Home National Politics Arizona Shooter Was “a radical against both parties”

Arizona Shooter Was “a radical against both parties”

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I see in the wonderful world known as the blogosphere that people are desperately trying to place Jared Loughner, the young man who shot Rep. Giffords and numerous others in Arizona yesterday, into a convenient political category. As is usually the case, the facts – aka, “reality” – don’t allow for such oversimplification. In fact, here’s what we know about Loughner:

*He listed “Mein Kampf” (far right) AND “The Communist Manifesto” (far left) and a bunch of literary classics (e.g, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Old Man and the Sea”) as his favorite books.

*He made videos with “seemingly unconnected thoughts about currency and dreams, and the words ‘I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.'” If anyone can make any sense of that gobbledygook, more power to you, but I can’t.

*He tried to join the U.S. Army but was rejected.

*He was highly disruptive in class (at the Pima Community College in Tucson), to the extent that “campus police were called five times” to deal with him.

*He has a drug arrest on his record.

*He has no apparent link “explicitly to any mainstream political group or figures.”

*At the shooting scene itself, he reportedly made no statements, wore no clothing that indicated any political leanings, didn’t mention the Congresswoman or anyone else by name, also seemed to be “just firing at whatever.”

*He sometimes wore “Goth” clothes and “T-shirts with the names of heavy-metal bands.”

*He thought “a lot of people were just idiots.”

*He “never talked of using violence,” but “there was something there that wasn’t quite right.”

And last but not least:

*”He was like a radical against both parties…From what I got, it seemed like he didn’t like anybody that was in power.”

Now, if anyone can seriously find a coherent political ideology or leaning in that, you’re a lot more clever than I am. Bottom line: this guy appears to have been a social misfit, mentally unbalanced, with a great deal of anger and access to high-powered weaponry/ammo. Other than that, there really doesn’t seem to be a lot more that can be responsibly concluded about this guy. Of course, that won’t stop people from projecting their own political beliefs onto Jared Loughner, and that’s unfortunate. Also, just to be clear, the fact that Loughner was not overtly political in any identifiable way does not mean that the overall level of vitriol in our political discourse – and certainly in Arizona! – might not have affected a mentally unbalanced individual like Loughner. In fact, that’s exactly what many of us have been worried about for a long time, that – to quote Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik:

…when you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona I think has become sort of the capital, we have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry…this individual may have a mental issue, and I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol.

If the “right” – particularly people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and their enablers – have to answer to today, it’s in creating an overall atmosphere that could — emphasis on could, because we don’t know this right now, and may never know for sure – tip an unbalanced person from “simply crazy” to “mass shooter.” And, frankly, even without yesterday’s shootings, Palin et al. have a lot to answer for, because in no way, shape or form should their type of rhetoric — including putting crosshair gun targets on specific Congressional districts, or this disgusting event by Giffords’ 2010 opponent, Jesse Kelly – be acceptable in America.

  • Dan Sullivan

    But too many find they must deflect attention from their ignorance using the bright shiny object of emotion.  

  • Quizzical

    I agree that this guy is a nutcase.  I think the real issue to take away is that known nutcases should not be permitted to buy firearms of any kind.  Exhibit A would be the Va Tech shootings.  

  • blue bronc

    The Palin’s, Beck’s, Angle’s, Bachman’s, Fatso limbogh’s, and other inciters of violence and “take back our country” white supremacists and KKK types want to spread the lie that their rhetoric does not incite violence.  And then they pull up something such as the Communist Manifesto saying “look he was incited by “left wing” writings.

    They cannot have it both ways. Either he was affected by rhetoric or not.  This killer, even though there is a push to show he was mentally unstable, was cognate enough to plan on killing, especially equipping himself with extended round magazines. He was also capable of recognizing the Congresswoman and shooting her in the head.  

    It is very significant that freepers shut down the website, and the word on the street is scrubbed it very hard.  It should be interesting what comes out in the hearings about them.  There are frequent posts about taking out certain Dems there.

  • The Richmonder

    How many Republicans did he shoot?

    He may have been a nut, but the Republican Party and the Tea Party made certain that when he snapped it was Democrats that he went after.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    These comments came in an email I received from former Florida congressman Alan Grayson, who served on committees with Gabrielle Giffords and knew her well:

    “I know nothing about the man who shot Gabby, and what was going through his mind when he did this. But I will tell you this – if he shot Gabby out of hatred, then it wasn’t Gabby he was shooting, but rather some cartoon version of her, drawn by her political opposition. Because there is no way – NO WAY – that anyone who really knows Gabby could hate her or hurt her. She is a kind, gentle soul.”

    That pretty much sums up my take, also. This unhinged fellow, who found it ludicrously easy to have a Glock 9mm with extended ammo clip in Arizona, shot at a cartoon version of Giffords.

    I just hope the corporate media will stop its glorification, at least for a while, of over-the-top political rhetoric by those who scream about “taking out” their political adversaries.

  • issue a statement:

    Jim and I are deeply saddened and deeply angered by the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, members of her staff, Judge John Roll, and the constituents, including a 9-year-old child, who had assembled with her outside of a Tucson grocery store today.

    We know the deep pain and horror that all the family members and loved ones who have been made victims by this man and his gun are going through. We wish we didn’t, but we know it too well. We were there almost 30 years ago, dealing with the doctors, the hospital, the surgeons, and so much uncertainty.

    We were there coping with the horror of bullet wounds to the head, not knowing if Jim would live or die or what kind of life he would have. We were there hoping and praying for the best, that his life would be spared and the damage to his brilliant mind would be minimal.

    We want all the families to know that we were there then, and we are with them now. Our thoughts, our hopes – we pray that they can feel them and know just a small measure of peace. We pray that they understand how committed we long have been to making our beloved country a place where gun violence doesn’t happen so easily and destroy so many.

    We offer our condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. We offer our assistance, in any way that it might be helpful, to those who have survived and will struggle, as we have, to heal from the unspeakable horror of gun violence.

    With our love and prayers,

    Jim and Sarah Brady

  • What is telling to me is that for all the insistence that this was a “liberal” shooter, only Republicans today are doing damage control.  

  • Jim B

    While some of us may have been wrong about this guy initially, there is no doubt the repugs use of gun references in their hate filled messages drew attention to them. They can call this guy a left wing terrorist all day and they still will be left with the stigma attached to them. They can delete all their hateful postings throughout the web, but somebody will still have a copy.  

  • There seems to be, from my purely outsider partisan perspective, an attempt to dilute or marginalize the Sarah Palins and Michelle Bachmans among Republicans themselves. We see this in the way Bachmann was handled regarding leadership positions in Congress, and the recent number of prominent Republicans who have spoken out in what I can only see as an attempt to keep Palin from running in 2012.

    I wonder if Republicans won’t try to use yesterdays horrific acts as a way of further pushing selected people out?

  • Mallsus2
  • kindler

    …is only coincidental.