A time for critical thought

December 2, 2015
Joy Boudreaux
December 2, 2015

Yet again, a random act of violence has resulted in death and injury, this time in Colorado Springs. Two police officers and a civilian were killed and nine people injured, and despite speculation based on one statement the shooter made once in custody, a true motive has not been discerned.

What we are left with, for now, is the knowledge that one person backed up by enough demons to overcome reason engaged in the unthinkable.

The way these things play out on the national stage is at this point predictable.

Those who think more attention needs to be paid to the question of whether some individuals should have access to guns – the President of the United States included – make the case for how greater checks and controls should be established.

Those who think there should be no restrictions or that they should remain as they are take a defensive approach, refusing to give ground, with enough members of Congress on their side to prevail for now, so no change is in the offing.

The Colorado Springs incident has a new wrinkle, however.

The site of the incident was a Planned Parenthood clinic, and that organization has been in the news a lot.

As a primary purveyor of women’s heath services, Planned Parenthood has been vilified for its role in supplying abortions, and has been the subject of criticism for providing fetal tissue related to that activity. The claims pushed by its foes have been exaggerated to a very large degree, particularly the accusation that Planned Parenthood “sells” body parts for profit.

As with most claims presented in furtherance of a greater agenda – in this case the understandable belief that abortion is almost always, if not always, an act that should be a crime, there is truth involved, even if the end result is a less than honest assessment.

Pro-choice activists, understandably gun-shy, have immediately pointed to a single statement the gunman made after being brought to justice by the authorities “no more baby parts.” But the widely reported, unnamed source who provided that information to reporters also cautioned that the statement was one of many the shooter made. Its authenticity as a motive is suspect.

Likewise, word spread on the Internet, so far unconfirmed, that the shooter was a perpetrator of a bank robbery, and had merely sought shelter in the clinic. There are no known facts presented to bolster this claim. But it is ubiquitous, nonetheless.

The take-away from all this is that, like most things that get chewed, re-chewed, digested and then presented for public consumption through social media and even news reports is highly suspect.

The Colorado Springs case has elements to it that touch on things people here in the bayou country care deeply about. We are generally staunch in our protection of Second Amendment rights. Opposition to legalized abortion is an important consideration locally as well. Despite our deeply held concerns, the temptation to let emotion on a given topic overcome discussion that erodes our ability to provide for the greater public good cloud our ability to examine and properly vet things presented to us as facts.

Now as always we must avoid syllogistic thoughts and words. Just because the gunman’s crime was committed at a Planned Parenthood clinic we must not assign motive based on flimsy evidence. But we should also not be passing around even flimsier evidence to counteract the claim.

So far as the guns are concerned, we must critically examine how, in any way, we can keep them out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

Prior to the shots ringing out in Colorado Springs, credible national media reports were circulating which pointed out that a person’s presence on a terrorist no-fly list is no bar to gun purchase or ownership. The NRA retorted that the no-fly list is suspect, that there are errors, and so the risk of taking guns from an “innocent” person is too great.

We disagree strongly.

Errors abound in many cases when it comes to liberty being denied. People imprisoned and even executed are later found to be innocent.

But that doesn’t prevent us from executing.

The point here is that each tragedy that grabs our attention need not be used to push anyone’s agenda, no matter how honestly and strongly held. •