New Orleans I really love Arizona. It’s beautiful country with an amazing history and people. So was, Mississippi fifty odd years ago, but sometimes the fusion of time, land, and change produces hybrid aberrations that shake society to the core. We need to stop pretending that there’s not something serious wrong in the political and social structure of Arizona. The evidence is too overwhelming.
A friend from British Columbia made the point on my Facebook wall over the weekend and Gail Collins, the New York Times columnist, said the same thing in today’s paper about gun control. Gun should not be popping out of pockets at public events in Arizona because of a wrongheaded laissez faire carryall policy. Arizona does not have the political ability to change that, which means Congress needs to do so.
Same thing with automatic weapons. Collins normally spices her column with humor but today she was deadly serious. If automatic weapons had been banned, Congresswoman Giffords would have still been shot and perhaps one other, but we would not be dealing with 6 dead and another dozen wounded from a Glock 9mm and reading about a 9-year old girl born on 9/11 and now dead, the heroism of a husband dying as if in a warzone while covering his wife’s body with his own, and a woman who heroically helped wrestle away the 2nd 30-shot gun clip, allowing for the shooter’s capture. Arizona can’t stop this anymore than Mississippi would integrate itself. They need help.
The Pima County Sheriff spoke the truth about Arizona being ground zero for haters, baiters, and wildness now, and the reasons matter, but they are not material, especially when we still have Sheriff Joe and his anti-immigrant mischief in Maricopa County up the road, because the situation cries for intervention.
Certainly we need to see a dialing down of the rhetoric from all sides in our political discourse, but even at a whisper hate can grow unabated even in desert soil. We need start understanding Arizona differently. This is a cancer on the national soul and the body politic, and as a citizenry and a community, we have intervene and create a different climate.