Franklin Graham expresses sympathy for Arizona victims, cautions against blaming politics
Rev. Franklin Graham expressed sympathy for some 20 victims, six of them dead, from a gunman’s attack in an Arizona Safeway store–even as he cautioned against hastily concluding political motivation.
Graham referred to the crazed shooting by 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner at US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others during a constituent meeting, The Christian Post said.
In a statement Graham said, “My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families in their time of loss and great suffering. [I pray] that they would sense His presence and comfort in their lives,” according to The Christian Post.
Graham cautioned against blaming politics saying, “If something horrific happens to a person, it does not mean those who hold differing views are responsible for the actions of a disturbed individual,” The Christian Post reported.
Those killed by Loughner include Federal District Judge John Roll, a nine-year-old child, and four others. Giffords, who was shot through the left lobe of her brain, is in a medically-induced coma and in critical condition, The Christian Post said.
The attack sparked national debate on the motivation for the shooting, with liberals blaming Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and conservatives, Politico said, even as conservatives blamed liberals and the media.
A Sarah Palin campaign map in September last year, which showed bulls-eye marks on Democratic districts as targets for the Republican campaign, was blamed, New York Magazine said.
Gifford told MSNBC last year, “We’re on Sarah Palin’s ‘targeted’ list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we’re in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve gotta realize that there are consequences to that action,” New York Magazine reported.
Loughner posted many YouTube videos and a YouTube profile online, but he never spoke about the Tea Party or the health care bill. He was not on the Tea Party email list, nor was he a member of the Tucson Tea Party, Politico reported.
His reading choices were not rightist, but more liberal and leftist including Siddartha, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (which Politico said were “hippie cult books”) and the leftist The Communist Manifesto.
The Christian Post said he was “a high school dropout, military reject and loner” who posted YouTube videos suggesting that people create their own languages to avoid mind control.
Former professor Kent Slinker from Pima Community College (where he was expelled) said Loughner’s “brains were scrambled. His thoughts were unrelated to anything in our world,” The Christian Science Monitor reported.
In 2008 Loughner was cited for graffiti, UPI reported. He told a policeman that his tag is “Christian” referring to a ‘c’ and an ‘x.’ The Christian Science Monitor said Loughner suspected the government was controlling Americans through grammar.
New York Magazine said Loughner seemed to nurture a three-year grudge against Giffords when he asked her in a previous event, “What is government if words have no meaning?” To which Giffords answered in Spanish.
Mr. Pitcavage of the ADL, who is a hate crime expert, told The Christian Science Monitor, “It’s a pattern we see sometimes with hate crimes and sometimes with crimes against the government…that personal factors may be the primary mover to violence, and it’s the ideological component to their belief system that often will help them choose the target when they do decide to strike out.”
No time for political opportunism
Influential blogger Erick Erickson called efforts by the left and media to tie the Arizona shooting to conservatives “craven” and “irresponsible” adding, “[It] may very well incite violence to the right,” Politico reported.
Rev. Franklin said, “This is not a time for political opportunism. What frightens me is that our country has accepted murder, violence and rape as entertainment that we see portrayed every day on TV, movies and video games,” The Christian Post reported.
Franklin added, “I agree with Sheriff Clarence Dupnik when he alluded to the fact that this country needs some serious soul searching. If we as a nation are not careful, we could see the destruction of the foundation upon which this nation was built,” according to The Christian Post.