Jared Loughner's Parents Express Sorrow

The parents of Jared Loughner, accused of the Arizona shootings, have released a statement.

There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were, so we could make you feel better. We don’t understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so sorry for their loss.”

More former friends of Loughner are coming forward, some describing him as extremely paranoid. At times he thought there was a plot to kill him.

Two national polls show a majority of Americans do not believe the tone of political discourse in the country played a role in the shootings.

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    I feel for his family (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 06:35:24 PM EST
    Hard to fathom how they'll find any peace either.

    As for the poll, two-thirds of Americans have the right to be wrong. I'm not so extreme or loony that I would say the political/social climate in this country today directly caused this act, I would say it's a bit, IMO, daft to suggest he was not the product of the poltical environment of the nation, his state, his town, etc.  Our nation has been bought and taken over, and those who have accomplished this theft, are very invested in making sure that precisely the opposite has been the perceived as being the case by a vital portion of the public -- that is, they sell that alternate "reality" that the nation has not been stolen by private interests (theirs), but that an incompetent government has over-regulated everyone's lives into the toilet.  Easier to aim your guns at known pols with the audacity to show up in shopping malls than at largely faceless corporate oligarchs (and their cabinet level lackies) castled away and laughing at it all.

    Nothing you can do about people who want to create this kind of climate of hate but to answer it. And we haven't, not nearly effectively enough. And shame on us for it.  

    IS that the same majority (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by smott on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:29:22 AM EST
    Who believed in WMD?...

    The same majority who had been told (none / 0) (#37)
    by Rojas on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 04:48:00 PM EST
    by three presidents over 3.5 terms that there were WMDs in Iraq. One and the same.

    Reading what Guttierez sd. makes me (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 07:36:25 PM EST
    a sceptic of assertions the "political climate" and/ or political rhetoric were a contributing factor.

    I dunno (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:26:01 AM EST
    I am not sure that the past 2 years of insanity did not have some effect.  I realize he probably wasn't organized but he seems to have latched onto a bunch of right-wing theories and fads (like the grammar/language thing).  And again, he did shoot a Democratic politician at a political rally.

    The reality is that people who (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:21:25 AM EST
    are as vulnerable and troubled as this kid is don't always go out and do this sort of thing.  Those who get treatment, have a strong and effective support system around them and who are encouraged to seek positive engagement in the world can live relatively productive and safe lives.

    On the other side, those who don't have that kind of help and who are exposed to negative influences are more at risk.  None of this is rocket science.

    Of course, there are no guarantees where it comes to illness and treating mental illness is terribly difficult.

    But it doesn't help, I think, when supposedly legitimate public figures fan the flames of paranoia, glibly use verbal gunplay and engage in suggesting that violent "remedies" be considered within the realm of acceptable responses.  Even some people who are not totally off the rails will take them seriously - and that is where it gets dangerous for all of us.

    Responsible public figures understand this rule of public communication.

    Boehner is crying right now in his speech to honor the victims in Tucson.  Real or memorex, I guess it is a start.  I can't understand why it has been so difficult for so many politicos to just say that this was a bad thing and that it shouldn't ever be thought of anything other than bad - that figurative musings about shooting political opponents have become a real life story - connected or not - maybe we could stop the figurative musings - because the reality of same is BAD.  It is not funny, cute, clever or productive...  It is horror - and, so, why say such things?


    Well, if the shooting was not political (none / 0) (#18)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:48:59 AM EST
    what was the reason that Giffords was targeted?

    Let's discuss religious reasons; she is Jewish.

    Or let's discuss gendered reasons; she is the gender most often targeted in mass shootings, which are most often by angry young men.

    See why our media and society want to talk about the shooting as primarily politically motivated?


    So many more important lessons to be learned (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by davnee on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:28:03 AM EST
    The latest evidence suggests a strong gendered component to his fixation on her.  But we all know that will get overshadowed when there is this juicy politics meme to exploit.  

    I have no problem with using this incident as an opportunity to call for dialing back the violent political rhetoric all around us, but given that violent political rhetoric (at least that of recent vintage) appears to have at most been a minor influence on this young man, I'd rather use this opportunity to discuss the more significant causes of this crime, like untreated mental illness.  How do we maintain our civil liberties, including gun rights, and deal with individuals who are slowly sliding into madness?  What are the warning signs, and what limits on our freedom are we willing to tolerate to heed those warnings?  Are the kinds of misogynistic statements he's known to have used indeed warning signs of future violent tendencies?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But these are the sort of questions I wish we were talking about.  Hard to see it happening though when all the oxygen is being sucked up.


    Think we need to watch... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 07:44:04 PM EST
    our mini-rants Dadler?  Could we set off some whackjob googling oligarchy?

    Only half kidding...I'm starting to wonder what happens to the discourse if everybody is walking on eggshells out of fear of setting off some deranged individual...that's not good either.  I believe in civility, but I also believe in rabble rousing with a little hyperbole.

    So many questions raised by this and similar incomprehensible tragedies...but I think the answer lies in creating a positive climate more so than reacting to a negative climate as well...instead of focusing on the hatemongers and hating on them, we need to be lovemongers...hard god damn work though, as the worthwhile often is.  


    Don't need to walk on egg shells (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by TomStewart on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 12:07:22 AM EST
    just knock off the violent images, the gun talk. no need to talk 'second amendment remedies' a simple statement of disagreement would suffice.

    Maybe that's fantasy land, but taking a step back won't hurt anybody with any reason.


    Not fantasy land... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 06:42:18 AM EST
    just far too rare human qualities...and it gets increasingly difficult when people feel threatened, real or imagined...add in rampant inequality under the law and under the dollar, and those who fan the flames to make a buck, modern weaponry in the modern age, and we've got ourselves a real pickle in regards to peaceful coexistence.

    But we shouldn't cater the discourse to the tiny percentage of deranged individuals who are gonna hear what they wanna hear anyway, same as we shouldn't cater rules and law to the stupid individuals...I believe the rest of us suffer for it in the long run.


    As a mother, I cannot even begin to (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 09:00:38 PM EST
    fathom what these parents must be feeling, how they must be second-guessing everything they said and did, wondering what they might have missed, the decisions they made, everything that led up to what happened.

    How do you deal with it?  I don't know.  As a parent, I can tell you that we always think there was something we should have done, something we could have said that would have made a difference.

    I hope they get some help, and soon, because in addition to having to come to terms with what their son did, they have the media circus to deal with that won't end until there is a trial or a plea or some kind of legal resolution to their son's case.

    As for the polling, I guess I have to say that this is one reason why I've tried to stay away from the media: this desire to monitor and manipulate and direct the conversation, which skews public reaction, and leads to poll results that may or may not mean anything.

    That being said, I would have to say that perhaps one reason people don't think the discourse had anything to do with what happened is that its prevalence in the media has served to normalize it; just as we've seen how conservative behavior on the part of Democrats has moved the center to the right, the general acceptance and prevalence of what we used to think of as extreme rhetoric in the mainstream media has normalized and legitimized it - we've become desensitized to it.

    Don't know where this is headed, but I'm pretty sure it isn't anywhere good.

    Wholeheartedly agree with this (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:01:33 AM EST
    "perhaps one reason people don't think the discourse had anything to do with what happened is that its prevalence in the media has served to normalize it"

    We should be wary of mixing up direct-line motivation with context and climate.  Unstable, excitable people absolutely respond to an agitated environment.  Every parent of a small child knows that.


    Reporting polls-does not make them TRUE (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Ladyjustice on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 07:17:45 AM EST
    The evidence is overwhelming - the anger and inflammatory rage are palpable and boiling just underneath the surface. During Rep. Giffords last campaign, while standing on the corner with placards, enjoying the sun, the camaraderie, and the pure joy of gathering with others. These hate-filled individuals, would come by and threaten us, (without even knowing who we were) slandering, come up to our face saying "you're nuts."  All because we were supporting and voicing our choice for an individual we felt would best represent us.  This could have been us, and it just takes enough anger and enough courage to come with a gun and use it. When you report a poll, individuals think that it is a true fact and represents the whole, and I believe you directly contribute to the myth that this is NOT happening in this country.  It is time to say that yes it is - we cannot dismiss this - much like we dismissed the rhetoric in the run up to the Iraq war.  It is all connected, more citizens have to stand up, like Sheriff Dupnik, and drown out the voices who say otherwise.  Do were really want more of our citizens to get killed and more guns purchased, and allow these purveyors of untruths, treasonous statements, and overthrow of all that is sacred about our country, become something our forefathers, framers of our Constitution, could no longer recognize - their struggles to provide so much freedom and guidance for us today, is being diluted and will be eroded if we collectively do not stand up and begin again to gather and together change the tone.

    Polling is always suspect unless proven otherwise (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Babel 17 on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:36:29 AM EST


    http://www.visioncritical.com/public-opinion/5407/few-americans-blame-political-climate-for-arizona- shooting/


    Bottom link seems to be broken.

    We need to see the exact questions.

    "Nearly six in 10 Americans say the country's heated political rhetoric is not to blame for the Tucson shooting rampage that left six dead and critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to a CBS News poll"

    That quote is not equivalent to

    "Overall, 57 percent of respondents said the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting"

    yet they both come from CBS's page.

    And from Vision Critical we get

    "(51%) believe the shooting is the result of an individual's actions and should be regarded as an isolated incident, while a smaller proportion (31%) think the shooting is the result of the current negative tone of politics in America."

    I have to ask, where is the question that asks if all the hyperbolic and agitated talk possibly had an effect on the shooter.

    "Responsibility" can be a loaded word. Individual responsibility is something of a political cornerstone for some.

    So what they might be "seeing" is "Do you believe in personal responsibility for ones actions?"

    There should have been some surveys that asked as their first question something along the lines of

    "Do you think that some politicians and commentators bear a responsibility for creating a climate that might have helped trigger the violent outbreak of the shooter?"

    Same thing with "blame".

    I blame the shooter and if I'm given a false choice of either/or I'll pick him over some vague concept like "rhetoric" as being in the wrong.

    Let's see the polling questions.

    Let's see a better poll.

    Loaded question (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Lora on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:17:06 AM EST
    "Do you think that some politicians and commentators bear a responsibility for creating a climate that might have helped trigger the violent outbreak of the shooter?"

    That's assuming the politicians and commentators DID help trigger the shooter.

    How about two separate questions:

    1.  Do you think that some politicians and commentators created a climate that might have helped trigger the violent outbreak of the shooter?

    2.  If yes, do you think the politicians and commentators bear a responsibility for creating that climate?

    I guess we agree that the phrasing is important (none / 0) (#32)
    by Babel 17 on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 01:11:19 PM EST

    It's also important in polling how you order the questions.

    Questions often impart information, directly or indirectly. And that information can be suggestive to someone with little grasp of what is being asked.

    Really good polling needs to be meticulous and is expensive.

    A whole other topic is that people being surveyed have become too savvy for the surveyors to easily get meaningful answers.

    Many people realize the political implications of their answers.

     For example, a politically active republican might consider the Iraq invasion a tragedy but that person might not want that entered into a survey with political implications.

    Have a town hall meeting that has the issue we are talking about discussed. Afterwards take a poll by way of a secret ballot. Then require the audience to stand up in front of their neighbors and express their views after the discussion.

    Then take another poll by way of a show of hands.

    Surveying is interesting and often informative but it's not close to being scientific, or meaningful, unless done in a rigorous manner.

    And even then, "being scientific" doesn't guarantee definitive results. Being scientific just means attempting to take into account the many ways results can be skewed.

    There are no true base lines, imo.

    People lie, and people lie to themselves.


    Influence is different from cause and effect. (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Lora on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:05:06 AM EST
    Jon Stewart was good on the Daily Show the other night.  However, I think he equated two situations which should not be equated.  He said you couldn't blame inflamed rhetoric for this shooting any more than you could blame heavy metal music for Columbine.

    First off, I do not believe in censorship, nor do I believe in concluding cause and effect in terms of inflammatory violent political rhetoric and a particular shooting of a political figure.

    With that said, I believe that there is a relationship with media rhetoric (or music and lyrics) and certain troubled minds which become unhinged in a violent way.  Also, rabid right-wing rhetoric was and is promoted on TV and "conservative" talk radio in a huge way.  You can't escape it.  Heavy metal music was never admired and quoted on Fox by famous media or political figures.

    I call on the rabid right wing to tone down their rhetoric.

    I call on the rest of us to denounce it and call it out for being harmful in general and possibly helping to tip troubled minds over into deranged violent ones.

    Food for thought:

    Why don't we have cigarette ads on TV, if what we see and hear on TV doesn't influence people?

    Why would we be OK with violent metaphors against political figures and not OK with the "F" word or a racial slur or, heaven forbid, a wardrobe malfunction?

    Well?  Free speech is relative, isn't it.

    Very well said (none / 0) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:26:56 AM EST
    My heart goes out to them (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 06:44:27 PM EST
    How do you even begin to deal with this?  And yet, everywhere they go from now on, people will look and whisper, "There they are.  You know.  HIS parents."

    Since he lived with them I just wish they could have gotten him some help - whatever kind he needed.

    Everybody (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 07:27:34 AM EST
    keeps saying this but while I'm not privy to their situation I am dealing with a mentally ill family member right now and it is easier said than done when it comes to getting people help at least here in GA.

    That can be tough (none / 0) (#22)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:52:28 AM EST
    Here in Florida we have the Baker Act and can have someone admitted who we think needs help. I've had to do this a few times with some of my soldiers who showed signs of suicide after serving in Iraq. We take them in, they are screened by a person from the mental health care facility and they take it from there.
    But I think that's a state law, so I'm sure it's different in each state. But even then, you'd have to have someone willing to make that tough call.

    Yes, (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:34:15 AM EST
    they have something similar here but you have to have two witnesses and they both have to go before the magistrate to get this done. You have to have observed the behavior within the last 48 hours. Right now this particular family member will not come out of the house so no one can witness the behavior. The only thing I can think of doing is literally camping out outside of the house for days with somebody until we see her come out. I have called the police and they will do nothing. I never realized how ignorant of the law the police were until I had to deal with this. They told me the WRONG court to go to among a lot of other things that were wrong.

    It would be easy for others in your situation to ignore the person in need. You have your work cut out for you, good luck.

    Thanks. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 12:44:42 PM EST
    You are right that it would be easier to ignore her but sometimes you just have to TRY to do the right thing even if it leads to nowhere but frustration.

    The effective definition of (none / 0) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:58:24 AM EST
    mental illness is distorted, disorganized thinking.

    And an almost universal component of the whole syndrome of schizophrenia is that even when the illness is controlled by medication, folks stop taking the meds when they feel good because of the side effects, and then the illness takes over again.

    The son of an older family member of mine is schizophrenic, and it's a lifelong struggle to keep him safe.


    I think (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:37:44 AM EST
    that's what my family member may have. Hopefully, she won't go off and do something but goodness knows I have tried every angle and every resource available to try to get her help.

    Arizona takes a statement only (none / 0) (#33)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 01:37:26 PM EST
    CA is different also.  In CA, you can call for a check, but the police will determine if a person is currently a risk to themselves or others at the present time.  In Arizona, it is easier to get a MH eval as they use witness statements.

    The parents might have had an opportunity when he left the house with the bag.  On hind site, he could have been taken in for eval with the traffic stop incident that morning.


    We called (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 02:23:44 PM EST
    for a check but she wouldn't answer the door nor even respond to the police's questions so the police said there was nothing they could do.

    MH might help (none / 0) (#39)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:38:37 PM EST
    I have an acquaintance who was hitting a manic stage.  Her daughter (not raised by her mother) called MH and updated them.  They called the person and set up a check-up.  Once she was in, they kept her for a couple of days to adjust her meds.... two weeks later she was back on track.

    Of course this is CA and every state is different.


    It (none / 0) (#38)
    by chrisvee on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 05:49:39 PM EST
    is difficult and experiencing it firsthand gave me an understanding that I didn't have before.

    And even if you're successful once, the problem is that people will leave treatment, stop meds, etc. and then you're back to square one.

    It can be a depressing and grim reality trying to help someone with MH issues.


    They may have tried. 22-yr. old. (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 07:34:58 PM EST
    Oh, I know (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 08:39:27 AM EST
    And from what I understand, a person has to be willing to undergo psychological treatment for it to really be effective.  It's not the same as forcing a pill down someone's throat or holding someone down to give them a shot.  Even if someone is forced to go, if they are not open to the treatment, it won't work.

    Still sad.


    Sorry for them (none / 0) (#36)
    by star on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 02:38:15 PM EST
    I do feel terrible for the parents. they are going to be hounded endlessly and it is a terrible cross to live with knowing their child maybe behind bars for life or worse.
    I cannot help but put some blame on them too. He lived with them full time. classmates and teachers and friends (pretty much anyone who came across Jared) knew he had some problem ...this way back from 2005 . I wonder if any help was sought for him. Have the parents done anything at all to get him medical help or was he neglected ?
    While we all are blaming right wing pols and radio talk show and tea party etc , even though no real evidence have come to support their influence on him, in all fairness should we not focus on how his family treated him? was he abused ? was he in a loving environment?

    Update NYT article: (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 12:18:34 AM EST
    Can this statement hurt (none / 0) (#10)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 06:45:19 AM EST
    his "presumption of innocence"?

    Violence against opposition pols is what they want (none / 0) (#28)
    by cenobite on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:48:43 AM EST
    While it certainly matters whether or not the assassin was directly motivated by right wing eliminationism, even if he wasn't, the assassin was doing exactly what the wingnuts want.

    Well, they got it.

    So, Palin and Beck and Limbaugh and the rest of your little b- and c-list imitators: this is what you want your followers to do, how's that working out? This is what "don't retreat, RELOAD" looks like: shame on you. This is what "second amendment solutions" looks like: you can take this opportunity to apologize, or you can double down and officially support assassination as republican policy.

    I still remember when Jesse Helms got to have his talking-to by the secret service for threatening Bill Clinton's life.

    The country needs you eliminationist cheerleaders to go on a little time out and think about what you're exhorting your followers to do. Intimidation by violent threats, actual violence and murder are terrorist crimes, not acceptable political rhetoric.

    This country (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 11:59:21 AM EST
    Needs fewer 24 hour media outlets and other such outlets that allow politicians and their minions to go on and rant their talking points without being challenged.  We also need fewer (or, IMO, zero) pundits of all stripes spewing garbage.

    If the 24 hour cable news channels took off all the pundits shows and put on just, you know, news, I think the rherotic in this country would be a lot less.


    Totally agree (none / 0) (#35)
    by star on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 02:29:20 PM EST
    I cancelled my cable last month and watch only netflix . Get my news online and have been 'Pundit free' . Prefer to think and form my own opinions instead of what is fed to me.
    Am most thankful for my decision this past week. I have friends who are so fed up of the coverage of this incident.
    There is pure BS on TV. Pundits spew same amount of  hatred as politicians IMO. They are all left or right leaning. Free and fair media is dead in this country. all are in the payroll of one party or other.
    If there is no 24/7 cycles and bites to go around, there is no vehicle for pols to act up. they might even spend some time on peoples business instead of playing up to tv audience all the time.

    In the face of overwhelming evidence (none / 0) (#40)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 09:43:11 PM EST
    to the contrary; some still want to place some blame on "wing nuts" and "right wingers".

    At what point will you give it a break?

    Whose fault was Ft. Hood?  By your logic it was Muslims fault.  String them up.

    Whose fault was the TLC shooting?  By your logic it was PETA's fault.  Lets cast blame.

    Enough already.  You don't like right wingers.  We get it but what's more offensive?

    Their speech or yours claiming that the murder of innocents is anyones fault but the shooter?

    Obama said to give it a break.  Take his advice.

    Isn't the alleged Ft. Hood shooter's (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 12, 2011 at 10:56:55 PM EST
    iman the person wanted dead or alive by our government?

    Wrong (none / 0) (#42)
    by Yman on Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:43:12 AM EST
    Whose fault was the TLC shooting?  By your logic it was PETA's fault.  Lets cast blame.

    PETA doesn't engage in violent rhetoric or speak of the need/desire to use violence or even kill others as do many on the right (Coulter, Beck, Limbaugh, etc.).  These people have millions of listeners and followers, many of whom are a couple cards short of a full deck.  Equating PETA's statements with the wingers is ridiculous.

    BTW - No one's arguing that Limbaugh, Palin, etc. should be held legally responsible or criminally prosecuted.  They're arguing that, while the wingers have the right to engage in hateful speech and violent rhetoric, they also bear responsibility when their rhetoric incites someone to commit violence.