Four Months Later: The Legacy of the Tucson Shooting

Claire Martin, Time, May 9, 2011

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But the close-knit city has become quietly sensitive to the underlying issue of the Jan. 8 shooting–the intersection of mental health and violence–and whether anything could have been done to prevent it. The exact details of Loughner’s mental health are still unknown, and it wasn’t until April 21, when court documents were filed showing that Loughner received treatment at Tucson’s Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital at age 17, that any information about his treatment history emerged. Unlike the aftermath of similar acts of violence in recent years–notably the shooting on the Virginia Tech campus–there’s been relatively little finger-pointing.

Instead, local behavioral-health agencies have been careful to stress that most people with mental illness are nonviolent and that early treatment is key. They’ve also continued the public discourse on mental health and violence, including a symposium at the University of Arizona last week that was carefully titled, “A Delicate Balance: Creating a Better Post-January 8 System to Protect the Public and Help Persons with Serious Mental Illness.” (See “The Troubled Life of Jared Loughner.”)

The message seems to be getting out. Some Tucson behavioral-health programs are reporting a spike in the use of their services and a boost in private donations since Jan. 8. Epicenter, a program created last year by the University of Arizona (UA) Department of Psychiatry to identify and treat individuals exhibiting early signs of psychosis, has seen a drastic increase in referrals. “We were getting one referral a week, and since the shooting it’s closer to one a day,” UA assistant professor of psychiatry Nicholas Breitborde tells TIME. The Southern Arizona chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) had record participation at its annual fundraising walk in March and pulled in $146,000–40% more than last year’s figure.

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  • Anonymous

    When do I get an apology for the “Climate of Stupidity”?

  • sbuffalonative

    The MSM was complicate in spreading the LIE that the shooting was the result of right-wing extremism.

  • Anonymous

    This shooting, to the left, was merely an opportunity to marganalize and isolate whites and conservatives. It is the exact same tactic the Nazis used against the Jews. Am I the only one to notice this? We know what their ultimate goal was.

  • Question Diversity

    In spite of the fact that this article did use his name, I will never use this suspect’s name in the realm of public discourse. Every time we use his name, we only give him what he wants, and what his obviously damaged and malfunctioning mind wanted was eternal infamy.

    That said, it seems that the general consensus is going away from a political motivation and more towards a mental health issue as the underlying driver of all this.

  • Jeddermann.

    It is agreed that this Loughner was a huge salvia smoker. A herb from Mexico used by the shamans. A mind-altering drug of mind boggling proportions, literally so. More powerful than LSD, and this Loughner was a habitual smoker of the drug. So there is the answer. Man fried his own brain and that is that.

  • Anonymous

    There was that move that came out ‘The Rite’. I swear, the idea was those on the right are pretty scary. It’s probably true. We are very scary. I blame the left and the media. The created a climate of hating, for far too long.

  • Anonymous

    The most important thing to know about Loughner is that he was a radical leftist. He did what he did because he was inflamed by hate rhetoric from the left. He knew Giffords and her family. Both jews, they belonged to the same extremely small synagogue all their lives. She belonged to HIS facebook page and youtube accounts as his friend…..not the reverse. That implies a far more intimate relationship than somebody who joined a local politicians facebook open to the public as part of their PR.

    There is good reason to believe that this was an assassination of Judge John Roll. Loughner was obsessed about US currency manipulation conspiracy theories. And Roll had just recently been involved in blocking a scam by Obama to do exactly that (illegally tamper with US currency production). He had been receiving ALOT of death threats over the matter, from the radical left and was under police protection. Disturbingly, that protection was lifted just before he was killed.

    There is far more to this story than meets the eye. At the very least he is representative of the average leftist. Drug using. Borderline employment. Mental problems. Obsessed with politics of extremely dubious rationality. Extremely violent and dangerous.

    It’s guys like Loughner that the left hopes to tap as modern day brown shirts. The problem is, 90% of them are pansies…..in one of the most well armed countries in the history of the human race. They’d love to put on jackboots and use those jackboots on us. They are just too weak to make it happen.

    Let’s make sure it stays that way.

  • AWG (AVERAGE WHITE GUY)

    Accusation of “climate of hate” were intended to create a climate of hate.

  • Anonymous

    “seems that the general consensus is going away from a political motivation and more towards a mental health issue as the underlying driver of all this”.

    In other words the shooter turned out to be a leftist.

  • Michael C. Scott

    A mental health issue? They figured that out all by themselves in only four months flat? Wow!

    I had the shooter pegged as an obvious lunatic the first time his Pima county mug shot was made public; that creepy smirk isn’t the sort of facial expression on sees on sane people.

  • diversity = adversity

    Psychiatry is industry of death. It all makes sense now, the first thing trying to blame on right wing radicals because of the democrat that was shot, but much of the pieces of this strange political puzzle didn’t fit until now that we see psychiatric industry benefits most.

    What tests are conducted by psychiatrist and psychologist to determine chemical imbalances in mental illnesses? It’s a rhetorical question, there are no tests, all their diagnosis are based off of is selling pharmaceuticals.