The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A slightly different view of Tucson's tragedy

On January 8th, the nation was stunned by an outburst of violence that took 6 lives and injured 14. All of these lives were greatly impacted but only two have remained in the headlines on close to a daily basis: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 9 year old Christina Taylor Greene. Ms Giffords is alive, critically wounded by a gunshot to her head but alive. According to reports, she is making progress and there have been a lot of good signs. Christina is not. Christina and 5 others will never recover.

What bothers me is, except for the federal Judge, we have no idea who the other five killed were. Their families know. Their families grieve, their friends feel the loss. But the nation pretty much ignores them.

Sometimes, in a sense, we forget that the people killed have family and friends. We forget that these people are victims of the incident also. There are many people who are hurting in Tucson and elsewhere. And, in some cases, we choose to ignore the grief of certain individuals. Perhaps even maliciously.

The parents and family of the person deemed responsible for the shootings. Jared Loughner, as crazy as he is, hurt not only those 20 people and their families and friends, he also hurt his family and any friends he had. They are victims of this tragedy too. His parents didn't raise him to kill people. His friends didn't urge him to be violent. In a sense, Jared Loughner is a victim too. A victim of the madness which took over his life and made him commit this act. His life was destroyed too.

I wonder why we are spending so much time and concern on Ms Giffords. She is being given the best possible care and attention available. She seems a strong woman with a great will to live. I expect her recovery will be seen as almost miraculous to some. It is already being called a miracle that she survived a 9 mm bullet piercing her brain. I don't believe in miracles myself but I am amazed by this. Even though I knew a man in Jacksonville who was shot twice in the head at close range with a .38 caliber revolver and survived.

He was a friend I met while I lived there. I met him long after the incident which left him disabled and with brain damage. I am ashamed to say that I do not remember his name today. He was part of a computer club my wife and I became involved in during the 5 years we lived in that city. His handicaps caused him a lot of physical and mental anguish. He lived in fear of another violent encounter. He was left confined to a wheelchair and with a much shortened life expectancy.

He considered it a miracle that he survived. Maybe it was. Especially after you consider that he didn't have someone there to administer even first aid. He just laid there on the floor behind the counter until a customer came in and found him. No one fussed over him or his care in the manner that Ms Giffords experienced (and is experiencing) except his immediate friends and family. His name wasn't all over the news with regular press conferences on his condition and prognosis. No one came and made speeches about him, no one called for political unity in the wake of that crime.

Comparatively speaking, no one cared whether he lived or died except those who knew him personally. His story never hit the nation's headlines, much less the international ones. It didn't become a part of the national debate. It was just another senseless shooting during an armed robbery of a mini-mart. It likely made no more impact than a few lines, and maybe a couple of columns, in the local papers. Things like that are pretty much everyday stories.

In a way, I see his shooting as more of a tragedy because there were no circumstances which would have brought him to the attention of the nation. He was just a young man working in a thankless job for poor pay whose life was taken from him as surely as if he had died that night for a few measly dollars. He was no political figure, no one special. And so he's forgotten, ignored by the world.

I am offended by those who have seized on this tragedy to make political gains. I am offended by speeches by presidents at memorial services for little girls that reek of the manipulation of politics. I am appalled at the crassness of those who use tragedy for political purposes.

So my heart goes out to Ms Giffords (because no one should have to go through this) and to all who were injured or killed that day but a bit more to the ones whose names we do not know and to all the families and friends of those victims.

Addendum: I came across an article about Jared Loughner after being referred to an article at Both articles are interesting if you are trying to get an understanding of the motivations of Loughner.


Man of Roma said...

You did! The right to looseness is spreading already :-) Off-topic as for the Tucson's tragedy, I am sorry. Didn't know where to post this.

Man of Roma said...


Partially off-topic, since you wrote your post on Saturday, a day dedicated to Saturn.

fred doe said...

i agree with you. name the cop that lee harvey oswald shot with out looking it up? if you can then you have a good memory.

Douglas said...

MoR, thank you.

fred, Tippets was his name and, yes, I had to look it up. In my defense I remembered the name "Tibbets" which turned out to be the guy that dropped the A-bomb on Hiroshima. I was close. I recall (without looking it up) who killed Oswald. It is interesting what things stick in our minds and why.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I surfed over from Man of Roma.

I wondered if anyone other than myself had begun to twitch at all about the way that a 9-year-old's death is treated as somehow more important than an adult's, just because she is nine. I suppose I am an old grouch, but it seems to me that loss of an adult life, in which a person has accumulated experience and character that might be in the world for a while yet, is *more* of a tragedy. For some reason, people seem to love potential in others more than they love the realization of potential. I don't get it.

Mark! said...

A quick check of older posts on this blog shows another deluded individual who ought to be watched closely before he goes over the "deep end."

Douglas said...

Mark! - I suppose I do seem radical to someone who adds an exclamation point to his name. I should have guessed you were a student and a fan of Bill Maher.

Irish Gumbo said...

Good points, and I have been pondering that very same thing.

T.C. said...

It took a few days, I think, before they published the names and pictures of the victims. I mentioned it on my blog as well.

It seems the psycho intellectual sloths were more interesting in divisive language rooted in tenous logic.

T.C. said...

'Interested.' Sorry.