Former Ariz. Senator apologizes for placing blame on victims in theater shooting
Former Ariz. Senator Russell Pearce
A former Arizona senator who voters threw out of office in a recall vote last year is now apologizing for criticizing the victims of the Aurora theater shooting last week.
Russell Pearce, who is campaigning to regain his seat in the Arizona State Senate, took to Facebook on July 21, the day after a shooting that left 12 dead and 58 wounded, saying, “Someone should have stopped this man. Someone could have stopped this man.”
Pearce was referring to suspected gunman James E. Holmes, who was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun and wearing protective riot gear.
“Had someone been prepared and armed they could have stopped this ‘bad’ man from most of this tragedy,” Pearce wrote. “He was two and three feet away from folks, I understand he had tostop and reload. Where were the men of flight 93????”
While Pearce didn’t back away from his original criticisms Tuesday, he did say “there comes a time when explaining stops making sense and you are better off simply apologizing.”
“For those who were offended by my post regarding the shootings in Aurora,” Pearce wrote, “please accept my apologies.”
Pearce regularly advocated for expansions in gun rights before he was recalled. He also was one of the sponsors of Arizona’s now-infamous immigration law, which the U.S. Supreme Court largely struck down last month.
“I will never understand policies that disarm honest citizens and leave them vulnerable to the premeditated attacks of madmen,” Pearce continued to write in his apology. “But it is still far too early for any sort of discussion over how to prevent the next such attack.”
Pearce’s original Facebook post criticizing victims has been removed.