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Arizona Faces 'Lethal Combination' of Guns and Hate Speech | The Nation

Arizona Faces 'Lethal Combination' of Guns and Hate Speech

Jeff Biggers, a Tucson-based journalist whose recent piece for TheNation.com, "What's the Matter With My Arizona?", charts the trajectory of his state's increasingly-deregulated gun culture, appeared on Democracy Now! Monday to discuss Jared Lee Loughner’s assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. After the act of violence, which killed six people, including a 9-year-old girl, and wounded others, Biggers describes his childhood in Arizona: “This is a gun state. I think across the nation, not only in Arizona, we all grow up with guns. I had my first gun—fired my first gun when I was eight years old at a summer camp with the YMCA here in Tucson, Arizona. And, I cut my political teeth, for example, when I was 17, with Congressman Morris K. Udall, who was a very proud member of the NRA, who defended gun rights.”

In a following segment with the co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, Chip Berlet, Biggers addresses how the violence might impact democracy: “We have a radical right state legislature who is really obsessive and hell-bent on having some sort of confrontational defiance of federal authority. And many people here in Tucson are really trying to come to grips [with] how there can be more public events to have greater access to politicians, and that really has been jeopardized.” Biggers predicted, “Ultimately in the future, we’re going to be having less access to our elected officials and more influence, even more influence with the gun lobby and other lobbyists.”

—Kevin Gosztola

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