Post-Gazette Editorial–Familiar rampage: American freedom was one of the victims in Tucson

What made this rampage worse than others was the pall it cast over the freedom and ability to perform elected public service — the necessity for political officials to interact openly with their constituents, the need for the public to approach freely the people they send to office. Whatever his intent, Jared Lee Loughner and the rounds he fired took aim on this American form of democratic discourse and, in so doing, put a treasured right of all citizens in jeopardy.

When investigators executed a search warrant at Mr. Loughner’s home, they found an envelope with messages saying, “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and the name “Giffords.” His YouTube videos contained rambling and incoherent passages, some of them about his becoming the treasurer of a new currency, his belief that he had powers of mind control and the need to fix “English grammar structure” in a congressional district he believed was mostly illiterate.

Newly installed Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican, was right Saturday when he said “an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, State Government, Violence

12 comments on “Post-Gazette Editorial–Familiar rampage: American freedom was one of the victims in Tucson

  1. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    This is a great and senseless tragedy, and my heart and prayers go out to the families/friends/colleagues of the victims.

    “Whatever his intent, Jared Lee Loughner and the rounds he fired took aim on this American form of democratic discourse and, in so doing, put a treasured right of all citizens in jeopardy”.

    I would seriously doubt that his “intent”, other than mindless killing, could be categorized or deemed rational or coherent. Armchair diagnosis, to be sure, but this sounds similar to another news item that Dr. Harmon posted a couple of years ago, at which time the victim was an innocent Welsh priest, stabbed to death on his front doorstep in front of his family's+mother+ready+to+back+inquiry;+Mother+of+vicarage…-a0176830006

    Thus, I don’t know whether or not Mr. Loughner was even aware he was “attacking American freedoms”–it was possibly a challenge for him to even be aware of his surroundings, let alone concepts like freedom.

    It is not much of an excuse and Mr. Loughner will have to pay for his crimes, but diseases like paranoid schizophrenia can cause the afflicted to be grossly detached from reality. That said, I don’t believe it pays to examine his possible “motives” using rational standards; what you have there are two entirely separate issues.

    It might be more productive, as the article above does say, to discuss future security measures for Congressmen/women. Not to mention, one has to hope and pray that family members of the mentally-ill(especially those detached from reality) can get them help BEFORE incidents like this occur.

    “This also would be a good time for public officials, not to mention the public, to consider the role that political vitriol, name-calling and polarization play in pushing the unstable to commit such violent acts”.

    It’s a fair question, and nothing wrong with assessment; but vitriol, polarization, and name-calling have sadly existed since the dawn of humanity. More so I believe it would be productive to examine the health care access for families of the severely mentally ill; the latter are not going to be capable of seeking care themselves. In the tragic case of Fr. Bennett, many warning signs were accidentally ignored. My first two questions on that score would be, why was the young man not involuntarily committed at the time he slit his own throat on church property; and/or, if he was eventually released from a facility, was there some sort of “mandatory medication” program that could have worked for him. It seems to me that when medication brought him back to reality, he could not believe what he had done to Fr. Bennett.

    I don’t think we should sit around moaning about how our “freedoms” have been attacked, we should instead focus on the prevention of such mental-health tragedies.

    That said, I realize Mr. Loughner will have to undergo evaluation to see whether or not he understood, at the time, that what he was doing was wrong.

  2. DonGander says:

    This guy sounds like he had a healthy self-esteem. OK, perhaps “healthy” is the wrong word but he did have pletny of self-esteem.

    Otherwise; every action of this type has been a threat to freedom. I believe that there is plenty of evidence that Lincoln’s assasination was an equal thret – as was McKinley’s, especially when McKinley’s assasination was accomplished by an avowed Anarchist. Remember that WWI was begun by exactly that action a few years later.

    The real question is do we understand and cherish our freedom even in the midst of such attrocities? If we do, we will keep our freedom, if not, we’ll likely lose it eventually.


  3. francis says:

    Freedom will be the casualty of this action after the fact, not in the action, if the conclusions of this poorly thought out editorial and others have their way.

  4. Bruce says:

    My view is that it doesn’t make sense to assign “blame” beyond the particular and obviously very disturbed context of the young man himself. But if a collateral aspect of this would be on all sides an appreciation of the humanity of others and a moderation of the nastiness that sometimes seem to overwhelm the exchange and competition of ideas, that would be a very good thing, obviously.

    Bruce Robison

  5. tired says:

    “Does Sarah Palin’s use of crosshairs…”

    Umm, those weren’t crosshairs. Those were printer crop marks. Perhaps this statement would provide a better example for the author.


  6. Ross says:

    “Printer crop marks”? That’s as absurd as whoever it was in Palin’s camp claiming they were surveying marks.

    So far as I’ve heard, there is as yet no proof this guy had ever seen Palin’s website, or ever heard any of the gun-metaphor political rhetoric that everyone is blaming for this. His politics, based on the snippets that have come to light so far, seem to belong to the Bats**t Insane Party, rather than to Right or Left. So there’s plenty of reason to hold off drawing any kind of line between Palin’s website and this attack.

    But the symbols on Palin’s site were crosshairs. Everyone knew it when she put it up, and everyone knows it now, and attempting to claim they were something else is transparent nonsense.

  7. tired says:

    Whatever the intent, I’ve never seen a firearm in which the crosshairs exceeded the circumference of the scope.

  8. Alli B says:

    To anyone like Ross who holds that particular opinion on the crosshairs, this is from (where you can view the illustrations):

    OK … An argument could be made that those are cross hairs. But Palin’s office says they were surveyor’s marks. Can that argument be sustained? I want you to click on this link. This is from the U.S. Geological Survey. The title of the document is “Topographic Map Symbols.” Now … start scrolling down the page. About halfway through on the right column you will see “CONTROL DATA AND MONUMENTS.” Now remember .. these are symbols for maps – maps like Sarah Palin’s map. The first entry under the title bar is labled “Principal point,” and there you have it. Just to the right. Just about the exact same symbol that appears on the Palin map. It’s a map symbol … just what you might expect to find on a …. MAP!
    (Shows map and definition of surveyors marks)
    Crosshairs are placed on people. Map symbols are placed on maps.

    That’s not going to be enough for some of you. You see the political advantage that can be gained by insisting that those are crosshairs on the Palin map. So … let’s move to a few more maps!
    (Where he shows another map)
    The above map appeared on the website of the Democratic Leadership Committee back in 2004. Please make note of the use of the word “enemy” to refer to Republicans, as well as the phrase “ripe targets for Democrats.” You’ve already notice that on this map there are no surveyor’s marks. What you have are bull’s-eyes. Yup … bull’s-eyes. Clearly the type of bull’s eyes you would use for a target for shooting purposes.

  9. Ross says:

    How about we go direct to the source? Here’s Sarah Palin, in a November 4th post on Twitter:

    Remember months ago “bullseye” icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin’ incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T’aint bad)

  10. Branford says:

    Ross – please remember that many Dems have used crosshair graphics as well. It’s not an unusual political metaphor.

  11. Ross says:

    I didn’t say it wasn’t, and if you look up above a few entries you’ll see that I’m not blaming Palin’s web page for this guy’s insanity. All I’m saying is that her page was obviously meant to invoke the image of crosshairs — not surveyors marks, not printers crop marks, not anything else that her camp is scrambling to say that they were.

    I’ve got nothing against politicians — right or left — using gun imagery, or hunting imagery, or war imagery, if they want to. It is, as you say, pretty common. But if you’re going to use it, and if for some reason it suddenly blows back on you — say, because there’s a horrific assassination attempt — then you need to man up and own the fact that you used a metaphor that is now, suddenly, in very bad taste. Don’t try to pretend that you were actually using some other kind of imagery, when the lie is transparently obvious.

  12. Alli B says:

    [blockquote]Don’t try to pretend that you were actually using some other kind of imagery, when the lie is transparently obvious.[/blockquote]
    Ross, I guess that’s where I take issue with your post. You are calling it a lie, and I don’t think it is. If you go here, there is an excellent illustration that shows this is precisely a survey mark: I’m not quite sure why this stuff is even an issue. The democrats’ map uses a target. Whatever. That doesn’t offend me either. I’m wondering what you and other like-minded people would have folks use on their maps to show the areas they are going to try to campaign in heavily to defeat the opposition.