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Paso Robles, California, United States
Novelist, poet, songwriter, and journalist, I bring over four decades of experience to the written page. I just finished Mental Hygiene, a coming of age novel set in Fort Jackson, SC circa 1967-68.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Three Incidents, One State

Three things happened in Arizona in the past month to make me pause and reflect.  The first would have been hard to miss unless one were hidden away in a cave.  The other two lasted one news cycle.  They all had to do with killing people.

On December 28th, a patient taken off  the liver transplant list because of Arizona state budget cutbacks, died.  Doctors are quoted as saying that the cutbacks were "likely" to blame.  The cuts, effective October 1, were part of sweeping reductions that lawmakers imposed on state Medicaid services to help balance the budget.  AHCCCS spokesperson Monica Coury was not convinced the lack of a transplant was to blame.    "There are so many things that could be happening with a person on a wait list for an organ that could've caused them to pass away," she said.  "We don't print money at AHCCCS. So we have to cover as many people as we can," Coury added. "Isn't it ultimately a question of what taxpayers are willing to pay for?"

On January 5th, a Mexican teenager was shot and killed as he attempted to scale the fence at the Mexico-Arizona border.  The Border Patrol reported that the teenager was among a group of teens throwing rocks at the officers.  I watched a Border Patrol official state on national TV, "That's what someone who throws a rock should expect."  The FBI is investigating the incident.

Third is the tragic incident this week in Tucson.  The details of horror, grief of families, moments of silence, and the shrieking and finger pointing from our radios and TVs, have convinced us all that someone is to blame..... someone else besides the mentally ill young man with a legally bought firearm.  Who might that be?

Perhaps if we look closely at all three of the above incidents, me might come up with the answer to that question.  In all three incidents, the majority of the citizenry of Arizona was indirectly involved.  The citizens and their elected officials made decisions that enabled all three incidents.  We live in a country that has many freedoms, including the right to vote.  The citizens of Arizona made the choices that killed seven and wounded a slew of others.

Guns are very available to crazy people in Arizona.  The poor are left to die in Arizona.  Mexican illegal immigration is encouraged to be a shooting matter in Arizona.  I guess that makes the list of the also-guilty too long for the evening news.   

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