Wednesday Jan 19 2011
Will the assassination attempt and slaying of six in Arizona have a chilling effect on the way politics plays out in Placer County?
By: Gus Thomson and Daniel Wetter, Gold Country News Service
Last week, U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, returned to a Washington, D.C. that was absent the usual bipartisan rhetoric and flourishes of invective. “It’s hit the House pretty hard,” said McClintock, who said he had not met U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was targeted in the Jan. 8 assassination attempt. But McClintock, while acknowledging that the attack could have happened just as easily in Placer County as Arizona, said that it’s important to not interpret the shootings in Arizona as evidence of a trend. “This was a creepy, deranged person and creepy, deranged persons do creepy, deranged things,” McClintock said. McClintock said one obvious impact of the shootings would be to discourage interaction between elected officials and constituents. “This does a lot of harm but we will take every precaution,” he said. “I intend to continue to take whatever precautions possible to make sure everyone who comes to a meeting is safe.” McClintock expressed concern that the attack would be used as a wedge to move for changes in firearms laws or attack groups like the Tea Party. He noted that interviews from those who knew accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner in high school described him as a liberal. Giffords is described as a moderate Democrat. And McClintock doesn’t think gun control advocates will gain a stronger case from Saturday’s shootings. “I’ve always believed the best defense from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said. “A good guy with a gun could’ve saved six lives.” One Roseville resident, Michelle Galieoti, an independent, disagreed with McClintock, saying she hopes a new debate over gun control comes from the shooting. “I don’t think people need to own semi-automatics,” Galieoti said. Others, including a Roseville resident who wished for her name not to be used, cited former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s map featuring “crosshairs” on certain districts, including that of Congresswoman Giffords. “They’re putting ideas into the heads of radicals,” she said. She also believes that the shooting was directly related to political rhetoric. “It’s the result of very right-wing politicians and talk show hosts who speak irresponsibly,” she said. While the retired educator believes political debate should not be compromised, she said the rhetoric should be toned down. “Whenever we open our mouths, we have a responsibility,” she said. Robert Meyers, one of the leaders in Roseville’s Tea Party movement, said that the actions of one deranged man shouldn’t be a force to put a chill on political discourse. “I don’t see anything wrong with telling the truth,” he said, citing one of the main principles of the Tea Party movement. According to Meyers, politics was not a factor in the shooting of 20 people, killing six. He also said that while the Tea Party holds rallies at events, they are never violent. “We do express our opinions, but it has always been peaceably,” Meyers said. Others such as Anthony Cabrera, 36, a resident of San Francisco who was in Roseville this week, focus on the question of security at political events such as Giffords’ “Congress on your Corner.” “Why were there not any federal agents?” asked Cabrera, saying that congressional members should have access to a security detail just as the president. The Roseville Police Department said they have provided security at various events, but there has not been any additional requests by local elected officials for security since the shooting in Tucson.