Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, criticized victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colo. for failing to stop the attack, and gun control for a lack of weapons in the theater where 12 people were killed last Friday.
Pearce, the conservative legislator best known as the author of anti-immigration law S.B. 1070, wrote his comments on Facebook. In a post reacting to the attack, Pearce wrote, “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.”
Pearce referenced the September 11, 2001 downing of United Flight 93, a hijacked plane which was brought down due to the actions of passengers, at the cost of their lives. “Where were the men of flight 93????” Pearce asked. “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 no one was prepared to stop it.”
Pearce added, “All that was needed is one Courages/Brave [sic] man prepared mentally or otherwise to stop this it could have been done.”
The assailant, James Holmes, used tear gas to disable and disorient his victims, and was wearing full body armor during his attack.
When his remarks appeared in the Arizona Republic, Pearce accused the newspaper of twisting his words.
“It sure didn’t take long for the AZ Republic to try and mischaracterize my earlier post as some sort of attack on the victims of the horrific attack in Colorado,” Pearce said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“All I did was lament that so many people should be left disarmed and vulnerable by anti-gun rules that try to create a sense of safety by posting a sign that says ‘No Guns’, when the only real effect is to disarm everyone who could have save lives,” Pearce said.
The theater where the attack was carried out did bar guns from its premises, but the effectiveness of weapons against a man wearing body armor is far from clear. Additionally, Pearce never mentioned gun control in his initial post, and instead lamented the lack of “courages” men.
Among those killed in the attack were Naval Petty Officer John Larimer and Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress.
After criticizing the media for twisting the words he wrote, Pearce removed both posts from Facebook. Clearly the mark of a courageous, brave man, who absolutely would have tackled a killer and saved the day, if only he’d been there.
Image Credit: Gage Skidmore