More than one thing can be true at the same time.
Jared Lee Loughner is probably mentally ill. I know personally how difficult and heartbreaking it can be to obtain care for an adult who is mentally ill. I have relatives who suffer from bipolar disorder. Not only is the law a barrier; their own minds are working against their best interests. In our country, we expect people with mental illness to display good judgment. But this is not the subject of this post. (For more information, see and please consider donating to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill at http://www.nami.org.)
I also think that it is no mistake that Loughner targeted Arizona’s first Jewish Democratic congresswoman. The fact that she is relatively conservative as she would probably have to be in the Goldwater state is a nuance that was probably lost to him. I wonder if he followed this news:
Mike Vanderboegh, a former 1990s militia leader from Alabama, encouraged readers of his blog to throw bricks through the doors of members of Congress who had supported President Obama’s health care bill last spring (March 2010). One of the doors broken was that of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot at a rally in a Tuscon supermarket earlier today. (http://unsilentgeneration.com/2011/01/08/congresswoman-giffordss-office-was-vandalized-on-orders-from-former-militia-leader/)
The politics of Arizona with respect to immigration, race and ethnic studies (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63I6TU20100419, Martin Luther King holiday (http://www.lib.az.us/links/kingholiday.aspx, http://www.postbulletin.com/news/stories/display.php?id=1440266) mattered. This DID NOT come out of a vacuum. Unequivocally. Tea party rhetoric did not help. Without question.
Will everyone who hears rhetoric act on it? Of course not. But when it does move someone to action, the purveyors of that rhetoric must be held accountable. It is not cute. It is not snarky. It is not harmless. Confused. Listen to the portrayals of the
In any event, this is not an either … or. Loughner can be crazy and still harbor racist ideas.
Perhaps what is more troubling than the slaughter itself are the denials, obfuscations, half-hearted apologies and political footballing. Heartbreaking.
I’m not sure what is more depressing. Smirking half apologies, denials, avoidance or shrugs.
We will probably not heed the words and warnings of Clarence Dupnik, Pima County Sheriff.
Easier to say that his remarks were inappropriate. After all, fire and police communication systems still aren’t integrated in New York City despite 9/11. We’re still allowing mortgage companies to foreclose with illegal documents.
And the sad ongoing procession of families who either don’t know or can’t cope with loved ones.
Investigators carrying out a search warrant at his parents’ home in a middle-class neighborhood found an envelope in a safe with the words “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and the name “Giffords” next to what appears to be Loughner’s signature. (www.ap.org)
I know that we must fight on but tonight I feel incredibly sad and concerned about the future of our nation. My prayers go out for the victims and their loved ones.
Rest in Peace
Judge John. J. Roll
God’s Grace for a Full Recovery
and all those who were injured.
Meet you tomorrow at 11 a.m. for the moment of silence. Because they have fallen, we are wounded.