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The shooting rampage in Tucson; L.A.'s mayor vs. the teachers union; AT&T customers' options

January 11, 2011

Tucson can teach us too

Re "6 die in Tucson rampage," Jan. 9, and "Shooting from the lip," Editorial, Jan. 9

Though it is easy to overanalyze the possible motives of the accused shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and many others, I believe there is a lesson to be learned.

We must realize that as Americans, what unites us is more than what divides us; that we often have more in common than we sometimes think. The outpouring of concern from every possible corner of this country is evidence of that. We must keep that spirit in mind in the weeks and months ahead.

Giffords is a model legislator who is willing to work with anyone. We need more public servants like her.

Stephen M. Clayton


With the airwaves regularly spewing right-wing venom, this tragedy was inevitable. Giffords is a moderate who was peacefully meeting with her constituents, and a

deranged, anger-filled individual somehow believed that it was his right to limit the political process.

It is time to take stock of what democracy is about. We can't always agree on everything, but both Democrats and Republicans want what is best for this country.

The name-calling and mean-spirited rhetoric has to stop. This will truly be a sad time for this country if we can't gain something from this experience.

Richard Armendariz

Huntington Beach

The one thing that our country needs right now to heal from the senseless violence in Tucson (and the fear of a repeat somewhere else) is for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other leaders to set an example for the rest of us to emulate. This is their opportunity to demonstrate a better way to talk to each other and about each other, to share what we hold in common, to build up, not tear down. The sound heard 'round the world can be a call for civility, strength of character and respect for one another.

Patricia Monahan

Long Beach

Many thanks for your measured reporting of the tragic shootings in Tucson.

In the aftermath, Democrats should be careful in ascribing blame to the influence of the "tea party's" political rhetoric on the mind of the shooter.

Liberal Democrats have told us for years that gratuitous television violence does not significantly influence people's moral choices, and they are correct. It is well known that entertainment content does little to influence an individual's decision-making beyond the decisions the individual otherwise would have made anyway.

Moreover, the 22-year-old accused shooter is reported to be an avowed anarchist and to have read the works of both Karl Marx and Hitler.

The suspected shooter was a madman, and that's all.

Kyle Kirwan

Los Angeles

Some early comments regarding the horrendous shooting of Giffords and the others in Tucson may, indeed, be unreasoned and intemperate. But even as more facts come out, The Times cannot ignore the contribution of Sarah Palin, Jesse Kelly (Giffords' GOP opponent in 2010) and their tea party followers to this tragedy.

They poured millions of dollars into geographic areas in which they do not live to control Congress. They clearly believed the gun cross-hairs would move people to action.

It was predictable that some people, whether mentally ill or simply more suggestible, would take the suggestion literally.

The murder of a human being should never have been used as a metaphor for defeating an opponent.

Stephanie Scher

Los Angeles

In your editorial, you describe Internet commentary about the Giffords tragedy as shameful and embarrassing. I would add depressing.

Web comment sections related to a wide range of subjects have devolved into cesspools of vitriol, inane reasoning and some of the most jaw-dropping illustrations of poor critical thinking and unsound logic I've ever witnessed.

Indeed, all of these individuals are entitled to not only hold these opinions but to voice them. That said, these comments leave me no choice but to judge the commenters as bigots, poor thinkers and worse.

I fully support public discussion of the issues, but these comments contribute nothing constructive.

Nathan Johnston

Los Angeles

On the same page as your editorial, you ran a cartoon showing a firing squad taking aim at a man in a "food safety" T-shirt.

Isn't it time for us to stop using the images of guns and violence as solutions to our problems? America uses (or should use) the ballot box, not the ammunition box, to address our problems.

Freedom of expression, yes, but how about some responsibility too?

Richard S. Miller


People in the media and the government are asking, "How could this happen?" There's a very simple answer: The killer had a gun.

Mass killings cannot occur easily with knives or bats; they do with guns. Until something happens with gun control, the answer to this question will always be the same.

Julie D. Taylor

Los Angeles

Giffords stood on the House floor recently and read the 1st Amendment's free speech clause. Sarah Palin's free-speech liberty allowed her to put a sniper's crosshairs on Giffords' congressional district.

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