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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

America’s Conscience

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The shootings in Arizona a week ago have left America stunned and wondering, “How can this happen?”
Six people were killed and 13 were wounded, some of who are still in very serious conditions. The story has held the attention of the national news because a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gabrielle Giffords, was seriously injured and U.S. District Judge John Roll, a nine-year-old girl, a legislative assistant and others were killed. It was, as you recognize, a terrible, terrible tragedy.  
The killer, a mentally deranged person, who, as I understand it, had never been treated for his condition, was totally out of touch with the sane world. We can all speculate about his illness or condition, but we all realize a mad man carried out this horrendous act.  
He did target Giffords and then those around her. He emptied his 30-round clip and the round in the chamber and was wrestled down as he was trying to put a full clip into the gun. He was there to kill, and it’s most likely that getting away was not in his train of thought.
Almost instantly the fingers started pointing to what could have caused this person to commit this crime, and the methods used by some are almost a crime themselves. Remember: people kill. Guns, cars or whatever weapons are used don’t do the job without a human behind them. The issue is how someone in this state of mind was allowed to purchase a gun and ammo. How did this person fall through the cracks of society?  
One of the biggest issues here is that we, the public, always look for reasons why someone would commit these violent acts. We did this with the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, and later realized the type of mental health disorders that caused these sick people to act the way they did. They had no conscience, nor did they realize how their victims and their families would feel.   
President Ronald Reagan said it best, “We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker.” As a society we have gotten away from being accountable for our actions. Mental health issues are another matter, but we do blame society for wrongful actions, as we have seen in the Arizona killings.  
We have instant news these days, which is good, but cable news and others don’t just report the news – they give you their opinion of the news, and consider themselves right in their opinion. So then we align ourselves with those we tend to agree with, while cussing and pointing fingers at those we disagree with. And we’re good at it. I’m as guilty as you are.  
We pride ourselves at the Roundup in not printing letters to the editor that attack any individuals, groups or organizations within the Wyoming agricultural community. We feel that everyone can state their case fully while refraining from attacking those who may disagree with them. In agriculture, we all have the same goals. Our numbers are not large enough for us to afford to spread rhetoric among ourselves.     

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