Wisely AC360 made the decision to not air the Paul Reubens interview on Monday's program. Instead they took a detailed look at the Saturday shootings in Arizona. The opening featured Randi Kaye, Drew Griffin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
The panel in the first hour was David Gergen and Dana Loesch. Gergen summed it up perfectly for me by saying
" There is no connection, clear or vague between that rhetoric (during mid term elections) and what this deranged fellow did. And in that sense I think it is inappropriate to point fingers and make accusations trying to link the rhetoric to this rampage. If anything the accusations and all this name calling is only further poisoning the discourse in this country and further polarizing us as a people. President Obama had it right today, we need to pull together as a people."
And from that we segue to Bill Maher. I'm a fan of Mahr's so this criticism is coming from someone who usually appreciates his political take on things BUT tonight was not the night for him. His finger pointing and negative observations did not make this resident of Arizona feel any better about this weekend's tragedy in my state. His ruminations were very disturbing to me and I found it totally inappropriate at this time.
Which brings us to the crux of the issue. If Arizona had more than a skeleton system in place for treating mentally disturbed people the perpetrator of his crime wouldn't have fallen through the cracks and he wouldn't have been able to legally purchase a firearm. Arizona has slashed mental health services almost every year for the past decade. Last year, the worst by far, the Legislature made a 37 percent cut to the mental health system budget.
Mental health experts have warned for years that by slashing their budget more people would end up in the criminal justice system. Guess they should have added the caveat that innocent citizens would die too.
The segment following Mahr went back to Gergen and Loesch. Frankly at this point I was so angry at Mahr, AC360 et all I vacillated between changing the channel and just watching with my finger on the mute button.
The second hour of AC360 talked of those who lost their lives and those that are still struggling to survive. Randi Kaye provided a time line of the day and interviews with people who were on the scene.
Drew Griffin interviewed one of the professors at Pima Community College who had Laughner expelled from the campus and Cooper interview two former classmates.
Anderson conducted interviews with four of the people who were heroes on Saturday. 3 had subdued the gunman and the fourth, a Giffords aide, spoke about how he helped the Congresswoman.
Next up was Dr. Gupta explaining the injury to Rep. Giffords and the consequences.
Anderson did an interview, by satellite, with the parents of Christina-Taylor Green. She was the nine year old girl who was the youngest victim of this senseless tragedy. Her father, John Green, said that he didn't believe this crime was about politics he felt that it was more media driven. He went on to say that someone who plans and executes a crime of this type is looking for that big splash of publicity.
The final panel of the evening was Dana Loesch, David Gergen and Roland Martin discussing the rhetoric.
360 Bulletin with Joe Johns