Joe Lapointe has worked as a sports reporter with the New York Times and a segment producer for "Countdown With Keith Olbermann'' on Current TV
With crass cynicism last month, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey led a chorus of belligerent, right-wing politicians in a particularly unsavory bleat. Christie and his conservative colleagues attacked progressive and liberal elected leaders for suggesting regulation of guns and ammunition
This was right after 12 people died and dozens more were wounded in a Colorado movie theatre invaded by a gunman.
“We have enough gun laws now,” Christie said. “Can we allow the people to be mourned appropriately by their families before you have opportunistic politicians out there trying to make political points in an election year?”
According to Christie’s logic, today obviously is another inappropriate time to discuss such things because there’s been – surprise! -- another gun massacre. At least seven persons died Sunday when a man with two automatic pistols invaded a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
One of the dead was the gunman, killed by police. What will be said by the opportunistic Mr. Christie, a prominent supporter of Mitt Romney for President? We may have to wait. Christie will make a major speech at the Republican convention later this month in Tampa.
Perhaps then – and only then -- will Christie inform us as to when it is appropriate to talk of stopping gun violence in our paranoid society filled with right-wing gun freaks, craven Republicans and timid Democrats who have sold out or caved in to the National Rifle Association.
Or maybe Christie will say nothing at all about it. It will be old news. To him, trying to prevent the next bloodbath was just a cheap political stunt, like, oh, maybe like asking Romney to be honest about his taxes.
“I’m not going to get into the gun-control issue while these people are still waiting to be buried,” Christie said last month. “And it may not offend you or bother you, but it offends me and bothers me.”
So sensitive for such a big boy! Christie appears to be more offended by calls for gun control than he is by bloody gun massacres. Sunday’s mass murder, unlike most other group killings, may have had a religious or ethnic component.
The fact that Sikh men wear turbans stirred speculation in police and news reports that the rampage was domestic terrorism spurred by racial or religious hatred. One of the early reactions to Sunday’s rampage was that the killer may have mistaken Sikhs for Muslims.
According to CNN, a witness said the gunman wore a 9-11 tattoo, and a Sikh spokesman said Sikhs have often been mistaken for Muslims since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago.
Perhaps no one intended such logic, but this line of reasoning seemed to imply that Sunday’s mass murder would have been more understandable had the gunman attacked a Muslim mosque.
In other gun-massacre news Sunday, Jared Lee Loughner was reported ready to plead guilty in the Arizona mass shooting last year that killed six people and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
It’s getting so you can’t tell the mass murderers or keep track of their victims and motives without a scorecard. It’s hard to keep a clear body count from massacre to massacre.
But at least these events give us something to do instead of calling for regulations of guns and ammunition. We’d hate for such pleas to offend anyone as sensitive as Governor Chris Christie.
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