The Stench of Opportunism

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And many times, such confrontations emerge out of cultural misunderstandings – which are probably more likely to happen in Arizona than in most other places.

No doubt, the time is long overdue to find a way to stop mass shootings. But the way to do that is through sensible gun control laws and better access to mental health services. One gun shop, for example, didn’t sell a “long gun” rifle to the Newtown shooter, Adam Lanza, because he didn’t want to wait 14 days for a background check.

Perhaps if there was some way of tracking down people who refuse such checks, that might stop some mass murders.

On top of that, Arizona is a state with no laws requiring it to report people who have been determined to be mentally ill to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NCIS – something that would show up in a check by a gun seller.

Arpaio would be better off using his energies to fix that.

Still, the situation in Arizona bears watching – because it could well turn out to be a cautionary tale.

It bears watching because officials who are motivated by politics, prejudice and ideology than by actual school safety could very well come up with ways to use the Newtown school massacre in the same way that the Bush administration used the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – to push an agenda that is more about frightening people into accepting overly-aggressive policing and more, often misguided, retaliatory actions that happen after such tragedies, than in preventing such tragedies by pushing for real answers.

And we all know that for people of color, that never turns out well for us.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist who is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her at tonyaajw@twitter. Or visit her webpage and blog, “Tonyaa’s Take,” at

(Photo: AP)

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