Essay on Tuscon: Who is to Blame?

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In “After Tucson: Why are the mentally ill still bearing arms?,” author Nathan Thornburgh (2011) discusses the January 8, 2011 shooting of 19 people at a political event in Tucson, Arizona which left six dead and congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords severely wounded. Thornburgh is quick to dismiss gun control and gun rights advocates’ reactions to the event but instead focuses solely on gunman, Jared Loughner’s, mental illness. Specifically, Thornburgh blames college officials, and other organizations for not reporting their contacts with Loughner, and blames the lack of compliance by states with laws regarding the reporting of mental illness to a federal database. Thornburgh fails to provide proof that Loughner was mentally ill, and does …show more content…
According to the GOA website, Giffords was given the grade of “D,” which the GOA defines as “leans anti-gun: usually against us” (para. 1). The internet website, On the Issues, reports that Giffords supported law to “maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possessions of guns” (para. 1). However, Thornburgh insists the focus should not be on politics but on how a mentally ill individual like Loughner was allowed to buy a gun.

Thornburgh does not claim he is credentialed; however he diagnoses Loughner as “clearly delusional,” after viewing videos on the internet attributed to the gunman (para. 4). Thornburgh further promotes his premise by claiming Loughner was suspended from college for “mental problems” (para. 4). Pima Community College Department of Public Safety records (AZ Central 2011) recording Loughner’s behaviors at the college were categorized simply as suspicious activity and disturbances. The only mention of Loughner’s mental health is in a disturbance report where an officer notes he told a college official that there “might be a mental health concern” (p. 31). The reports mention other assumptions made about Loughner’s behavior including a note that an instructor believed Loughner “appeared to be under the influence of drugs” (p. 14), and another where an instructor comments on Loughner’s “unique ideology” (p. 13). However, there is no

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