Arizona Massacre: Hate, Guns and Insanity

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

As America continues to mourn the Arizona Massacre, politicians and those in the press are fervently debating the question: what caused Jared Lee Loughner to open fire on his fellow citizens? Was it insanity, guns or hate?

A the world now knows, the Arizona shootings left 13 people injured and six dead—including nine-year-old Christina Green, granddaughter of former baseball pitcher and manager Dallas Green. Loughner’s target, Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is currently said to be undergoing an incredible recovery for someone who was shot in the head.

However, doctors warn there’s no way to tell the long-term complications such an injury may have. Congresswoman Giffords was shot on the left side of her head, from, the back of the head exiting through the front. The left side of the brain controls, among other things, communication
and language functions.

Loughner has been charged with two federal counts of murder—for the killing of 63-year-old- Judge John Role and 30 year-old Gabriel Zimmerman, who worked for Congresswoman Giffords. Loughner has also been charged with three counts of attempted murder and state charges will be filed for the other victims. It’s now being reported Loughner’s trial will be moved to San Diego, an instruction, reportedly, given by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinzki, because of the high-profile nature of the case. On an important note, Arizona law forbids “not guilty by reason of insanity” pleas, although it allows for “guilty, but insane” verdicts.  The change hasn’t been officially made yet, by Chief federal Judge Joslyn Silver.

Loughner is now being held at a medium-security prison in Arizona and is represented by former federal public defender Judy Clarke, who has represented Susan Smith, who killed her two sons, then claimed a Black man did it; Zacarias Moussaoui, allegedly, a 9-11 conspirator; and home grown terrorists Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber who killed three, while, injuring 23 people; and Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph who killed two and injured around 150 people.

Since this inhumane act, many in politics and the press have been shifting the blame for this like a hot potato. Unfortunately, few want to deal with the hate at the heart of this tragedy. Many are now blaming the killings, solely, on Loughner’s insanity and, or, on the easily availability of guns.

There’s no disputing America has a penchant for guns. In fact, gun sales rose, in Arizona and the nation, after Loughner’s rampage. Moreover, the NRA is one of the most politically powerful lobby groups in America.

Some propose Congress impose tighter gun restrictions. New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy has been a proponent of more stringent gun control laws. Congresswoman McCarthy has sponsored bills to require trigger locks, child-resistant guns, along with advocating for background checks on those who hold gun shows, and fought to stop the sales of guns to tourists. After the Assault Weapons Ban—signed into law by President Bill Clinton—expired in 2004, under President Bush’s watch, she tried to pass a bill to ban around 65 models of firearms. Congresswoman McCarthy entered politics after the 1993 Long Island Railroad killings. Her son, Kevin, was injured and her husband, Dennis, was one of six people murdered by gunman Colin Ferguson.

We should all support sensible gun control laws. If buying a gun wasn’t so easy, in Arizona, Loughner would’ve had a much harder time acquiring one. If his clips held fewer bullets he would’ve hurt less people. However, gun control alone won’t stop those who feel compelled to kill.

Many Republicans, big gun rights supporters, have decided to blame this tragedy on Loughner’s insanity, though, they’ve stroked hatred for political gain for decades. Insanity is a factor here. More should be done to expand mental health services. Yet, why don’t many want to admit that hatred is, also, the root cause of a significant amount of insanity in America?

Let’s not forget cultivated hate—and manufactured paranoia—was a fundamental part of the “divide and conquer” strategy elites used since before this republic’s founding. First the indigenous Indians were characterized as "savages," so their land could be stolen. Then, African Americans—who created the wealth of this nation—were demonized as animals, or, “three-fifths of a person” to justify slavery’s cruelty.

After Emancipation, nightriders lynched thousands of African-Americans, sometimes with the whole community—including children looking on, brought by parents.  Many of the country’s leading elites taught hate to the larger White population. Could it be America’s mass producing of serial killers and murders are a part of this nation’s curse for those crimes? Reportedly, it has just been discovered someone planted a bomb, in Spokane Washington, along the route of this year’s Martin Luther King Day parade. The FBI is investigating.

These days besides the lingering hatred for African-Americans, this country has others to hate: Muslims, Arabs, Mexicans, or, any person speaking Spanish. Jared Loughner’ psychosis was, likely, influenced by the political poison and hatred spread in America. Instead of denial, Isn’t it time we denounce hate and those who profit politically from it?

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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