The level of crazy has reached a new high–or should I say a new low. The latest statement from a Republican lawmaker is simply unacceptable.
“Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law, but with significant practice and careful aim, law-abiding citizens can help clean our society of these scumbags,” State Representative Bob Gannon from Slinger said today. “Criminals no longer have any fear of our courts or our prisons, so it’s time that the citizens of this fine state stand up and fight back.”
The last thing a Christmas shopping crowd needed at the East Towne Mall on Saturday was anyone carrying a gun. So it was very traumatic for many when a major fist-fighting brawl erupted among teenagers and one of them pulled a gun and fired. Needless to say panic ensued.
But can you image the mayhem that would have resulted if a bunch of people with concealed carrying had all of a sudden in their rush to “clean our society of these scumbags” started firing their weapons? The gun shot wound in the leg to one person on Saturday would instead have become a bloodbath.
We have witnessed at every level of government an angry and verbally uncontrolled Republican Party. There seems to be no more ability to temper words or think before speaking. If we do not hear statements about banning Muslims from the country or cavalierly talking about shooting Russian pilots from the skies we are now advocating nothing short of vigilantism among our very own citizenry.
I know it comes as a hard sell to those like Gannon but the problem is not that we have too few guns in society but that we have too many of them that are too easy to obtain. Add to that mix an education system that too often fails to fulfill the needed mission, or an economy that does not produce enough jobs let alone ones that are good paying. Add in drugs, gangs, broken families, and a host of social pressures that young men feel and it is not hard to see what we need to be concentrating on as a society. By my noting these issues in no way gives license to anyone for acting in the fashion we all too often hear about. But we need to be aware that real issues have to be addressed if we are to be serious about preventing what took place at East Towne Mall.
So for Gannon to reach out for the lowest rung on the ladder and suggest that people just need to load up on weapons and carry them for the task of shooting and killing “scumbags” is just revolting. It speaks to a strain of people in the state, that I am most aware of. But that small segment does not represent who we are as a state nor do his words echo the thinking of the majority in the legislature.
No one was pleased with what happened at East Towne, and that includes those of us who actually live in Madison. But if we are to find a way forward concerning the root causes of this gun violence we need to check the most base and unhelpful words that seem to pour from some within the Republican Party. I know it is hard for some to play beyond the need to stoke the fires among the base of their party. After all that is all they have to offer. But that just means the rest of us need to double-down on seeking real-world solutions to what happened.