On the Arizona shootings

By Jack Hoffman

As soon as Jared Lee Loughner was captured, the media began its blame game: What was the motive? But as the smoke began to clear, a picture began to evolve of a madman gone wild.

The evidence so far has shown that Loughner takes on the description of a paranoid schizophrenic. Studies have shown less than 1% of paranoid schizophrenic will become violent. What we do know is that Jared Loughner listed on his own website some of his favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, Through the Looking Glass, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Communist Manifesto. David Brooks of The New York Times writes “that many of these books take on a common theme: individuals trying to control their own thoughts and governments, or some other force trying to take that control away.”

Certainly Jared’s behavior and tirades in his classroom, while brandishing the same gun used in his murderous nightmare, seem to lend lots of credence to mental instability. Behavior that many of his students, acquaintances and neighbors all knew and did nothing about. So where were the parents in all of this?

All societies have their share of mentally disturbed individuals. So why does the United States have a higher rate per capita of these types of killing sprees being committed by deranged minds similar to Loughner? What comes to mind is Columbine, Fort Hood, and Virginia Tech.

What pushes these deranged and sick individuals over the cliff?

1. The easy unfettered access to guns!

Pima County, Arizona Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik who has become outspoken about Arizona’s open gun laws and the increase in violence and explosive rhetoric suggested that maybe the state could pass a law that would require that every child have an Uzi in their crib. The sale of guns in Arizona has gone up dramatically since the massacre. Amazingly, with all those guns being toted around, not one was ever used by a bystander at the shooting.

Its not so incredible to me after visiting a gun show in Las Vegas. The ease with which you could buy one of those semiautomatic guns. Even if you have a record! It doesn’t matter. Just grab one of those salesmen who can’t speak a word of English, slip him a couple of bucks and you can start your own army. It’s easier than getting a license to operate a car here in the United States.

Guess we need more guns.

2. The difficulty of obtaining adequate health care for the mentally ill.

Almost every state government, including Arizona, due to budget cuts, decreases funds for mental care. The stigma of mental illness remains prevalent.

3. The toxic and inflammatory political rhetoric in this country.

It’s ironic that Representative Gabrielle Gifford’s support to provide healthcare for more Americans like Loughner was met with such vitriolic opposition. Sarah Palin stands up in Louisiana in front of a group of Second Amendment “hoo rahs” and tells them all to “reload.” She continues this same display of dangerous behavior by posting a map of the U.S. and crosshairs in the locations of “certain candidates that need to be taken down.”

An opposition candidate to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida talks about shooting her down. Many candidates, especially many affiliated with the Tea Party, ran ads posing with their weapons. Strange how many of these candidates spewing vitriolic rhetoric, their weapons by their sides, were defeated.

There is not one thing that set Jared off. It was already there – society just gave him a push.

The argument will go on and on and on, yet nothing will ever be done other than the execution of Jared Loughner. Yes, since the attempted assassination of Reagan by John Hinckley, who won a mental insanity defense Congress, raised the bar on the rules for a mental defense.

What may be the only positive thing to emerge from all this madness and asinine defense of political rhetoric gone wild will be the beginning of the end of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. That mess has finally boiled over.

Leave a Reply