A sad anniversary

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One year ago today, nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green was shot to death by Tuscon resident Jared Lee Loughner, using a 9 mm Glock automatic pistol with a high capacity ammunition clip. Seventeen other people were shot in that incident, a total of six of whom died. One of the injured was Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, whom had already been “targeted” for removal by radical elements of the Republican Party. It is not clear that Loughner was acting as an agent of these radical elements, but it was widely thought at the time that his decision to attempt an assassination of the congresswoman was spurred on by the hateful and violent rhetoric, often laced with references to firearms, of the Tea Party Movement.

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5 thoughts on “A sad anniversary

  1. i drive past that safeway each time i am on my way home from a shift. the story is loaded with emotion and political rhetoric. i remember when it first happened and i was talking with my friends who were actually part of the ems crews on that scene (i am a paramedic firefighter) i was of course one of those who felt like it was some kind of tea party crazy thing.

    but the truth is significantly more complicated. for starters, arizona is still a kind of “wild west” state. gun ownership is part of the zeitgeist that is thick even in the blue tainted areas of our massively red state. having a “glock” with a high capacity magazine is a pretty common thing here. i am of course not defending the idea that such things exist. it is just a reality. and 99.99% of the gun owners here aren’t thinking of unloading it on a crowd of innocent people.

    the other fact is that laughner is and was absolutely bugnutty batshit crazy. i despise the teaparty as much as any other liberal. but it hurts our credibility to lay blame where it doesn’t really belong. i am sure i may get crucified for saying this. but… the problem is that too many sane people are trying to contextualize what laughner did from the standpoint of rationality. but you can’t. there is no sense of rationality in his sick brain that was operating on that fateful morning one year ago.

    he was going to kill gabby giffords. and in my not so humble opinion the ultimate blame lies in the fact that we have an 18th century mental health system. but that is a much harder problem to critique than whether some poor underpaid walmart worker should have sold this kid bullets.

  2. All true, all true, all true.

    And still, the Tea Party does not walk away from this with clean hands. We can not know what happened there because it all happened, or started out, in the head of a crazy person who’s inner secrets can not be understood.

    But if you are an emerging political party, you keep telling your people to show up “armed and dangerous” and they do … they actually bring their guns to the rallies, and that is not frowned on, and you paint shooting targets over the faces of the Democrats you want out of office and so on and so forth, and a crazy person shows up and shoots one of them, then you do not walk away with clean hands.

    The shift away from gun-laced rhetoric starting a few days after the shooting is not meaningless either.

  3. This is the problem with using hate tactics in your attempt to control people–it only works well in those who have no critical thinking skills and works best with those unhappy people inclined to violent negative emotions. A subset of the later are actually mentally Ill and might go off like a bomb.

    The vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent, of course. I am certainly not (clinical depression is mental illness). But the tactics used by some politians is pretty much guaranteed to hook someone barely holding on to their violent impulses and break them. By working up those who are merely incapable rational thought and encouraging them to blame some “other” for their problems, they set up situations that encourage the breakable ones to use their guns or bombs to kill people.

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