The Road that Paved the Way for the Arizona Shooting

I was searching for items for my younger daughter’s birthday party when I learned via my smartphone about the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) and others in Tuscon by (as far we we know) Jared Lee Loughner, who has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and attempted assassination. The shooting left the Congress woman, who voted for the DREAM Act, in critical condition and took the lives of six people, including a 9 year old born on 9-11-01 and U.S. District Judge John Roll, who had faced threats on his own.

The speculation as to why the shooting went down in a Tuscon supermarket parking lot during an event meant to draw bridges between Congress and the communities it represents is all over the place. The FBI found evidence in Loughner’s home indicating premeditation. Some media have taken the “he must be mentally ill” stance. Others point to possible connections between Loughner and hate organizations and then there is the influence (or not) coming from the Tea Party and their Grand Dame, Sarah Palin, especially considering that Gifford was featured on a poster, that came from the Palin camp, of “targets” with her face in what appears to be the cross-hairs of a rifle.

I am not going to join the speculation bandwagon. The shooting made me feel horror, sadness and disgust but not surprise. Regardless of the reason, violence as sign of political dissent, whether legitimate or not, has been on the table for sometime. It’s just it has been awhile since it targeted and hit someone deemed important. How many remember Brisenia Flores and her father? Remember when Joseph Stack flew a plane into an IRS building? Or how about when Stephen Tyrone Johns was killed at the U.S. Holocaust museum?

The media, government officials, and popular opinion are quick to use the T word, terrorism, to describe Muslims, Latino, Latino Muslims. Undocumented workers, day laborers, neighborhood kids on a stoop on a summer day all are targets of gang ordinances and their/our very existence is seen as loitering on this precious planet of ours.

Violence to send a message of hate, of power is nothing new to people like me, my familia, my vecinos, my extended community. That is why I cannot claim shock or surprise but rather decide yet again, how to translate this for my children and work towards something better for them and all of us.

Were you surprised?
What is next?

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15 comments on “The Road that Paved the Way for the Arizona Shooting
  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Road that Paved the Way for the Arizona Shooting | VivirLatino -- Topsy.com

  2. Certainly it is too early to speculate on causes and effects without risking being totally wrong.

    On another note, when the shooting first occurred, I saw a distinct strain of instant politicization over concern. For example, rather than express condolences for those that were murdered, people were attacking the media for not calling Loughner a terrorist because he was white and not Muslim.

    It was a little disconcerting, the jump to the politics before the concern. But that’s the U.S., I guess.

  3. I was largely absent online over the weekend so I didn’t catch that thread. In fact alot of what I did sense, was concern about the details: who was dead, who wasn’t, how many wounded etc.

    I know at 11 am I participated in the moment of silence and prayed along with my younger daughter for justice and wisdom.

  4. It was a terrible tragedy.More Murder and death in Arizona..again.

    May I also add my observation,It’s astounding and very sad that in this country there always seems to be a “selective” concern for some people over another.In this case the tragedy of mass murder committed upon innocent white people.

    Even in death some people are more “equal” than others.Even in death white victims receive significantly more consideration and exploration.White victims as individuals are paid much greater homage and praise-their ‘humanity” explored and researched to bring out to the public their human face.

    When a Latino gets murdered they are usually given less than front page media and press coverage.
    For innocent victims of outrageous mass murder such as the Flores family of Arizona- Mexicanos-murdered in cold blood by the Arizona Minutemen -
    No media significant coverage,no Obamas or congressional “moments of silence” praying with bowed heads,no mourning,no 24 hr coverage on the Network news channels…NOTHING!

    When Latinos are brutally murdered they are almost always given cavalier and casual treatment -briefly mentioned in the media as faceless non-persons-
    “bystanders”, “Hispanic”,illegal aliens”,”gang related”,”drug or alcohol related””domestic abuse”….rarely will their worth as individual personalities,family members-their humanity be mentioned,even less explored and honored.To racist white America brown people have no personalities,not fully human, and are worth less.

    So you see in a racist xenophobic America some ..even in death,some people are more equal than others..

  5. I agree with you. The climate in Arizona has been poisonous for quite a while, but the media act like this is new. This is the second nine year old killed in Arizona by a right wing extremist, the first being Brisenia Flores. But she was Mexican-American, so to the media her life didn’t matter.

    Notice how many of the blogs have blamed Sarah Palin for the rhetorical climate in this country, but nobody has held Jan Brewer or Russell Pearce accountable for their rhetoric, their dealings with the white supremacist group FAIR, etc.

  6. I agree with you to some extent but the victim/target is female and what has been said on my favorite show South Land holds true here…”it’s open season on women” .I might also add I’m trying to shut up before this really does become Nazi Germany where by the way only a few people actually worked at the death camps but many folks where party members and enforced all kinds of restraints: on speech and activity that eventually led to the killing of : gays , the mentally ill , gypsies , intellectuals ,socialists and everybody else that disagreed with them.

    With all the talk of new laws and actions after this that is where we are headed.

    The shooter was ostracized and I assume felt his only recourse against a very wealthy congress member where the average income per congressperson is $700,000 was killing one. Terrorist acts are the last vestige for those with little or no power. He saw himself supporting thru his taxes a wealthy person more akin to a “Lord” then an elected official specially with all the Democratic rhetoric about getting the “middle class vote”…and helping the “middle class” this person clearly (I assume) felt he wasn’t going to be able to afford to live in this country soon or be free while those with wealth will get what they want and get to say what they wish.

    While I do not agree with his actions we will all soon lose are rights if we call him: crazy or shut down free speech for common folk while letting the media say what it wants.

    In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    By the time they came for me, there was no one left to speak up.

    – Poem based on speeches by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)
    Better to lower the congressional salaries and forbid them from holding outside jobs so they can truly appreciate their constitutes all of their constitutes not just the ones with the deepest pockets and bets connections.

  7. You raise a good point about the victim being a female. The vitriol against Hillary Clinton in 2008 was appalling, and it wasn’t coming from right wing sources, but from mainstream and liberal media outlets. They said she cried for political gain in New Hampshire, that she looked like an ex-wife at a probate hearing, accused her of violence, called her a racist, called her a white b*tch, said she had cankles and a shrill voice, demanded that she drop out and hand the nomination to Obama, etc.

    The only woman who called sexism was Gloria Steinem and she was predictably called a racist because national discussions about sexism are off limits and the way the elite shut down those conversations is tio unleash people who cry racism and call all second wave feminists racists. There is no more feminism in this country and we are seeing the effects.

  8. There was a reason I was very cautious and said that the media are speculating as to his mental health. The way that the word” crazy” is being thrown around is problematic and has the potential to liken all mental illness to violence which is not the case.

    As for Giffords being a woman, I have no doubt that that likely played a role as well. I think there are many factors at play here.

  9. Pingback: The Other Arizona Shooting | VivirLatino

  10. I agree but also because the U.S Supreme court ruled recently that money is free speech so the rich congress woman has a lot of free speech money and value…And has probably paid off a lot of folks (rich white men…) and she is probably in debt to …rich white men.

    And Ms. La Mala I didn’t mean you were belaboring the “crazy” card but that the rich white folks where and are for I hear today that both “the far right wing N.R.A. types and Obama right wing types and he is right wing are in agreement over tightening the gun laws around “crazies’’ which makes it so much closer to Nazi Germany which I’m stressing a lot because N.P.R. wants to shut that comparison down legally by calling it inflammatory hate speech to say we are becoming the Weimar Republic…Nazi Nazi…

    And for the record I voted for Ralph Nader…

    And by the way I know someone who is buying a former synagogue for a nonprofit group and it just hit me that on the street of this former synagogue there aren’t any synagogues at all but about ten churches in a five mile stretch.

    And I am not Jewish.

    Finally and I am sick and tired of women getting attacked and men getting all this media attention I would like some positive attention for my work or attention for things going wrong in my life but another s..B is getting free attention as if to keep it away from us…but it’s common theory that to make a terrorist keep taking away people’s rights that’s what’s the theory is about the Gaza strip.
    And all this bodes very badly for women who get physiological evaluations after being beaten and raped add noisome now ladies we won’t get guns but our abusers will.

    Because the burden is still on us to prove we have been abused and just like with this congresswoman money talks and the average woman in this country isn’t as rich as that congresswoman and certainly not wealthy enough to prove her case in court against the average man.

    Did I say I really like this web page and overall the comments are the best I’ve seen very enlightening and thoughtful?

  11. Sorry I meant women get ordered into psychological exams after being beaten and will thus will be kept from owning guns while their abusers won’t meet the same fate unless the women can prove a case against them in court.

  12. Thank you Beth for your compliments regarding the site. The burden of abuse has always been put on the the abused, from colonialism through now, especially for women, women of color and queer and transgender women. In the next few days there will be some posts about that in the context of Honduras.

  13. The Tucson shooting was a very tramatic event, it’s much more than just mental illness. Blaming it on an illness has become a lame excuse too often used in American society. While everyone is responsible for their own acts, the noise surrounding them is very loud. This is a technological age where we’re constantly being bombarded by opinions. Opinions from 24hr news stations, radio, the internet and now phones are always updating with the latest news. If someone is constantly listening to the same rhetoric (and it’s gotten so ugly between the politicians and pundits) there is a point when people start to believe what they hear….inflamatory speech to someone who doesn’t know any better can possibly turn into violence.

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