your fault. It is the fault of the person who committed the crime. Hopefully, no student at UA would ever commit such a brutality, but consider the hypothetical.

It is the same logic that is used when a woman’s attire is blamed when she gets raped. There is no, Well she was asking for it, look at her outfit. The perpetrator is the only person who should ever be blamed. Likewise, if you tell your best friend that you wish your parents were dead and your friend then murders your family, you are not the one to blame. If your friend has direct contact with an accomplice, that is a different story, but in most cases, the person performing the action is the guilty party. No one should forget that.

My biggest fear is that the government will use what is being dubbed The Safeway Massacre as a prop for new legislation against the First Amendment. By blaming radio and television pundits, there will no doubt be calls for media censorship as well as stricter gun laws to follow. Our right to free speech is what has always separated America from other nations. If it begins in the media, it will most likely trickle down to our campus.

Al Gore did not shoot up Virginia Tech; Marilyn Manson never brought a gun into Columbine; J.D. Salinger didn’t shoot John Lennon; and Sarah Palin was not behind the trigger this past weekend. We need not point the finger at media figures whenever a tragedy occurs. Not only is it horribly damaging to anyone who is wrongfully blamed, but it also channels our outrage toward the wrong people. We must look for real answers as to why this lunatic acted violently instead of politicizing the event which will cause further divide among us. Although we should be more civil toward one another, we should never be forced to do so. If everyone tiptoes around any controversial subject in public, the Constitution that Rep. Giffords is sworn to uphold will be worthless.