Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rambling About Tucson, Sudan, and Prudence

There isn't much of 'today' left: it's approaching midnight here in Minnesota.

All I plan to do with this post is follow up on what I wrote about yesterday.

Tuscon Shooting

During 'intentions' at Mass today, we prayed for the victims - surviving and otherwise - of the attack in Tuscon, Arizona, yesterday.

Details are coming out: how many people were killed; who they were; and who committed this appalling act. There seems to be a consensus that Jared Loughner is "disturbed."

What's remarkable is how "disturbed" he's been - and for how long. I'm old enough to remember the aftermath of the "Snake Pit" era. There's a reason why it isn't easy to get someone locked up for 'being crazy' in America. There were, I'm told and am inclined to believe, abuses back in the 'good old days' when inconvenient family members could be quietly lobotomized or shipped off to a loony bin.

Still, an ideal society would have taken note of someone as obviously off-the-rails as Jared Loughner, and at a minimum detoxified him.

I'll get back to 'those crazy people' in a bit.

Bottom line, with the Tucson situation? A half-dozen people are deal. More are wounded, some very seriously. Prayer couldn't hurt.

Sudan Election: So Far, Remarkably Good News

As far as I've read, the Sudan election in which the independence of the southern part of the country is at issue is going rather well.

According to a CNN account, folks who were standing in line when one of the polls reached its closing time were allowed to stay in line until they had a chance to vote. Awfully sporting of the powers that be in Sudan, I think.

It would be nice, if the voting proceeds smoothly, the ballots are counted in a plausibly legitimate way, and the official results are not wildly different from the actual polling data.

No matter how the election comes out - it's my opinion that it's not going to be easy for the folks in the southern part of Sudan. I've discussed that before.

'He's Crazy, Lock Him Up'

It's easy to be wise after an event. Using 20-20 hindsight, it's 'obvious' that Jared Loughner should have been locked up. For his own good.

In a perfect society, that would have happened, I think.

We don't live in a perfect society. I've quoted Job 5:7 fairly often: the idea that we make trouble for ourselves, "as sparks fly upward." I've written about original sin before. (January 8, 2011)

I've also explained why "I Put no trust in princes...." (Psalms 146) (February 2, 2009)

My opinion is that America's attitude, policies, and procedures for dealing with folks who are 'crazy' is due for a re-evaluation. I also think that any changes need to be considered very, very carefully.

I've got a personal stake in the matter.

First, though, about the fellow who's accused of killing a half-dozen people on Saturday:
"...Jared Lee Loughner was 'physically removed' from the Pima Community College course less than a month after it began, its instructor, Ben McGahee told CNN. McGahee said Loughner sometimes shook, blurted things out in class, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs at times.

" 'I was scared of what he could do,' McGahee said. 'I wasn't scared of him physically, but I was scared of him bringing a weapon to class.'...

"...Loughner dropped out of high school in nearby Marana after his junior year, according to the school district. He got into the community college through a program aimed at helping high school dropouts transition to community colleges, Pima's president told CNN.

"When he tried to enlist in the Army in 2008, the service rejected him for reasons it says it can't disclose due to privacy laws. But an administration official told CNN on Sunday that Loughner had failed a drug test.

"In postings on the social media sites YouTube and MySpace, Loughner railed against government 'mind control,' being surrounded by people he considered illiterate and the illegitimacy of the U.S. government. In class, McGahee said Loughner accused him of violating his free-speech rights, 'And of course free speech is limited in the classroom.'

"One such outburst was 'the straw that broke the camel's back,' and McGahee -- who had already raised concerns about Laughner with administrators -- had him removed.

"Laughner 'needed psychological help,' and McGahee said he was not surprised to hear his former student was the suspect in Saturday's bloodbath.

" 'This guy was mentally disturbed. He was very isolated,' he said....

"...McGahee said the school responded to complaints about Loughner, but, 'They didn't do it early enough.'

" 'I think they did the best they can do, but as far as the time frame goes it could have been shortened,' he said...."
(CNN)
Like I said, 20-20 hindsight is great. The day after, it's obvious that Jared Loughner would have been better off if a benevolent authority had taken charge of him. And, a far-from-trivial point, the six people killed Saturday would very likely be alive today if he'd been restrained before he opened fire.

Incidentally, I'm not using words like "allegedly" in describing Jared Loughner's actions. The 'innocent until proven guilty' aspect of American law is one reason why I have no intention of leaving this country. In this case, however, considering the massive amount of evidence, eyewitnesses, and people who jumped him while he was shooting - I'm assuming that Jared actually pulled the trigger and killed those poeple.

Where was I?

'He's crazy, lock him up.' Right.

Although young Mr. Loughner is a sort of 'poster child' for the idea of involuntary institutionalization of lunatics, I'm just as glad that a professor or neighbor can't arrange for someone else to be locked away in a nice, quiet asylum.

Partly because I'm one of those 'crazy people' myself.

Specifically, I've been diagnosed with ADHD-inattentive. Also major depression. (November 30, 2010, November 11, 2010)

Sure - 'that's different.' I had the good sense - and the ability - to avoid being "physically removed" from a classroom, or from where I worked, or my home.

It helped, I think, that I saw no reason to do drugs, back when that was more fashionable. The way my brain is wired, why bother? If I wanted a 'trip,' all I had to do was let my foot off the brake, so to speak.

Or, maybe it's not so different. I cited the various versions of Martin Niemöller's 'they came for the Jews' remarks in another blog. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (December 11, 2009)) Briefly, I think it's prudent to defend the rights of 'those people over there.'

It's not just because I've got ADHD-inattentive. As a member of a religious minority, I need to be careful of the rights of folks who don't fit the approved molds.

And that's another topic.

Yesterday's posts:
In the news:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

There's an extra letter here: "with the Tucscon situation?"

And you might want to look at the Job quote, there's something funny about either the capitalization or where the quote mark is.

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

I fixed the Tuscon typo.

About the Job quote, capitalization is standard, the quote marks appear at the start and end of the excerpted material, and I've added a comma which may help.

Thanks.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.