How Not to React to the Gabrielle Giffords ShootingS

The Saturday shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and several others is the kind of tragedy it takes time to process. But it's not an excuse to be a idiot. Not that it stopped certain members of Congress.

You shouldn't, for example, respond to the death of six people by trying to make it "a federal crime to threaten or incite violence against a member of Congress or a federal official," the way Rep. Bob Brady (D - Pa.) wants to. Senseless murder is not an excuse to pass stupid laws! Anyway, freedom of speech is one of the few civil liberties Americans still kind of care about, so let's try to protect it, even if it takes the form of shittily-designed maps that tacitly encourage murder.

Another thing you probably shouldn't do is start carrying a concealed weapon, as Rep. Heath Shuler (D - N.C.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R - Utah) say they will be doing. For one thing, just from, like, a practical point of view, there's no conclusive evidence that carrying a concealed weapon will reduce crime, or provide you with effective protection. For another, the problem here isn't that Giffords didn't have a gun. It's that a crazy guy did. And, honestly, there are not many groups of people in this country whom I trust less with dangerous objects than the current Congress.

If you're a congressperson and you need to do something, why not start thinking about ways we can improve our ability to handle the dangerously mentally ill? Aw, who am I kidding. Buy yourself a handgun and start outlawing stuff!