*the pic is a high school yearbook pic of the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, that was posted at ajc.com
*** Update 1/9/2011 to Clear Up Confusion: I am in no way advocating that the shooter be given a free pass and let go to go out and commit more killings. That is not what this post is about.***
The dust has not yet settled in the horrific shooting in Tuscon, Arizona where many people were injured and several were killed by a gunman who open fired on a group gathered outside a Safeway to participate in a meeting with Congresswoman Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Already people are lining up on each side of their political fence to throw the blame at one another for inciting violence in “the crazies,” but what I fear will probably be lost in all of this is that it probably has nothing to do with politics and more to do with a lone shooter who was most likely mentally ill and set adrift in a gun-toting culture of violence that doesn’t want to deal with the “problem” of mentally ill people, let alone the stigma of it all.
If it turns out that the gunman is mentally ill, there will likely be no discussion about the real issues related to mental health care for people who are seriously ill, and the media will again brandish a VIOLENT person as a representative of what mental illness is. I checked out what is reported to be the gunman’s youtube page: Classitup10 who is supposedly Jared Lee Loughner and his videos are filled with the kind of nonsensical, paranoid ramblings classic in mental illness, especially untreated schizophrenia. If these are in fact his videos, and if he is mentally ill (which is all conjecture at this point: Jan. 8, 2011, 3:30pm), I wonder and fear how this will play out in the media and how it will play out in the courtroom.
Of course, my sympathies are for the people killed and injured and their families, but it would also be tragic if this entire situation was blown up into a political football that people just pass back and forth. If we could come to learn more about the real reasons for violence in our society and possibly learn something real about mental health care and stigma, perhaps all would not be lost. I am not crossing my fingers though.
* below is another pic from the same source of Jared Lee Loughner in 2010.
2 thoughts on “Arizona Shooting”
I am advocate for helping people with mental illness. Mental illness has impacted my family and friends very deeply on various levels from schizophrenia to autism to an array of different things. Mental illness is a terrible thing, I myself have had a lot of struggles in life dealing with mental illness.
I have to say though that what you posted on this blog is one of the most heinous and appalling things. Mental disease or not, he should get the death penalty. He killed all of those people and affected so many by his actions. If he was not stable enough to be in society, then he should be some where that he was protected from society. What if he had killed your mother? Would you feel differently then or would you defend him?
It’s not an attack on mental illness, its holding people accountable for their actions regardless of the situation. Only in America do we allow the insanity plea, its an excuse. If they can do something such as this, they will do it again and I hope it hurts no other people. I know how hard it is to lose someone close to you, if someone had killed my father through actions such as those I would kill that person with my own two hands and gladly sit in jail the rest of my life.
If I did that would I be able to use temporary insanity? Would they look back through all the videos I make and view and come up with excuses? No. People have no accountability anymore, that is why things such as these occur only in America. Do you hear of heinous attacks in other developed countries? I can understand you perspective, more so than you could ever comprehend. This is irreovocably disprespectful to those families and others who have had tragedies strike their lives.
I am not writing this to offend you or anyone else, but your perspectives are way out of line with mine. This is the downfall of social networking and when you post things like this to advocate your own issues you can really offend people. I am watching the news right now about the whole situation as I am writing this. Please keep your opinions to yourself and don’t post them on facebook.
Actually I don’t want him to die, I want him to rot in a jail cell in solitary confinement to dwell on his selfish heinous acts and the pain he inflicted upon everyone. He deserves every horrible thing in the world to happen to him. You shared your opinion, now I shared mine.
Clearly, you misunderstood everything I wrote. I didn’t say anything about letting the shooter off the hook. I didn’t defend what he did in any way. Of course my heart goes out to the people who were shot and their families. Perhaps you should re-read what I wrote, because it seems you are really angry at things I didn’t even say!