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.