Though investigators have yet to discern all the facts surrounding last Saturday's assault, others continue to exploit the terrible incident for their own political purposes. Some already have discovered a solution to "the problem": to abridge the First and Second amendments of our Constitution.
Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., wants to introduce a bill making it a federal crime to "use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress." Which government entity would determine what is or is not "perceived as threatening" is as yet unknown.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., long an advocate for stringent "gun control measures," observes that the Tucson shooter "legally purchased the gun he used" and now says she wants new legislation to restrict access to certain types of firearms, ammunition and "clips" (apparently, she means magazines) because they are "unnecessary to the general public." Sheriff Dupnik now acknowledges there were "several incidents" with the alleged gunman, "to the point where law enforcement at Pima College got involved and ... decided to expel him." Yet no official has explained why these events were not pursued to the point where they would warrant entries in the FBI's "instant check" criminal database. That alone would have precluded any gun store from selling Loughner the weapon that police say he used in last Saturday's attack.
I am thankful that new legislation to abbreviate our Bill of Rights will be debated and voted on in calmer moments, not in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy in Tucson. That, of course, did not preclude the president from seizing the moment.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama quite appropriately flew to Tucson, visited the victims of the outrage and their families, and spent time in the hospital room with severely wounded Rep. "Gabby" Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. The president then addressed a moving memorial service. In lengthy prepared remarks -- interrupted no fewer than 50 times by applause some consider surreal in a prayer service -- Obama announced, "Right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues from Congress were in the room, Gabby opened her eyes for the first time."
Afterward, an on-scene correspondent said, "It was as though the president had become reporter in chief." Thus far, no one has described Obama as "healer in chief." Perhaps that title is being saved for next week's State of the Union address. That would be a travesty.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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