Sunday, January 9, 2011
Here at Hope n' Change, our modest goal is just to try and make sense of the world, and perhaps even find something to laugh about. But sometimes that's impossible.
Yesterday in Tucson, a lunatic went to a Safeway parking lot and opened fire on a U.S. congresswoman, a federal judge, and every innocent person within range of his automatic weapon. And immediately the speculation started: was the shooter white? Black? Hispanic? A veteran? A tea party member? A gang member?
Was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords targeted because she was a Democrat... or perhaps because she was too conservative and had voted against Nancy Pelosi?
We all wanted to know the narrative. We wanted to know who to blame. Because any tangible logic at all at least gives us hope that future tragedies can be averted.
But then we started to learn about the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner. And within 30 seconds of watching the YouTube videos he'd recently posted, his whole story became clear: the man is simply insane. Schizophrenic. Howling at the moon, foaming at the mouth, "hearing voices" crazy.
He claimed that his murder spree was intended to make everyone aware of conscious dreaming - although he couldn't even spell it right. He called it "conscience dreaming," which is particularly ironic since he clearly has no conscience.
As of this writing, Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life with traumatic head wounds. US District Judge John M. Roll, who was appointed by President George Bush, was among the six dead...as was a nine year old girl. And Jared Lee Loughner is in custody and expected to mount an insanity defense.
On Loughner's YouTube profile, he says that one of his favorite books is "To Kill A Mockingbird." In it, a mad dog is a danger to everyone in town, forcing mild-mannered attorney Atticus Finch to pick up a rifle. He does not hate the dog, nor blame the dog for its madness. But he unflinchingly pulls the trigger...simultaneously protecting his family and community, and putting the dog out of its misery.
It was clearly the right thing to do. And insanity defense or not, it would be the right thing for our justice system to do now.
More information will be coming soon. But predictably, there are already people trying to spin this tragedy for political purposes.
And that, in its own way, is another kind of madness.