Congresswoman shot in AZ (Update: in stable condition)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by shanerjedi, Jan 8, 2011.

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  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I find it interesting how successfully in the post Columbine era the gun lobby has been in permanently inoculating ownership and carry laws from any negative consequences caused by any of the mass shootings or loan crazy gunman incidents that now seem to take place around the U.S. on a daily basis. How do they do it?
  2. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    With common sense and reason. [face_flag]

  3. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Soooo...when will we start hearing calls to begin profiling young white men? o_O [face_mischief]
  4. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Her staff is both skeleton and out of the decision-making loop.

    I would agree that there's too much personal hatred and demonization in politics. That said, violent imagery will be severely curtailed after this no matter what anyone says. Blaming right wingers for something that was not really connected to them is just going to cause resentment, and invite entirely justified pushback.

    The Salon piece Kimball linked was right on the money. This guy was less Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and more Coast to Coast AM. One of the letters points out that hated Giffords back in 2007, before the Tea Party existed and anyone in the lower 48 knew who Palin was.
  5. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    It was wrong of some people on the left to blame tea partiers within minutes of the news breaking, with no evidence. But getting all offended here isn't going to help.

    This bears repeating. The allegations against Palin on this are, in the end, unfair: she may be very careless and perhaps even underhanded in her imagery in terms of getting people "riled up", but unless she is specifically making a threat, she's allowed to say what she likes and post images of what she likes. To not permit that would be censorship.

    We can criticize her for her choices... and boy, do we (and justly so), but she is no more responsible for the crazies out there than Grand Theft Auto is truly responsible for the things Glenn Beck alledged of it. Individuals must bear the responsibility for thier own actions and to accept or reject whatever influences they encounter. This would be true regardles of the shooters sanity.

    And, in repect to the mentally ill specifically, it must be the responsibility of either guardians or -- as a last resort -- government organizations to identify those with mental disorders and get help for them.

    (However, if something like non-socialized health care gets in the way of that sort of thing and does not have anything that both allows for the mentally ill to get help and allow for things like guns to remain out of thier hands... well, then the society has only itself to blame, although for entirely different reasons than free speech issues)

    And yes, as to getting all offended at the fingers of blame being pointed: as stated, now is not really the time for that. Of course people were going to point the fingers of blame at these figures. Not an ideal human response, but predictable. I think you'll find that the worst of that is already over and lasted only a couple of days (although I doubt we've heard the last of the complaining that it happened). And for most of these figures it's not like they're angels in thier own right anyway -- they might not be to blame (and for some reason I am not doubting for one iota of a second that they will be exonerated in the eyes of thier audience very soon if not already), but Mahatma Ghandi, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are not. They can afford some negative press these days, even if unjustly given: in a few weeks I'm not sure their popularity will be all that dented. And even if it were... is that really such a BAD thing? If both Beck and Olbermann were targeted by rumors that turned out not to be true and as a result lost permanent viewership before it came out that these rumors were entirely false... really, hasn't it been better for society overall that they got taken down a peg? These people are not martyrs, here.
  6. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    In Arizona, there were at least two armed citizens there (not counting law enforcement). One of them was Jared Loughner, who committed the crime. The other was Joseph Zimudie, who helped subdue Loughner, and who never drew his firearm. (Zimudie arrived on the scene after others had already tackled Loughner, and so there was no need for him to use his firearm.) The two of them provide a sharp contrast.

    You cannot generalize from Loughner's behavior to blame all gun owners, nor even a gun culture in general. Doing that casts blame on people like Zimudie, who are responsible and law-abiding. If you are going to blame firearms for the former, then you need to also give credit for the latter.

    Kimball Kinnison
  7. SupremeSoviet Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Ba humbug. Some crimes are so horrible that the only logical response is to remove them as a menace to society. Putting them in prison, granted, accomplishes this goal in a fashion, it does not however remove them as a threat to society permenatly. The are a threat not only to the people we hire to guard them but to other less violent offenders, and god forbid they escape. Look at it this way, I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute. Is the death penalty wrong in all cases or just some?

    Do you agree with what we did with the Nuremburg Tribunal? Yes, a number, if not most of them were mass murdering phsycopaths and monsters, but not all. Take for instance the case of General Alfred Jodl, Head of the German High Command. While yes he lead the German Military during the war, did that make him responsible for the acts of the SS, something not under his control? His defense team managed to shed doubt on many of the claims against him even though several were undoubtedly true, including the order to execute British Commandos captured in Norway. But consider, the procecution refused to provide the defense with the documents that many charges were based on. Eight years later the German De-nazification court declare Jodl not guilty of the main charges brought against him at Nuremburg. Did he deserve to die? Take a flip of this for example if we had captured Himmler, the leader of the SS and main architech of the concentration camps, should we have executed him? Or should we have locked him in a cell and paid for him for the rest of his life?

    End devil's advocate. Some people who commit horrible crimes shouldn't be allowed to live the rest of their lives out in a cell watching TV and playing xbox, sadly this is what some of our immates are granted.
  8. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    That Laughner was so clearly disturbed and yet he was able to go and legally purchase a semiautomatic pistol with modified 31-bullet clips would tend to indicate that we probably need to make it a little more difficult to get guns here. Sheriff Dupnik's comments about how Arizona is turning into "the Tombstone of the United States" were spot on.

    Oh, and SupremeSoviet, I make it a policy to avoid debates with people who resort to the Hitler/Nazi card for the purposes of putting someone on the spot. But I will simply say that I do not believe the death penalty is ever warranted, no matter how horrible the crime.
  9. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    In Arizona, there were at least two armed citizens there (not counting law enforcement). One of them was Jared Loughner, who committed the crime. The other was Joseph Zimudie, who helped subdue Loughner, and who never drew his firearm. (Zimudie arrived on the scene after others had already tackled Loughner, and so there was no need for him to use his firearm.) The two of them provide a sharp contrast.

    ... that the latter did not require his firearm to neutraize the former?

    I'm sorry, I thought it was never in question that a contrast can and does exist. Isn't the argument that legislation has to prioritize curbing the gun rights of the former example than expanding or even protecting the gun rights of the latter?

    Yes, the second armed citizen is undoubtedly more responsible than the first -- leaving untreated mental illness aside, that is. But the priority shouldn't be in ensuring the rights of the responsible are not imposed on by legislating against the irresponsible: the priority should be in whatever solution results in less deaths.

    At the very least, the current example doesn't give us any argument to expand gun rights or keep them static. You can argue that it's anecdotal and stats would prove out most cases could show that the gun rights of the responsible play a preventive measure in stemming situations like these.

    However, in this single case it's moot: the person in question happened to be carrying a gun... but he didn't use it to take down the person that was using thiers. And from I'd read his reasoning for not using his gun would not change if gun laws were expanded: not wanting the authorities to think you're the shooter wouldn't be a changing variable here.
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I'm not advocating the incident as evidence that we need stricter gun laws, I'm just commenting on the gun lobby's effectiveness at preventing these kinds of incidents from having a significant effect. I assume that since Columbine they have staffed and funded some kind of rapid response team that parachutes in whenever one of these lone gunman/hostage/mass shooting events pops up tasked with handing out bags of money to state legislators or threatening political reprisals against anyone who might speak up.
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Only because he was not immediately on-site. He came from a nearby store. Had he been present when the shooting started, he likely would have drawn his weapon.

    That's not exactly logical. Why should I have to surrender my ability to defend myself or my family in order to (theoretically) protect someone else's life? Is my life less valuable than their's? (For full disclosure, I hold CHPs/Concealed Handgun Permits from both Virginia and Utah, and I am usually armed whenever I am legally allowed to be.)

    The solution isn't to restrict the rights of the law abiding who week to protect themselves, but to identify those who are a danger to society and prevent them from accessing weapons. (And by that, I mean all weapons, not just firearms.) Limiting my rights won't actually solve anything.

    Where I live (suburbs just inside the Beltway in Fairfax County, Virginia), police response time averages 5.3 minutes for high priority calls, and 23.1 minutes for all calls. (Response time is measured from the time the dispatcher calls until the police arrive on scene.) When you factor in time of day, the high priority call response time varies from 3.5 to 6.2 minutes. Even the shortest average response time is more than enough time for a person to bleed to death from a stabbing or shooting. It simply isn't realistic to rely upon police to protect you from immediate dangers.

    My priority isn't in "whatever solution results in less deaths". It's whatever solution helps me protect my family from danger. My firearms are a valuable tool that helps with that.

    Tell me, how would you have respected my right to defend myself and my family, and still kept Loughner from having access to the weapons that he used? What specific criteria would you use to deny him such access? If you are going to restrict access by someone who has ever been diagnosed with "mental illness", then you need to define what you mean by "mental illness". (As I posted on the first page, smoking and coffee drinking can be defined as mental illness, depending on your definition.) Moreover, you need to explain what system you would put in place to decide who is allowed or denied to purchase a gun. Not only that, but whatever system you propose would have to prohibit someone like Loughner, and yet allow someone like Zimudie or me.

    Until you can propose something that would actually work to restrict Laughner and still respect my rights, you really don't have anything.

    Kimball Kinnison
  12. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I fairly well agree with Kimball's post from about a page back; the people on both sides that are trying to score partisan points on this are unjustified and just making the situation worse, on top of it being not relevant to the shooting.

    And agreeing that, as we've seen more, while I question what sort of involvement his parents did or didn't have, there really wasn't anything actionable. Something that comes up in interviews about how he acted out in college, as well, where people were uncomfortable, but without him threating people, or doing anything, there really wasn't anything to be done. He was a legal adult, and that does make it hard for people to step in with particular authority.

  13. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Me too, word for word, as I was surprised to find out. But to see him yapping about rights in relation to firearms is a consolation.
  14. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I've specifically said that my thoughts aren't relevant to the shooting and I haven't claimed otherwise.
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Can you propose a better way for me to protect my family?

    The police statistics that I gave in my post come directly from the Fairfax County Police. If you want to verify the statistics, I live in the Mason District.

    This isn't some irrational paranoia. In the past 18 months I have had multiple security threats at my home, ranging from finding someone's drug stash, to a prowler in my back yard, to bounty hunters trying to beat my door down. And all of that has been in a neighborhood with a crime rate well below average for the area. In the past, I have had serious threats made against me by someone who was mentally unstable. I used to say "It wouldn't happen to me", but I've had to seriously rethink that because things like that have happened to me.

    I have a wife, and a newborn son who will arrive in the next month. I have a natural and a legal right to defend myself and my family from those who would do us harm. As the statistics I posted show, I can't rely upon the police to do that for me in a timely fashion. How do you recommend that I protect them if not with a firearm?

    Kimball Kinnison
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Virginia Tech took heat for letting Seung-Hui Cho's mental illness fly under the radar of the authorities; that shooting sparked significant changes at colleges and universities and their respective roles and responsibilities related to looking for signs of mental illness among their students and preventing deaths.

    The irony of the Loughner incident is that school policies implimented post Virginia Tech seemed to work perfectly in the case of Pima Community College. The guy was properly flagged as a potential threat due to mental health problems, was asked to seek medical care or leave the school, "chose" to leave the school, and was thus released into the wild where he promptly moved the product of his mental illness to a new venue.

    In a very real sense the deaths on Saturday may have been the direct result of the success of post Virginia Tech massacre changes to school policies.
  17. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    Perhaps what we should be discussing instead of gun control and all that nonsense is this:


    What has happened to our mental health system in this country? Is it nonexistent? Did it ever exist?



    And what about the future of our elected officials and their security? Does this mean we see even greater distance between our elected officials and constituents?


    I say "even greater" because IMHO it's not a good trend. DC is already like a fortified bunker around the Capitol and WH when it comes to driving.
  18. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    But shouldn't the friend, who clearly suspected that Loughner was getting more imbalanced (and was already obsessed with Congresswoman Giffords over a stupid question), have called the police and said he might be a threat to himself and others? Maybe the friend wasn't thinking the worst yet, didn't see the connections yet, but he definitely seemed to think Loughner was capable of something. I know it wouldn't have been enough to arrest him over, but maybe it would have made his parents more cautious or make sure Giffords had at least one police officer with her at events or even convicne him to get a mental evaluation. Just some kind of tip to the police to watch out for him or something.

    On your first question, it looks like you need to do something criminal in order to be involuntarily shut away to be treated for mental illness.

    As for your question about security, I just see most Congressmen and Congresswomen just making sure there's a small police presence at their events.
  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    Carter famously passed the Mental Health Systems Act which provided federal funding for community mental health centers. Reagan even more famously rescinded the law in 1981 and continued to cut funds for mental health services throughout his administration as part of an effort to shift mental health care to the states and private sector. Homeless mentally ill people thronging the back alleys of the major cities in the U.S. became a cliche of the 1980s and criticism of Reagan's social welfare policies. but I think ignoring funding for mental health at the federal level and underfunding or improperly funding it at the state level has been a chronic public health issue ever since, not that it wasn't before.
  20. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The police were already aware of Loughner, according to several sources. The problem was that he hadn't actually broken any laws yet.

    The police are inherently a reactive organization. They can't really do anything to prevent crime. For the most part, all they can do is investigate a crime after the fact and arrest the person responsible as a deterrent against others committing crimes in the future. That deterrent effect is significantly reduced in the case of someone who is mentally unstable. If you are extremely lucky, the police might be close enough to react immediately, but that is not as common. (Again, look at the statistics I posted for where I live. In rural areas, it can take far longer for police to respond to problems.)

    Kimball Kinnison
  21. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'd disagree here. There's no indication he was a threat to the school itself, and his focus on Giffords began years before he left Pima Community College. I think college provided a setting where other people were able to see something was wrong, but I don't think that meant that he was focused there until that ended, leading to the "new venue" part.
  22. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
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    The record is already suggesting that people at the school specifically discussed the issue of whether he posed some kind of threat of violence, that there was a concerted Virginia Tech-inspired official response to his antics, completely understandable of course.

    Had he stayed at the school, Loughner would have had to seek professional medical help for his mental health issues.

    True, there's no telling whether Loughner would have targeted Giffords anyway had he remained in school. It's just that the Community College washed its hands of Loughner, after which he became no one else's problem, and then a bit later a problem for the wounded and their families and the families of those killed. I'm not suggesting this could have been prevented, just pointing out the connection between the Virginia Tech massacre and the Giffords shooting. School policies post Virginia Tech were aimed at identifying people like Loughner and assessing the potential threat. And apparently they worked.
  23. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Good news: Giffords in stable condition, gives a "thumbs up"

    Doctors said Monday that Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' had given a thumbs up sign and tried to grab her breathing tube ? heartening developments two days after surgery for a gunshot wound to the head.

    Dr. Peter Rhee said surgeons had seen many encouraging signs. On Sunday and Monday, Giffords was able to respond to a verbal command by raising two fingers with her left hand.

    "When she did that, we were having a party in there," Rhee said. And even while sedated, she has reached for her breathing tube. "That's a purposeful movement. That's a great thing. She's always grabbing for the tube," Rhee said.

    Also, while her brain remains swollen, the pressure isn't increasing ? a good sign for the congresswoman's recovery.

    Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole of Tucson's University Medical Center said swelling from such an injury typically peaks around the third day, so doctors "can breathe a collective sigh of relief" after reaching that point on Tuesday.

    In addition, Rhee said that two specialists from the Washington, D.C., area are being brought in. Col. Geoffrey Ling and Dr. James Ecklund have experience in treating combat wounds.

    Of those injured in the deadly shooting Saturday in Tucson, eight are still hospitalized. Giffords is in critical condition, five are in serious condition, and two are in good condition.

    Recovering from a gunshot wound to the head depends on the bullet's path, and while doctors are optimistic about Giffords' odds, it can take weeks to months to tell the damage.

    Doctors say the bullet traveled the length of the left side of the Arizona congresswoman's brain, entering the back of the skull and exiting the front, above the left eye socket.

    For now, her biggest threat is brain swelling. Surgeons removed half of her skull to give the tissues room to expand without additional bruising.

    That bone is being preserved and can be reimplanted once the swelling abates, a technique the military uses with war injuries.

    Giffords is being kept in a medically induced coma, deep sedation that rests her brain. It requires a ventilator so she cannot speak. It's too soon to know if she could speak if the ventilator were removed.

    Doctors periodically lift her sedation to do tests, such as asking her to raise two fingers or squeeze someone's hand.



  24. kingthlayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2003
    star 4
    What about stealing someone's "Property Secured by ADT" sign and planting it in your yard? :p

    In all seriousness, Kimball, what would happen if you tried to defend your family with your firearm and were severely harmed as a result, in a way that left you unable to perform your job and make a living? What would happen to your family in that scenario? Is it not true that a firearm can provoke a dangerous situation just as much as it can deter one?
  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I don't think this is the right thread to discuss gun control laws. I brought it up only to opine that events like this no longer have any appreciable effect on the national debate about regulating weapons and to insinuate that the NRA has some kind of black ops/special forces team that comes in and suppresses any such effect by throwing vast sums of money at the problem.
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