Shortly after the tragic shootings last weekend at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, a man clicked on to his Facebook page and feverishly banged out a 255-word message which in time would go viral on the Internet.
The message, written by one Russell Pearce, of Mesa, Arizona, needed no translation. Pearce criticized the Aurora victims for not protecting themselves. “Where,” he wrote, “were the men of flight 93????” The four question marks were his.
The timeline of Pearce’s comments is confusing. The date on his Facebook page says he published his message Friday night at 10:21, Arizona time. That would be 11:21 in Aurora, about an hour and 10 minutes before the shooting. We know that the message was written hurriedly and sent unedited because it contained numerous easily-identifiable typos including: “who’s” (whose), “noone” (none), “Courages” (courageous), “sensless” (senseless) and simple punctuation errors.
The disingenuous Mr. Pearce of Arizona began the message with a falsely-sympathetic description of the shootings. His heart, he writes, goes out to the “best friend” (Mikayla) of a “very good (friend’s)” niece (Kim), who were in the theater when the shootings took place. Pearce’s “very good friend” having just called him from San Diego. Kim apparently escaped but Mikayla’s status was unknown at the time.
“What a heart breaking story,” Pearce writes before charging on to what he really wants to say, with the allusion to the Flight 93 passengers’ revolt during one of the 9/11 airplane hijackings.
An excerpt follows:
“Had someone been prepared and armed they could have stopped this “bad” man from most of this tragedy. He was two and three feet away from folks, I understand he had to stop and reload. Where were the men of flight 93???? Someone should have stopped this man. Someone could have stopped this man. Lives were lost because of a bad man, not because he had a weapon, but because noone was prepared to stop it. Had they been prepared to save their lives or lives of others, lives would have been saved. All that was needed is one Courages/Brave man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this it could have been done. When seconds count, police are ony minutes away. My prayers are with all of those suffering from this sensless act, may God be with them in this moment of pain and heartache.” You can read Pearce’s entire message at http://www.facebook.com/#!/russell.pearce.77?sk=wall
Why should we care what Russell Pearce has to say about shootings far away from his own bailiwick? We should care because the recently recalled state legislator, Senate President and author of the infamous immigration SB-1070 bill, is still a powerful voice for liberal gun laws, not only in Cowboy Land, his own state, but nationally. In fact, Pearce co-sponsored a bill in 2010 that became Arizona law, a law that allows concealed weapons to be carried without permits.
That is why Pearce rushed to the computer that night and fired away from his keyboard. He feared his liberal gun laws will wither under the scrutiny of 12 deaths and almost 60 injuries at the hands of a deranged man carrying an automatic assault weapon.
Imagine this scenario that could be painted by Pearce and his Tea-Party followers:
A movie-goer that night with his own automatic weapon attempts to return fire on the assassin. The room is filled with smoke. The would-be hero fires anyway, unloading his ammo into the murk, and eventually stops the perpetrator. But in the process Mr. Hero has killed another dozen innocent people, to which Pearce and others might assign collateral damage. The assassin could’ve killed more if not stopped, the argument holds.
Here we have in Aurora, the most innocent of Americans, movie-goers seeking a night of entertainment with family and friends, with children even, to watch another version of the much-anticipated “Black Knight.” How foolish. These movie-goers, we are told, should have come to the Century 16 theater steeled for combat.
Russell Pearce sees enemies at every turn. He and his ilk are in a panic. They fear dark-skinned Latins will take over Arizona, then take over America. They want their country back. They want a white America. They will do anything to make it happen. Grab that Glock, baby, press its trigger, Civil War is at hand. It is their way or the highway. In his wrong-headed zeal to protect “his” country, Mr. Pearce of Arizona sadly spins the tragedy of Aurora into Dark Ages political statement.
This is the kind of State I live in.