[In spite of how the media spins this tragedy, let’s keep the bigger picture in mind.–CB]
January 9, 2011, 10:30 AM PST (Culver City) — The shooting yesterday of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D, AZ) which also resulted in the deaths of six people and the wounding of 14 others was more than just a wake up call. My first reaction was that civil unrest in the midst of economic collapse and corruption calling into question the legitimacy and relevance of government had begun. One in seven Americans are now living on food stamps. Unemployment is now near 25% according to some sources which track those who have stopped looking. And the continuing travesty of Mortgagegate is eroding everyone’s faith in the rule of law in this country. This nation is seeing poverty rates approach levels unseen in this country for nearly a century. Yesterday I called my old friend former six-term Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for a reality check. When she first learned of the shooting she had the same reaction as mine which was essentially that “The people have (finally) turned on congress”. Her take — as well as mine — was that House leadership had exactly the same gut-level reaction. These perceptions were confirmed by the very first news reports (saying that Rep. Gifford had died), and that all members of the House should take immediate and increased security precautions.
Even though the situation is still unfolding, and I have heard reports of possibly two other people having been with or connected to the shooter, one message is clear. Congress has been and still is expecting attacks from an increasingly frustrated, impoverished and disenfranchised populace for its abysmal failure to rationally explain and address what is so obviously happening to the American people and the world as a whole.
It may well be that the suspect Jared Lee Loughner will prove to be a highly deranged and unstable individual. That certainly is the way he’s being spun, and not without evidence to support it. But it would be folly to automatically assume that his actions occurred in a vacuum somehow uninfluenced by the events of collapse that we see all around us. Fear is everywhere. One other thing is clear. This will have a chilling effect on personal interactions between members of the House and their constituents. “It’s going to change”, said McKinney.
There will undoubtedly be those who want to go off down blind alleys and after red herrings looking for all kinds of things. Anti-Semitism has already been offered on the altar of public consumption because the Congresswoman is Jewish. The Tea Party and Sarah Palin are being routinely injected into media discussions. We may see some new gun laws but they will not alter the fact that there are already an estimated 250 million firearms and perhaps billions of rounds of ammunition that are in the hands of an increasingly distressed American populace. Conditions are inevitably going to worsen despite Fed Chairman Bernanke’s recent proclamation the “The recovery is taking hold”. Continued irrationality on the part of the government will produce more irrationality from the people until the time comes when it will not be possible to conveniently categorize would-be assassins and shooters as deranged. Otherwise the government will be in the position of having to label us all as such and by then it won’t matter.
Jared Lee Loughner is a young man, from a younger generation less inclined to worry about the labels offered by The Establishment. His generation — as with young people all over the world — is suffering mightily and will bear the brunt of the wreckage human industrial civilization has left them. He is a member of a generation which — looking into its future — sees nothing except hopelessness. Make no mistake that as the fallout from this tragic event continues that, and that alone will be the paramount concern for political leaders in this country and around the world.