January 11, 2011 07:53 PM UTC by John Stossel
Tonight I will fight with Bill O’Reilly about “what must be done” in response to the shooting in Arizona.
O’Reilly says, “new laws that provide greater safety for public officials should be considered. We simply cannot have chaos at this level.”
But we don’t have “chaos.” America is safer than ever. Crime is down. Political assassinations are rare. They were once much more common. Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy were murdered. So were Senators James Hinds, Huey Long, Robert Kennedy and Rep. Ryan Leo. The shooting of Congresswoman Giffords was the first such incident in more than thirty years. There is little that can be done to stop a crazy person from committing a crazy act.
Bill is right to complain about the hysteria from the left. Jane Fonda said “Palin holds responsibility.”
Michael Daly of NY Daily News said, “Gabrielle Giffords’ blood is on Sarah Palin’s hands.” This is nonsense.
But Bill is wrong to say that congress needs more security. Our imperial political class already spends too much on security. I was once on a CNBC talk show with Treasury Secretary John Snow. The Secretary was accompanied to the NYC studio by four secret service men who officiously ordered us about, demanding we leave each room that the Secretary entered. This self-importance is nonsense too. Few people in NY even knew who John Snow was. I bet more people want to kill me.
This week’s endless media coverage of the Arizona shooting implies that members of Congress are more important than “ordinary” citizens. They are not. All lives are equally valuable.
This past year there were two more deadly shootings. In Connecticut, a man killed 9 co-workers. A Virginia man killed his sister and seven others.
Those shootings got so much less media attention. The political class, which includes the media, treats politicians as special. Now Rep. John King (R-NY) want to make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official. 1,000 feet? No more hunting photo-ops! I guess that would make all guns illegal in Washington D.C. again.
And The Hill reports:
Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to intro legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress.
That would include the target symbols used in Palin’s map.
The Arizona shooting is a terrible tragedy. Overreacting to it would be a tragedy too.