Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weasel of the Week: Jared Lee Loughner

In the 60's & early 70's, if you didn't like something about our government, you got a group of your closest friends together, and you organized a protest. Meant to be peaceful, but often ending in violence because the police, in attempting to cut off the protest, used tear gas, and, in some cases, physical force, to dissuade the protesters. One such incident, at Kent State University in Ohio, ended with four people dead, and was immortalized in song by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.

These days, organized protests are fewer & further between, and the anti-government types are often characterized as isolated loners who don't know how to call attention to their issues any other way than with violence, the diametric opposite of what the peaceniks of the 60's were trying to do.

That brings us to this week's Weasel, Jared Lee Loughner, a 22 year old who opened fire on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at an open air event in Arizona on Saturday. 6 people, including a judge and a 9 year old girl, and wounded a few others, including Congresswoman Giffords, who, as of this writing, is in critical condition. Unlike most modern day gunmen with axes to grind against whatever is bothering them at a particular point, Loughner is in federal custody as I'm writing this, and that's actually a positive step. Too many times, these lone wolves prefer to martyr themselves rather than face prosecution and accept responsibility for their actions.

New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly, in today's edition, placed some of the blame at the feet of Tea Party princess Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, who has lashed out against Congresswoman Giffords in the past. Mrs. Palin, who apparently doesn't know her 15 minutes have run out with the cancellation of her TLC reality show, might've been peeved that Ms. Giffords had crossed political lines from Republican to Democrat, perhaps not wanting anything to do with the Tea Party. Federal officers have concluded, however, that Loughner did act alone, as one could surmise from the messages he posted on YouTube. Fellow blogger Sam Wilson, over at the Think 3 Institute, posted one of Loughner's screeds yesterday. Loughner may not have shared his feelings with his folks, perhaps for fear that they might disagree with him, but by holding back his own opinions, he allowed his resentment toward the government to build to its fiery crescendo yesterday. That said, while prison is definitely in this kid's future, he also will need some psychiatric counseling to address his anti-government issues and develop a better understanding of said issues.

Bottom line is, Loughner should be a case study on the fragility of the human psyche for someone of his age, and how easily it can be influenced. He claims the government practices mind control? Only in literature and the movies. If he can't reconcile the truth and realize his errors in judgment, for the sake of his future, Loughner could instead inspire other misguided souls to follow his primrose path. We've had enough of those over the last decade and change. We don't need any more.


Samuel Wilson said...

To the extent that the Tea Parties can be described as an "anti-government" movement, they prove that the attitude can still be expressed more or less peaceably, however obnoxious their expressions remain. Anarchists are "anti-government" by definition and are also peaceful for the most part. Anyone trying to blame a specific politician for the shooter's thoughts or actions is misguided, as I think you'd agree.

Be careful, though: if you keep saying that people need psychiatric counseling for "anti-government" opinions, someone'll accuse you of practicing mind control yourself!

hobbyfan said...

It's been reported that Loughner has had a history of mental illness, Sam, and that's become an issue. Daly name-dropped Sarah Palin because of her status in the Tea Party and her previous diatribes, reportedly directed toward Gabrielle Giffords, because including Palin in the discussion might get more people interested one way or the other. I've seen the word, "nihilist" used in connection with Loughner in a online headline. Loughner has an axe to grind with the government, that much we know for sure. Problem is, how long is it going to be before there are copycats?