The Tucson Massacre: Deconstructing competing claims

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Anthony Cortese, Ph.D


What are the underlying causes of the 2011 Tucson shooting that killed six people–including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and injured 12 others? In the aftermath of the shooting, three competing claims emerged: (1) Hate rhetoric from the right-wing; (2) The mental illness of the shooter; and (3) lax gun laws. From a critical constructionist model, this article deconstructs each claim, providing a coherent account of this tragic event, and other key players such as the NRA, Brady Bill, 1994 Ban on Assault Weapons, and British gun reform after the mass shooting that claimed the lives of sixteen five-year-old and six-year-old students and their teacher who died shielding them from the disturbed killer.

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