When I first heard of the brash, senseless mass murder in Tucson, my first instinctive, impulsive thought was, “Gee, I hope that he isn’t Black.”
It wasn’t until I was able to erase that irreverent thought that I was able to process any rational consideration of the matter. After satisfying myself of the apparent identity of the perpetrator, it was then easy to make some assessments from my perspective.
First of all, motive. Why would a human being become so incensed at a mere political function that he would resort to such indiscriminate mass killing?
It appeared that the perpetrator was determined to kill anyone and everyone within the range of his weapon. His probable greatest disappointment was that he was only able to actually kill six human beings while wounding 13 others in varying degrees.
One of the most severe injuries was to his own U.S. congressperson, whose ultimate condition is still to be determined at this writing. But for the death-defying heroics of some bystanders, the death toll would have been much greater. The clips in the shooter’s gun contained 30 shots, and the extra “lock” contained another 30, each with the capacity of death for an unsuspecting person.
So a partial answer to the question of “motive” can only be that he intended to kill as many people as possible. The question remains, then, why he would want to do so.
Psychologists agree that Jared Loughner (the name of the killer) was a victim of one of the psychotic disorders — probably schizophrenia in his case. The irrational behavior typical of this condition often appears at about the same age as Loughner’s.
Because of the fact that a U.S. congressperson was involved in the tragedy, some pundits have attempted to link Jared with a political agenda. But extensive research has established no connections between him and any politics at all.
Others have suggested that the recent, very intemperate language from some “Big Names” in the media could tip the scale toward violence in an unbalanced person like Jared. Sarah Palin’s caustic remarks about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords are cited as a possible factor for pushing an already disturbed mind over the edge.
Matthew Little welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.