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Chilling effect of Arizona shootings drifting to Auburn, Placer County?

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Will Saturday’s assassination attempt and slaying of six in Arizona have a chilling effect on the way politics plays out in Placer County? U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, returned to a Washington, D.C. Tuesday that was absent the usual bipartisan rhetoric and flourishes of invective. McClintock, who said he had not met assassination target U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said President Obama has ordered normal D.C. government business postponed until next week and he’ll be attending a ceremony marking the tragedy today. “It’s hit the House pretty hard,” McClintock said Tuesday. But McClintock, while acknowledging that the attack could have happened just as easily in Placer County as Arizona, said that it’s important to not interpret the shootings in Arizona as evidence of a trend. “This was a creepy, deranged person and creepy, deranged persons do creepy, deranged things,” McClintock said. McClintock said one obvious impact of the shootings would be to discourage interaction between elected officials and constituents. “This does a lot of harm but we will take every precaution,” he said. “I intend to continue to take whatever precautions possible to make sure everyone who comes to a meeting is safe.” McClintock expressed concern that the attack would be used as a wedge to move for changes in firearms laws or attack groups like the Tea Party. He noted that interviews from those who knew accused shooter, Jared Lee Loughner in high school described him as a Liberal. Giffords is described as a moderate Democrat. And McClintock doesn’t think gun control advocates will gain a stronger case from Saturday’s shootings. “I’ve always believed the best defense from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said. “A good guy with a gun could’ve saved six lives.” Steve Cavolt, one of the leaders in Auburn’s Tea Party movement, said that the actions of one deranged man shouldn’t be a force to put a chill on political discourse. But as radio talk show hosts, gun owners and people who want to assemble for political meetings feel threatened, it may be a good idea to step back and consider looking for common ground, he said. “We all just maybe need to tone it down a bit,” Cavolt said. At Auburn’s KAHI 950 rightwing talk show host Laura Ingraham’s show rules the airwaves from 9 a.m. to noon. Ingraham, who’s billed by the AM station as an equally conservative alternative to Rush Limbaugh is apt to throw out verbal blasts at Congress, at times calling leaders “frauds.” But Dave Rosenthal, the stations vice president of operations, said the shootings haven’t turned station listeners against the program or Ingraham. One listener identified himself as a World War II veteran of Iwo Jima and thanked the station for continuing with Ingraham’s program in the wake of the attack. “Don’t let them run you out of here,” were the man’s words, Rosenthal said. “There has been no backlash whatsoever,” Rosenthal said. “But we have had calls of praise to continue airing shows with that point of view.”