David A. Fennell
Jared Loughner: Everyone's Hidden Family Member
January 12, 2011
Normally news dumps that occur on a Saturday night are lost in the news cycle by
Monday morning. But on occasion a news story is too big (or case inflammatory)
to contain. Social networks, Bloggers, and credible news services are running
more than one story on Jared Loughner's shooting attack in Tucson. Media of all
types are on fire.
This story appeals to us because its tentacles run out in all directions, but
then become buried beneath a veneer and no one knows (but we all fear) where
they will end up. It is made up of the stuff that sensationalizes itself. It
involves the shooting of conservative Democrat, thus arguably a "middle of the
roader," a sheriff who can cite no credible information or source stating that
news agencies that cite no credible source are responsible, an Arizona state
Senator who falsely
blames in on Afghani service he never had, and the extremely tragic death of
six people, including a nine year old girl named
Christina Taylor Green who was born on 9/11/2001 and was
featured in a book called
Faces of Hope.
In the face of all this the blogosphere is bouncing Jared Loughner's political
affiliation around with the same intensity and fervor as a world class tennis
match. Each side is pushing facts; some real,
most contrived, with vain attempt to disassociate themselves from the mass
murderer and great hope the stink will fall on the other side of the aisle. As I
sit and watch the freewheeling rhetoric it occurs to me that Jared Loughner has
become the family member we all have, either distant or nuclear, but are
all afraid to reveal our genetic connection to out of fear that he may bring
dishonor to our family name and reputation.
The reality is that regardless of political affiliation, whether he was an
anarchist, socialist, fascist or communist, Jared Loughner is a sick man who
needs help and must still be held responsible for his actions. So the argument
we should be having is not whether this person is aligned with one group of
people or another, thus representative all people in that group (almost the very
definition of bigotry) but whether or not we are going to hold him accountable
for his actions. He attempted to assassinate a sitting congresswoman from
Arizona, injured a score of people and killed at least six – and we're talking
about what party or social group he associated with?
I got news for you, any group membership with over 100 people and open
recruiting is going to harbor a few nut jobs whether you like it or not. This
holds true for liberal, progressives, conservatives and anarchists. You cannot
control open memberships when they become too large. You will never know about
these people in your own group until something tragic like this happens. I will
not hold Sarah Palin accountable for his actions if he turns out to be a
conservative, nor will I hold Keith Olbermann responsible if he really was an
Obama supporter. Unless someone can find someone who knowingly and directly
assisted him in this assassination attempt then I will hold Jared Loughner alone
Probably what frustrates me most is that there is now talk of the
FCC clamping down on inflammatory rhetoric. This of course, is the fast road
to stifling open political debate and will always be "defined" or "controlled"
by the party in power and could lead to opposition views being ‘legally'
suppressed in defiance of our Constitutional right to free speech.
political wheels are moving to ensure no good emergency will go to waste, most
of us are just trying to distance ourselves from that "distant cousin" or "funny
uncle." And while we're not paying attention to the issues at hand our country
is being fundamentally transformed.