The shooter, "Richard Andrew Poplawski was a young man convinced the nation was secretly controlled by a cabal that would eradicate freedom of speech, take away his guns and use the military to enslave the citizenry." The timing of this sad incident comes like punctuation at the end of our discussions of just yesterday and the day before.
"He was really into politics and really into the First and Second amendment. One thing he feared was he feared the gun ban because he thought that was going to take away peoples' right to defend themselves. He never spoke of going out to murder or to kill," said Edward Perkovic, who described himself as Mr. Poplawski's lifelong best friend.What comes to mind for me is that Poplawski is a textbook example of that McVeigh-type character who can be poisoned by the right wing rhetoric. How rare are they? How rare are these massacre-type shootings? To the first question, I'd say they're not as rare as we'd like to think. To the second, I'd say, the incidents in which one of these lunatics kills only one person are probably not rare at all but simply escape the national spotlight. I agree with Charles M. Blow in saying the problem is very real.
Mr. Poplawski's view of guns and personal freedom took a turn toward the fringes of American politics. With Mr. Perkovic, he appeared to share a belief that the government was controlled from unseen forces, that troops were being shipped home from the Mideast to police the citizenry here, and that Jews secretly ran the country.
What Paul Helmke mentioned the other day on his Brady Blog comes to mind. When nine people died from tainted peanut butter, the government was mobilized into action. But, when an incredible, perhaps unprecedented string of high profile shootings take the lives of three times that number within a couple weeks, there's relative silence from the government. Of course there was that ominous comment of Biden's the other day with regards the shooting in New York State.
We’ve got to figure out a way to deal with this terrible, terrible violence.
What's your opinion? Do you think the Vice President is making reference to future legislation that will restrict arms purchases? Do you agree with me that, combined with other initiatives, such measures might help? Can you understand how some of us feel the only way to keep dangerous people from getting guns is to necessarily deny some of them to law abiding citizens as well?
Do you feel Mr. Poplawski should be a candidate for the death penalty? Do you think his paranoia and other mental conditions should be considered in judging his culpability?
In a country where we have over a hundred hand-gun killings a day between murders and suicides, do you think more guns and fewer restrictions would help or hurt the situation?
Please feel free to leave a comment.