Blood on their hands
The assassination attempt of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the death of U.S. District Judge John Roll, the death of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the three other dead and 12 wounded — the blood is on the hands of those Republican Party, Tea Party and Sarah Palin, whose anti-Obama, birther, anti-health care, anti-gun control, anti-immigrant and anti-big government rhetoric laid the emotional groundwork for alleged assassin Jared Loughner to develop and nurse his hatred and to form a rationale for the shootings.
Dozens and perhaps hundreds of U.S. citizens have been given the green light to hate — to feel that picking up a gun and killing those people who disagree with them is "doing the right thing" because of the leadership and direction of the Republican Party, Tea Party and its chief bad mouth, the unintelligent and wrong Sarah Palin, aided by the Glen Becks, Shawn Hannitys, and others who've lost the ability for rational discussion and logic.
Sarah Palin put a gunsight — a cross hair — on Giffords and other Democrats she wanted to defeat: an encouragement for the gun lovers to take up guns against their governmental leaders (a terrorist act?), and Giffords' opponent Jesse Kelly, held a fundraiser, at a shooting range, with M-16 assault weapons, asking HELP to remove Giffords from office (a terrorist act?).
The Republican Party, which controls the U.S. House of Representatives, and a majority of state governorships, should make it a priority, in the name of Christian Taylor Green and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an anti-gun bill to ban the sale of all assault weapons (which are being bought and smuggled to Mexico — causing thousands of deaths) and all extended magazines for semi-automatic weapons, which together with assault weapons are killing American citizens unnecessarily.
Republicans, Tea Party members and, above all, Sarah Palin, will deny any responsibility for the deaths and injuries of this act — by a crazed gunman — but how much death could have been avoided if he didn't have the gun, and we had intelligent leaders and intelligent, honest discourse on our policy differences?
But another question is, "Are Sarah Palin and Jesse Kelly terrorists?" Did they not implicitly encourage the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords, a member of the U.S. Congress? Did their imagery convey encouragement to those who'd take up guns against a member of Congress? I say, yes. —David L. Malhalab, Detroit
I'm very disappointed in you at Metro Times. I wrote in ('Tiny little mind,' Letters to the Editor, Dec. 22) a couple weeks ago complaining about Jack Lessenberry's one-sided viewpoints and how he omits things to show his leftist opinion. Then the following week Garrett Printz writes in ('Warped perceptions,' Letters to the Editor, Dec. 29) complaining about me. The funny thing is that he completely missed my point. What I wrote had nothing to do about Bush and the so called "good times" that he thought I was talking about. I'm shocked that you would read something that someone wrote to you, that obviously missed the point of what I was writing about, and then publish it.
Now, after saying that, I must say that I applaud Jack in having an open mind about our new governor. This week Jack did show me what I like to see from a columnist, no matter what his or her political views are. Thanks Jack! —Mike Conte, Roseville
Smoke and mirrors
Re: John Sinclair's most recent Higher Ground column, "The roots of the fiasco" (Jan. 5), if health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Like any drug, marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.
The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.
Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to adults. The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers confusing the drug war's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. —Robert Sharpe, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.