Arizona Congress Woman Shot

The cross-hairs were a lovely touch, Sarah...

As you may have heard, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), has been shot in the head along with eleven other people outside a store in Tucson. At this point all the news I have been able to get my hands on shows that she is still alive. Updates to follow as I get them.

UPDATE – 1:52pm (MST)

Still nothing new about her condition, beyond the fact that she’s still alive and in surgery. We shall see. Meantime, let me make one thing clear: I blame the shooter for this. It wasn’t the GOP, the extreme right-wing or the Tea Party that shot her and eleven other people. It was one jerk-ass with a gun.

That said, I’ll happily blame the all the above for creating a situation where this sort of violence, sadly, comes as absolutely no surprise what so ever. After all, in the immortal words of Sarah Palin, “Don’t retreat! Instead, reload!”

1:54pm (MST)

CNN is reporting six dead so far. Suspect in custody.

2:00pm (MST)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if Giffords should die, wouldn’t she be the first MoC assassinated since Leo Ryan?

2:14pm (MST)

Not the first time Giffords has been a victim of political violence. Check this interview with MSNBC where she talks about an attack on her office in Tucson.

2:17pm (MST)

CNN is now reporting Giffords is out of surgery, but in critical condition. Hopefully all will be well.

2:48pm (MST)

Obama is giving a statement right now. Among the dead are a federal judge and an eight-year-old girl.

3:06pm (MST)

From what I’m reading on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, it sounds unlikely that the alleged shooter was a Tea Party person. Sounds more likely he was just a nutjob. So there may not be any politics per se involved, which is a good thing. I still say that it’s sad that the right-wing created an environment where something like this doesn’t come as a surprise, but at least it’s good that the alleged shooter apparently had nothing to do with them.

3:52pm (MST)

From what I’ve been reading, it sounds like the alleged shooter in this case is several sandwiches short of a picnic. Check this video on his YouTube site:

This is clearly a deeply disturbed man, and according to one reader on Sully’s site, he might be really deeply disturbed.

I’m a licensed psychologist with 20 years experience. I’ve watched the Jared Loughner Youtube videos. They show evidence of delusions of persecution. Loughner’s less than coherent language also suggests a formal thought disorder. While Loughner can’t be diagnosed without a full exam conducted in person, there are significant indications in the videos that he suffers from a psychotic disorder.

I would not rule out drugs as a factor, but he is within the age range that psychotic patients often suffer their first psychotic break. If I had to guess, I’d go with paranoid schizophrenia. If that’s the case, his politics are irrelevant. He may not even be fit to stand trial unless and until his psychotic thinking is brought under control with medication.

If he is indeed paranoid-schizophrenic, then he likely will be able to “get off” on an insanity plea, which means instead of the state of Arizona murdering him in our names, he’ll spend most, if not all, the rest of his life in psychiatric care, which I feel is reasonable. After all, one of the major problems with this particular illness is an inability to tell reality from fantasy, and if that’s the case, how can you hold someone responsible for their crimes?

I think that’s about it for the live updates on this subject. I’ll add more if I see anything interesting, but otherwise the story seems stable for now. Hopefully Ms Giffords will survive and go on to repent her district for a long time to come.


2 Responses to “Arizona Congress Woman Shot”

  1. Paul Says:

    If a person has “an inability to tell reality from fantasy”, how do they get an actual working gun, load it with the correct bullets, go to where the congressperson is going to be, and open fire accurately enough to hit his/her target?

    Heck, how would a person in such a condition type out something even closely resembling English? Wouldn’t they not be able to tell which spacebar key is the reality and which one is the fantasy? How exactly does it work?

    • Chris Says:

      From the video I saw and the information that’s come out about this guy, it sounds like he’s definitely got some serious mental health issues. If indeed he is paranoid schizophrenic it explains a great deal about how something like this might happen (though it doesn’t explain everything about it. See:

      As for the fact that he was able to do those things you mentioned above, well, so what? Even the most severely insane are usually capable of functioning at least somewhat.


      It is worth noting that at least some paranoid schizophrenic people are capable of becoming functioning members of society. John Nash, for example, manages to function quite well. But a quick look at his Wikipedia article shows that he is a man who has frequently had trouble telling the difference between reality and fantasy.

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