Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Giffords Tragedy: Random, Empty and Meaningless

The more we learn about Jared Lee Loughner's act of sheer idiocy, the less we understand about any meaning or cause to this horrible act.  After reading Mother Jones' exclusive interview with one of Loughner's closest acquaintances, Bryce Tierney, one slowly realizes the utter pointlessness to this tragedy.  Looking carefully at the events that unfolded on January 8th, 2011,  there seems to be no connection to an identifiable political agenda, no pre-planning or facilitation and no select race, creed or gender singled out for the wrath of Loughner's idiocy.

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was quick to assign the cause du jour as vitriol or political rhetoric that inspired Loughner's gunplay.  It's as if free speech has to take a back seat while we impose meaning on the senseless carnage.  Fortunately, Dupnik's clumsy attempt failed as it had the look and feel of the awkward reassurance provided by a priest to a grieving family that their loved one was heaven-bound.   This painfully exploitative act by Dupnik should put everyone on notice about how this event will be used by the authorities as the case progresses.

Of course, Dupnik is not the only one attempting to assign meaning to such a senseless act.  Blog for Arizona is busy compiling connections and links from pundits attempting to shape this violence into an act of anti-Semitism, which is equally pathetic given that Jared Lee Loughner is himself Jewish.

In addition to the Zionist agenda, the corporate Democratic political machine is deeply offended by Sarah Palin's crosshairs.  Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Robert Brady plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or images that could be interpreted as inciting violence toward members of Congress or federal officials, a piece of legislation almost as absurd as Loughner's act.

What else helps 'validate' such a random act of stupidity?   Why, disarming the public, of course!  New York Democratic Representative Carolyn McCarthy is planning to introduce a bill aimed at stricter gun control laws - nation wide.  Forget about tweaking Arizona's "selling guns to nutters" provisions.  This time, the whole nation must pay.  From now on, if someone gets mad at you, they can call the police and complain about your behavior and get you placed on a permanent "no guns list".  That will teach you to drink the beer from that guy's refrigerator!

Regardless of how many draconian measures are pushed down our throats in response to this random, meaningless act of violence, nothing will change the fact that the Giffords shooting was just that: a random, meaningless act of violence.

J.T. Waldron


  1. I pretty much agree JT. It was a really terrible thing to happen and I was a little puzzled at the Sheriff's comments especially because at that time and still as far as I know, no clear motive had been established. My coworker said she heard someone on NPR she described as calling himself a liberal saying there was anti-semitism involved which upset her. And my boss who is a Democrat and Obama supporter commented to me her anger at Republicans expressing sympathy and Palin's putting Giffords' face in crosshairs. According to the Star, "CD8" was in crosshairs. Examples like these and the ones you mentioned seem to indicate at least the strangeness and unreality of the political world. My feeling is that it is going to be a lot harder to get meaning out of this.

  2. Yet it seems like everybody's attempting to impose some sort of meaning. Thanks for the feedback, Mike. When the smoke eventually clears and the press has moved on, those left with the aftermath will need lots of help - probably more than they do now. My hopes are that the community continues to look after them.

  3. Actually my friend it was a reflection of the permissive attitudes here in the right-wing "Meth Lab of Democracy", the New Mississippi; Arizona.

    We are at the bottom of the nation in education funding. We are at the bottom of the nation in the availability of mental health services and health care. We impose the lowest tax burden on the affluent and among the highest regressive tax burden on the poor.

    Ah, but as for guns? We are the most lenient state in the union when it comes to "gun rights" and (as a result) have one of the highest gun death ratios in the country.

    As you know, here in Tucson we live in an over the air media soup that is comprised of mindless pap laced with the violent, hate filled right-wing rhetoric of such as jon justice, rush limpballs, etc.

    There are causes of events. There is NO such thing as a "random, meaningless act of violence".

  4. Chet, while I agree that Arizona is shamefully at the bottom of the nation in availability of mental health services, I do not agree that this tragic shooting is a "reflection of the permissive attitudes here in the right-wing 'Meth Lab of Democracy'".

    The AZ gun rights-gun death ratio may have more to do with lack of gun education and the fact that those most likely to get into gun trouble tend to be idiots and/or criminals. Stronger guns laws would keep guns out of the hands of idiots, but not out of the hands of criminals, who will always find a way around the law.

    And, by the way, what about responsible gun-owning citizens like former Surgeon General Richard Carmona who, in 1999, shoot and killed a man who had assaulted a woman in the intersection of Grant & Campbell (http://bit.ly/eFXzzE)? Isn't this a case of a responsible gun owner foiling murder and mayhem?

  5. -continued-
    Yes, Tucson & the nation has hate-filled rhetoric flooding the airwaves. Assuming for a moment that radio & TV broadcasting is an even playing field and not the corporate-controlled machine that it truly is, and assuming that this swayed or affected Loughner in some way, what fix do you have in mind? Repression of free speech? I call that the thin end of a wedge, the thick end of which is tyranny.

    There are so many factors that contributed to the cause of this event. Some contributing factors are more attenuated than others. The only thing that's clear is that it isn't clear what made this sick person act the way he did. Lack of education funding, availability of guns and 'right-wing' hate speech are not the only issues at play here. And they sound more like a political platform than a true analysis of why this happened.

    When the strands of causality become so numerous and attenuated that we can no longer discern which carry the greatest weight in one person's unbalanced mind, it is proper to say the act is "random". As far as "meaningless" - I guess we each read our own meaning into this terrible act.