My Thoughts On the Tucson Mass Shooting
Matt | On 10, Jan 2011
I have received a few messages from readers saying they are interested to know my take on Saturday’s mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. So, I decided to dedicate a post simply to my views. They are only my opinions and points-of-view.
As you know, the tragedy killed six people and injured an additional 14. One of the injured was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) who was hosting the “Congress On Your Corner” event at a local Safeway grocery store. One of the dead included a federal judge, John Roll, who had coincidentally received unrelated death threats in 2010 for his position on illegal immigration.
Probably the most heart-breaking story was that of a 9-year-old girl who went to the event to learn more about her government. She had just been elected student council president at her school. Strangely enough, she was born on September 11, 2001, the day of the worst terrorist attack on American soil. How chilling is that?
There are too many moving pieces to this story with 20 victims, but I do have my own ideas about what’s going on.
So, what do I think? Overall this is a tragedy of epic proportions, and not just for the 20 wounded or killed. This is a byproduct of two major failures in today’s society: 1) The lack of attention to the mental health needs of our population, and 2) A toxic environment of political rhetoric.
Here are some points I’d like to note to make it a little easier of a read:
- Jared Loughner, the accused killer who was apprehended at the scene, is bat-shit crazy. Yes, I said it. The Washington Post has a very interesting article about Loughner in today’s edition. There are confirmed accounts dating back to his high school years where people thought Loughner was off his mark. He withdrew from Pima Community College last fall due to behavioral complaints. He also had somewhat of an obsession with Rep. Giffords after meeting her briefly in 2007. It seems as if the people around him were not aware of, or didn’t know how to handle, the severity of his mental illness.
- It is wrong to directly blame the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, or even the progressive left for this act. They did not participate in it. However, despite their best efforts to “PR” their way out of any Loughner associations, lawmakers must step up and OWN the vitriolic political environment they have helped to create. There’s no way someone can shoot a Congresswoman at her own public event and it not be political in some ways. I cannot buy that. Even Loughner’s friends said he hated the government. He also thought Giffords was “fake” for not answering one of his crazy questions at a 2007 event. Arizona has been a hotbed of controversy lately with the fight against illegal immigration and the state’s high unemployment and layoffs.
- Hindsight is 20/20. People are quick to point the finger and say what they “think” should have happened to Loughner before he made the ill-fated trip to the Safeway store on Saturday. But, all of these pieces of the puzzle weren’t put together before Saturday. Now, there is a developed timeline about the extent of his illness. It’s very hard to punish someone, in the legal system, for showing signs of mental instability. Until they act there is not much that can be done to them. It’s VERY unfortunate in this and any violent situation.
- Overall, the situation is sad and angering, to say the least. I cannot comprehend shooting a Congresswoman or even thinking about it. And not only did he shoot her, but he did it at point blank range in the head. He wanted her dead. Then to hear that he went down the line and shot an additional 19 people that were near Giffords or waiting to meet her is so unfair. I know Loughner was mentally unstable. But, what did he think he could get out such a public and senseless killing? Maybe I’ll never understand that part.
I would like to get your thoughts on the killings and causes surrounding it. There are several points of view on the matter, many of which I have probably not yet considered. Feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post. Even if you don’t live in the U.S., tell us your thoughts on the American political environment.
I appreciate your responses…