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Tragedy Compounded

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By Dr. Frank Wright, President & CEO

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Calling the horrific shootings in Arizona a tragedy doesn’t begin to speak to the personal devastation in so many lives. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families – even the family of this terribly disturbed man who has done such unspeakable things.

Yet here in Washington, D.C. – where stony-hearted political types are ever unwilling to “let a good crisis go to waste” – the personal tragedy in Arizona is fast becoming a tragedy for freedom.  

With many political commentators on the Left asserting that the real problem is unrestricted free speech, it seems clear that the speech they see needing limitation is that of those on the political right. Here we see revealed afresh the troubling predisposition on the part of some liberals to circumscribe any speech but their own.

The irony of their self-serving view of free speech is palpable. After the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in spite of the self-evident connections between the shooter and radical Islam, Americans were admonished by political liberals everywhere to not jump to conclusions. Yet even though the radical Islamic connections were subsequently verified, there were no serious calls to restrict the free speech rights of Muslims.

Yet in the case of the Tucson shootings, before the tears were dry on the faces of the victim’s families, liberal commentators dashed to their microphones calling for restrictions on free speech – particularly the speech of their political opponents. On Capitol Hill liberals practically tripped over themselves to see who would be first to call for reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine – a regulation that even Dan Rather called an affront to the First Amendment, in which “an invaluable element of freedom has been lost.”

The events in Tucson were indeed tragic. These families remain in our prayers. Yet we cannot let their personal tragedy be manipulated by cold-hearted politicians to foster a national tragedy on all Americans.