Who is Jarod Loughner? That seems to be the question everyone is fighting over. What were his links to politics? Anytime a congresswoman and a judge are shot, the shooting is automatically political–whatever that means.

From all descriptions, Jarod Loughner is seriously mentally ill. Even if he is political, he seems in too much of a fugue state to even have an ideology.

 Where do we, as a nation, go from here?  This horrific situation seems so like the massacre at VA Tech in so many ways.  Specifically, a person demonstrating psychotic, erratic behavior is noticed by professors to the point they refuse to teach the students  (Dr. Gioninni at Tech and Ben McGahee at Pima Community).  The students are removed from the class.   At Pima, Jarod was suspended from college until he had a psychological evaluation declaring him not a danger to himself or others.  In both cases, we have bizarre behavior that makes students and faculty every uneasy and very afraid.

So nothing is done.  Both students meltdown and both go on a rampage, killing and wounding multiple people. 

Why must we allow those who are obviously seriously mentally ill to go untreated?  What must happen in order to put people away BEFORE they harm others?  We need to reassess how we deal with people who display extremely erratic behavior.  We cannot allow these rampages to continue. 

Saturday’s events will change how some things happen in America. We will use expressions like ‘post Tucson’ to indicate how things have changed since this tragic event.  Hopefully America will focus on providing a safety net for when people get dangerously mentally ill.  Now is not the time to make cuts in mental health care.  Our very lives depend on it.


So totally obvious:


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18 Thoughts to “Post Tucson–Where do we go from here?”

  1. Alanna

    Why do they all have that same look in the eyes?

  2. So will he be declared certifiable? Look at that grin on his face. He’s not quite understanding all this, is he? Or did he just want to take out a bunch of people with him?

  3. Legal insanity and medical insanity are not the same. Legal insanity deals with knowing right from wrong. He obviously did. He said he hoped his friends weren’t made at him.

    He planned on another ride out of that shopping center. He took a cab over there.

    This is one sick mofo.

  4. Big Dog


    Fred Phelps and his group are as crazed, in their own horrible way,
    as Jared Loughner.

  5. Big dog, yes, they are sick puppies.

    Very hard to understand being that offensive.

  6. Cato, do you have a secret code for the Verizon conference at 11?

  7. marinm

    The whole mental health thing will be a tough nut to crack. At what point do we find it acceptable to involuntarily detain a person? Who can make that call? Who will pay for that treatment? At any point can the person refuse treatment?

    Big can of worms here.. No easy answer. 🙁

  8. We’ve had this problem ever since the asylum laws were changed in the 70’s

  9. Totally agree Cargo and Marin, but it’s what needs to happen. Right now, the state pays for a lot of mental health treatment.

    Do we play stupid and continue to allow Tech and Tucson to keep happening or do we create laws and processes to remove seriously mentally ill, psychotic people to where they cannot injure themselves or others.

    Marin, like everything else, there need to be rules in place. I don’t accept can’t. I have seen it both ways. There has to be a happy medium. To continue to allow these things to happen is unacceptable.

    So many people knew this kid was off his rocker. Authorities knew Cho was off his. And yet the system prevented responsible people from doing the common sense thing.

  10. Morris Davis

    Moon-howler: This is one sick mofo.

    MH – There are a few “Moe Foes” on your blog, so I’m assuming you’re using the term in a different sense.

    — Moe

  11. @Moon-howler
    Didn’t we have such rules prior to the 80’s? Weren’t they overturned? I vaguely remember the arguments that the sick could self-medicate and that they deserved to live on their own. Right about then, the homeless population skyrocketed….. Crime went up too.

    Hmmm, unintended consequences anyone?

    So how do we strengthen these laws and still get them past the PC crowd that freaks anytime someone might be “helped” against their will?

  12. marinm


    Laws sometimes have the unintended consequence of getting in the way of common sense. Take your pick, student privacy laws, HIPPA, Americans with Disability Act…which of those and what parts are we ok with dismantling to get to the 0.00001% of people like this guy?

    I sort of agree with you that it’s not about “can’t” but how much are we willing to screw over everyone to try and prevent a guy like this…and mind you I didn’t say insure against because the program/process we put in place won’t be 100%.

  13. Morris Davis :

    Moon-howler: This is one sick mofo.

    MH – There are a few “Moe Foes” on your blog, so I’m assuming you’re using the term in a different sense.

    – Moe

    Very clever, Moe. So far, the foes have behaved. I expect you to vanquish your own foes.
    ho ho ho …not the mofo.

  14. Nothing is perfect. Most of the purging of institutions happened in the mid 70’s as I recall. I believe it was actually court rulings that did it. Sort of the institutional version of least restrictive environment.

    As a young psych major, I had toured the many of the state facilities and St. E’s. It was truly horrifying. I changed career focus because of those tours.

    Somewhere along the way, diseases like schizophrenia changed from how you were raised to biological. Medication became the way to treat someone not only with schizophrenia but also many other diseases such as bi-polar disorder which was a renaming of old syndromes.

    I suppose people who had a prognosis for getting well profitted from new laws. For those who would be mental their entire lives, that hasn’t worked out too well.

    Schizophenia and like diseases have their onset in the late teens and early 20s. Some are treatable in the outside world. Some require a more contained environment.

    All the renta-shrinks appearing on the 24/7 cable stations are just that…giving a generalized model like I just did except with a little more education. They have not evaluated the patient.

  15. marinm


    It’s a good and interesting link.

    “Arizona has one of the most expansive mental health laws in the country, allowing any person, concerned about the mental state of another to petition local authorities to have the person evaluated if they are a danger to themselves or others, if they are unable to care for themselves, or if they appear to be mentally ill but may not know it.”

    I think options were available but maybe no one wanted to get involved or thought it was someone else’s responsibility to do so. Not sure but I think that some of the lessons we learned at VT while applied on paper in AZ weren’t handled as expected by the people.

  16. Its a starting place. At least he was removed from the college.

  17. I am trying to figure out why AZ would have one of the ‘most expansive mental health laws’ in the country. They aren’t even progressive about time. The Navajo Nation is more progressive than AZ.

    If they are progressive about mental health, it must be an anomoly.

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