Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Arizona Shooting: Continued Fallout

Every story on the Arizona shooting that allows reader or viewer feedback, every radio show that takes the topic on for discussion has gone over and over the ground of our political discourse and whether or not it was a proximate cause for the shooting rampage. These discussions themselves have gotten rancorous, devolving into personal attacks and value judgments.

In other words, if talk radio, political bloggers, talk TV and bombastic talk by politicians of all stripes were to have suddenly and completely disappeared over the course of the last three to four years (going back to Jared Loughner's first contact with Arizona congressional rep Gabrielle Giffords), would Mr. Loughner still have gone to the Safeway and shot 20 people on Saturday, January 8, 2011?

I am afraid that he very well would have carried out this terrible crime, even in the absence of all political bombast.

The demons lived in his head without much external support. According to news reports, he and his parents had gradually removed themselves from the public commons, one by one cutting off old friends and neighbors over the past three to four years. It seems to me that they became a toxic self sustaining brew of dysfunction. When Jared ventured out into society, he quickly gathered a scary reputation, finding himself banned from a community college campus.

Did his parents react to this? Or did they just continue to form the tight cocoon around their lives? It could have been that political discourse was part of the background noise in the dark, isolated homes that these people lived in, getting more and more crazy, disconnected, delusional.

Then again, they could have just been sitting around playing Grand Theft Auto too.

The proximate cause of Jared Loughner's actions was his untreated and unmonitored dysfunctional, delusional mental state. Oh, we could stand to be nicer to each other in political speech, and our discourse needs to be less partisan in order to solve the difficult problems in our nation--that has been a long standing position of this writer. However, this sad young man is sick.

So Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and the Daily Kos did not cause this man to take up a gun and shoot 20 people. Neither, for that matter, did Grand Theft Auto.


Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
I agree with you on the stuff and nonsense surrounding this discourse.

There is still an argument to be made that indoctrination has a place to play. Those that make that argument however, seem to be furthering the indoctrination.

(It's okay if I SAY something vitriolic. It's not okay if YOU do.)

This hypocrisy just wears me down! And thank you, b/c I had not quite put my finger on what bothered me the most.
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

P.S. I dislike the whole list from Limbaugh to Kos, and I've never seen GTA. They puff themselves up, and they make misery for others thereby.

Ann T.

chuck said...

Nice read, and dead on the money.

the observer said...

Ann T:
I think that it can be soaked up like anything in the environment and perhaps become a part of a delusion or ideation, but as the proximal cause--no. That is why the legal definition appealed to me--cuts thru all the BS.

In terms of his legal responsibility when it comes to his trial, Mr. Loughner will have a lot of trouble proving he did not know what he was doing. Too much planning.

Thanks again--I just try to play it straight. Sometimes I run into stuff that makes sense :)

The Observer