True, This! —
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless!
— Cardinal Richelieu (Act II, sc. II, Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy)
One thing you will never witness me advocating here or in public, for those who do know me personally, is the threat or use of violence to enact political change. I have never believed that the best way to enact political change is with the blade of a sword or the barrel of a gun, nor is it a fit method of expressing your discontent with the government. The pen, or in this case, keyboard, is my political weapon, for the freedom of speech, the right to speak your mind freely, whatever those thoughts may be, is the most powerful right we have in a free society.
Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.
— Napoleon Bonaparte
The morning of January 8, 2011, Representative Gabrielle Giffords [D-AZ(8)] and Chief Judge John McCarthy Roll of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, among reportedly at least 17 others were shot allegedly by Jared Loughner, age 22. Judge Roll was among five persons who did not survive, and Rep. Giffords is expected to survive this apparent attempt at assassination.
Also among the dead was a 9 year-old child.
Now one can expect this story to be twisted in all kinds of different directions. Arizona is an open-carry firearm state, but the fact that Loughner allegedly shot 19 people, killing 5, with what I presume was a semi-automatic handgun tells me he was well-armed. He was either carrying several spare clips or several firearms, but likely both.
However this will not stop anti-gun advocates from trying to use this tragedy to argue against open and concealed carry laws, and the general availability of firearms.
Giffords is a Democrat, though she has described herself as a "Blue Dog" Democrat and a former Republican. The political analysis site OnTheIssues.org labels Giffords as a Moderate Liberal. One can probably expect that the radically liberal zones of the Internet will be alleging links between Loughner and the tea party and conservatives.
Judge Roll was nominated for the Federal bench by former President George HW Bush in 1991 and confirmed and commissioned in November of that year. He was elevated to Chief Judge of the United States District Court in Arizona in 2006. And here’s a question: why is Judge Roll’s death in these events seeming to get only a fleeting glance by the press?
And while we’re on that question, why is the death of the 9 year-old also given only a fleeting glance?
The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.
— Muhammad, prophet of Islam
While there is plenty of room for speculation regarding Loughner’s motives, reasons, inspirations and intended targets, we should deny ourselves that speculation, including speculation into whether Loughner is actually guilty. Do remember that Loughner has a right to be presumed innocent unless he pleads guilty or his guilt is determined beyond reasonable doubt by a jury. And to best protect his right to a fair and impartial trial in light of the fact that the Chief Judge of the United States District Court in Arizona was killed in these events, he should be tried in another State, especially since he is eligible for the death penalty.
We should instead wait until the applicable law enforcement agencies have released information. As President Obama said in a statement shortly after word of the attack was released, "We do not yet have all the answers," something we should all keep in mind.