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PCC's Loughner emails show early concerns about accused shooter

For over a year prior to the Jan. 8 mass shooting, Pima Community College officials traded emails showing increasing concern about Jared Loughner's behavior. In the 255 pages of emails, released following a court ruling, Loughner is referred to as "creepy," bizarre," "psycho" and as having an "evil smile."... Read more»

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2 comments on this story

1
11 comments
May 21, 2011, 8:13 am
-1 +0

The thing about all this reporting on the signs of Loughner’s nutbaggery is that yeah, dude was a nutbag.  Then dude went ape and killed a bunch of people.  We could make a case, and indeed we’re making it, that folks saw this coming.

So what?  Is there anything to be gained from ruminating ad naseum about all the telltale signs of Loughner’s nuttiness?  Are we trying to build a case that Pima College has blood on their hands or something?

Bottom line: the guy was insane.  How about a story on all the reports of disconcerting weirdos that appear each semester at PCC, the U of A and any other public institution constitutionally prohibited from taking reasonable measures to identify and monitor the tragic characters.  999 times out of 1000 they’re harmless, and the critical minority occupies a middle ground of little interest to anyone not obsessed with civil liberties or psychopaths.

It would be nice to see the media acknowledge the public’s common sense on this one.  No one needs additional proof that the guy who killed a handful of innocents that morning was a batshit lunatic, and whatever the public really does need (closure?) isn’s served by the present parade of found facts about what what’s too late now to fix, and too unhealthy to insist on pondering.

Enough, for Christ, about Loughner.  He clearly did what he did, and he’ll clearly get what’s coming to him.  If anything needs clarification, it’s our capacity to get past it.

2
542 comments
May 21, 2011, 10:43 am
-0 +1

Luke,

Why continue to report on Loughner?

David Bodney, the attorney who has pushed for the release of public records from Pima College and the various investigating agencies, summed it up in a court hearing: to transparently show the public the process of justice.

Given the particular circumstances of the Jan. 8 mass shooting, while Jared Loughner may bear the moral guilt of pulling the trigger, there’s a strong chance that he may never be found guilty of a crime. There’s a chance he may never even be tried for the shootings.

Whether that’s right or wrong, it’s a possibility that many will find hard to understand.

Further, reporting on what PCC or other organizations and people did or didn’t do before the shootings provides the information needed to identify if anything does need fixing in our system.

Note that, after they were compelled by the court to release this set of emails, PCC immediately announced that they are hiring new mental and behavorial health experts.

If we are never to report on “what’s too late now to fix, and too unhealthy to insist on pondering,” should there never again be a report on the Iraq war, or our long-time failure to find bin Laden, the causes of the housing bubble, the potential for climate change, or the money spent on local government consultants?

The whole point behind reporting what’s happened in the past is to try to fix the future. Talking about what to do without any facts at hand is mere pontification, and there’s enough of that sort of blather in the media already.

There are many questions raised by the handling of Loughner prior to Jan. 8, and the options open to us now. Just a few of them are:

• While there are mechanisms for any person to be ordered into mental health treatment, they’re not commonly used. Should they be more frequently invoked?

• Should educational instutions do a more comprehensive job of monitoring student behavior and intervening?

• Should educational institutions—and their law enforcement agencies—communicate more with other legal authorities about student behavior?

• Should there be more readily available support for the families of people with mental health issues?

• Do those who see a dangerous potential in someone with an apparent mental health issue have a responsibility to take steps to get them treatment?

• Given the differences between federal and state laws regarding competency and the insanity defense, which system better serves justice?

Within certain parameters of taste and respect, we’ll continue to report on the aftermath of Jan. 8—both the trial of Jared Loughner and the progress made by the victims and our community to heal and grow together.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

Dylan

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