[Global Times, People's Republic of China]

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Beijing Youth Daily, People's Republic of China

Attack on Giffords a 'Footnote in Year of Economic Crisis'


Whether or not a lack of gun control is behind the attack on U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and those that came to meet her at a Tucson supermarket, according to this op-ed by scholar Xu Lifan of China's state-run Beijing Youth Daily, it won’t do a thing to dent America's penchant for guns or the rules that govern gun ownership. Rather, Americans will conclude that the massacre was a result of difficult economic times.


Translated By Sarah Chan


By Xu Lifan, a Beijing Scholar


January 10, 2010


People's Republic of China - Beijing Youth Daily - Original Article (Chinese)

U.S. Federal Judge John Roll, a Republican and friend of Congresswoman Giffords, was killed in the attack.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Assessing the political fallout from the shooting in Arizona, Jan. 9, 00:02:18RealVideo

On January 8th, while attending a rally in Arizona, U.S. Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot by a 22-year-old gunman and sent for emergency treatment. U.S. District Judge John Roll and a 9-year-old child were among the six people killed, and eleven others were injured. This is the most serious shooting incident since the massacre at Virginia Tech in April 2007, which left 33 people dead, and the killings at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009, when 13 people were killed. As the gunman's main target, Giffords' politician identity will likely set off a series of subtle reactions within American society and Washington D.C. political circles.


As the country with the world's largest number of privately owned firearms, nearly 250 million guns and seven billion bullets are purchased annually, and around 30,000 people are killed by gunfire every year. Among all cases involving violence, there's a high rate of gun use, thus leading to frequent shootings. The attack in Arizona is merely the latest footnote illustrating America's oversight of gun control.


However, while we are the subject of security, there were some novel aspects about the Arizona shooting. Among the string of past shootings that shocked the nation and world, the targets were generally unspecific. The victims were either people in the shooter's living environment or those who accidentally came within the attacker's view. In the case of Giffords and the 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner, there were no daily or work-related interactions. Therefore, the possibility of a shooter opening fire over political differences is greatly increased.


From public media reports, we know that although Loughner is suspected of being uneducated as well as having psychological problems, it's obvious that he has extremely strong opinions. His opinions are said to be of a "philosophical temperament" by people who knew him. The key "philosophical" views reflected in Loughner's everyday conversation were that people "don't need to accept federal law," that "mind control and brainwashing is going on everywhere" and that he hopes people will "no longer be illiterate." At the same time, he believes the use of "conscious dreaming" is the "biggest inspiration for a political career." Clearly, despite his scattered thinking, there's no doubt about his preference for political and public issues.


He is also obsessed with doomsday prophecy - which may have provided a motive for his extreme behavior. Taking a look at the targets he chose, as someone who prefers political topics but is far from politics himself, coming into contact with a political figure at one point in time may easily have made that politician his first choice. Coincidentally, in 2007, Loughner had met Representative Giffords and asked her several questions, after which he concluded that "she is stupid and unintelligent."   



Whether this bloody attack was triggered by deranged thinking, or, as police suspect, there are accomplices who may have helped planned it, the shooting of the Congresswoman is highly unusual compared to those of other recent political figures who were nearly assassinated. Far from involving public issues, Reagan's assassination attempt was due to insane behavior from a fan of a celebrity. Other attempts were either plots by enemies from outside of the U.S. or domestic opponents expressing extreme hatred - but none were successful.



Die Zeit, Germany: Sarah Palin Is No Longer 'Reloading'

Excélsior, Mexico: Mexicans Uniquely Alarmed by Arizona Shooting Attack

El País, Spain: Tea Party 'Endangers Health' of American Democracy

Estadão, Brazil: The Massacre in Arizona: Will America Ever Learn?

News Switzerland: The Day Hope Was Shot, in America and Europe

Der Spiegel, Germany: Blaming Sarah Palin for Tucson Attack is 'Wrong'

Rheinische Post, Germany: America's 'Intellectual Instigators' of Hatred

Berliner Morgenpost: Mutual Respect: What U.S. Owes Itself, World

Polityka, Poland: America in Anger's Clutches

Salzburger Nachrichten, Austria: Massacre in Tucson: 'A Sad Day for U.S.

Guardian, U.K.: Arizona Shootings: Left, Right at Odds Over Effects of Toxic Politics

TLZ, Germany: America's Hate-Filled Rhetoric 'Unworthy of a Democratic Nation'

Telegraph, U.K.: Will Obama Stand Up to Left's Exploitation of National Tragedy?

Guardian, U.K.: Shooting of Giffords Highlights 'Man-Up' Culture in U.S. Politics


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Therefore, the attack on Giffords may prompt a new round of debate in the U.S. on social issues. The opening round will be on America's outdated system of gun control. Whenever a shocking shooting attack occurs, a fire is lit under those who have differing opinions on the issue of gun control. However, in June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed clearly for the first time the right of U.S. citizens to carry concealed weapons, which will suffice to keep any discussion of gun control at the level of a war of words. It's a policy change that will be difficult to promote. The second round will involve the exchange of partisan shellfire between political parties, particularly in terms of public administration. The third round will be about economic issues. The first order of business to have been taken up by the new House of Representatives, whether to repeal Obama's health care plan, has been delayed because of Giffords' shooting, and the possibility of someone using this as an opportunity to gain political leverage cannot be ruled out, but it would be an enormous political and moral risk.


The reaction to Giffords' shooting will be like all the others: it won't serve as a starting point for addressing public safety in American society. Perhaps what will really stick in people's minds will be the backdrop of the shooting: the failure to lift the worst economic crisis in years and the confusion and anxiety of some people within American society.




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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US January 16, 3:47pm]


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