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August 31, 2008

Politics and Violence in Arkansas: Democratic Party Leader Bill Gwatney Shot

Bill Gwatney died a few hours after he was shot in his Little Rock Office. The chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party was shot several times in the upper body. A gunman, Timothy Dale Johnson, a 50 year old from Searcy, Arkansas came to the office saying that he wanted to volunteer. He spoke with a 17 year old volunteer, Sam Higginbotham and another employee and asked to see the chairman. Then he pushed his way through to Gwatney’s office.

Gwatney’s assistant went into a surrounding business and asked a lady to call the police. The gunman ran into an Arkansas Baptist State Convention and pointed a gun at someone in there as well. After that he drove off in a vehicle and was chased into a ditch by police. He was shot and taken into custody.

The National Democratic Committee and Bill and Hilary Clinton have all issued statements about Gwatney’s death. It was not immediately clear why the suspect attacked the chairman. There is some speculation that the suspect mentioned something about losing his job.

As the presidential election nears the political climate in the United States continues to threaten to boil over. The country is torn over the plight that it finds itself in after eight years of having a completely incompetent government. As unemployment, a mortgage crisis and a war that just will not wane reek havoc in the country, those that are unstable are becoming more dangerous. For those of us that are unhappy about the state of the country, but know that we have to work to change it, shooting someone is not an option. However, for those that are unstable and have given up all hope, their solutions might look much different than ours do.

Arkansas is a state where there are still plenty of poor rural pockets. There are people in the state are starving, homeless and in need of jobs. This gunman may have come from those ranks. Of course, murdering the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Committee is not the answer to anything. This senseless tragedy has taken a man away form his family and the world.

In the next few months, everyone involved in politics needs to be careful. The country is hostile and always on the verge of exploding. Politicians must key their eyes open as the month pass. There is just no way of knowing when or where one is safe or in danger. Gwatney was in his office. A seemingly safe place for him to be.

In this very delicate time politicians must mind their words and watch their backs. The fate of the United States is so incredibly uncertain at this time. This country that used to be a powerhouse has fallen in stature. People are not happy here and many can not afford to exist at the poverty line. When people fall to those levels of living they begin to blame the government for everything that has happened to them. They also expect the government, in many cases, to get them out of the predicament they are in.

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