A History of Violence: Part III

Next month will mark the fifth anniversary of the near-murder of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), and the murders of US District Court Judge John Roll, Giffords staffer Gabriel Zimmerman, and nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green in Tucson, Arizona.

I admit that when I first heard the bulletin on MSNBC about Giffords’s shooting, I immediately thought that it must have been an assassination attempt by a disgruntled and violent member of the Tea Party movement; it was something of a relief to learn that the assailant was profoundly deranged, and did not have any specific political motivations. Nevertheless, the attack on Giffords forced America to once again pay attention to the horror of firearms in the hands of unstable individuals.

I will never forget how eloquent MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann was that night, on a special edition of Countdown, describing what the near-murder of Giffords meant to and for our country:

I will also never forget how Giffords rose above this tragedy to become one of our nation’s most powerful voices in favor of strong action to stop the daily bloodshed faciliated by the National Rifle Association and the political system it has corrupted.

I admire Gabrielle Giffords for never giving up, for never giving in, for continuing to fight for a safe future. It is a fight she will win.

If you think about it, climate hawks and gun-reform advocates are sisters and brothers in the same struggle. We’re both fighting entrenched, well-financed, malevolent opponents who have seized control over Capitol Hill and much of the mainstream media. We’re both struggling to bring about needed changes in American culture. We’re both trying to make sure future generations have a chance to survive.

These are necessary fights. These are hard fights. These are fights that must be won. These are fights we will win.

The day will come when our government takes vigorous action to keep firearms out of the hands of murderous and militant madmen, just as the day will come when our government takes vigorous action to keep fossil fuels in the ground. That day will come because we, as individuals, as concerned Americans, as human beings, insist upon it.

Frederick Douglass famously declared that power concedes nothing without a demand. Today, we, the people, demand a carnage-free country and a pollution-free planet. Our demands will be heard. Our goals will be accomplished. Our battle–for a safe and stable future–will be won, and won convincingly.

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D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.