Monday, January 10, 2011
Why did Jared Loughner do it?
It is a natural response for humans to look for reasons for aberrant behavior in their fellow humans. Why did the terrorists attack us on 9/11? Why did Jim Jones kill all those people in Guyana? Why did Seung-Hui Cho open fire on classmates at Virginia Tech? Millions are asking today why Jared Loughner opened fire in front of a Tucson Safeway?
I’m amazed to watch seemingly intelligent people assign motives to Loughner’s actions. Some are saying he killed six people (as of this writing) because he attempted to join the army and was rejected or because he was expelled from a local college. Millions of people suffer similar setbacks daily, they don’t go out with a 9mm and start killing people.
Others have said he turned into a vicious killer because he smoked pot. Again, millions of Americans destroy their minds with drugs but they don’t go on killing sprees.
Perhaps the most common reason given for Loughner’s behavior is his unstable mental condition. Lynda Lorenson, 51, attended classes with Loughner and emailed messages to her friends: “We do have one student in the class who was disruptive today, I'm not certain yet if he was on drugs (as one person surmised) or disturbed. He scares me a bit. The teacher tried to throw him out and he refused to go… we have a seriously disturbed student in the class, and they are trying to figure out how to get rid of him before he does something bad.” His strange behavior was observed six months ago and some were frightened by him.
So, if Loughner is too crazy to kill Talibans and he is too disturbed to attend college why is it okay for him to wander the streets of Tucson?
Some are wondering who is more nearly insane, Loughner or the Sheriff investigating him. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik couldn’t resist politicizing a tragic event by addressing blame to conservative ideology as he placed blame on “the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business…” Is it not insane to apply blame to individuals who have a certain political philosophy that doesn’t happen to match yours? Is it not inappropriate and immoral. It nearly reaches the level of radical church groups propagating their political and religious beliefs by protesting at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. Mr. Dupnik, you are responsible for enforcing the law and administering justice to citizens in your jurisdiction. Please focus on doing that rather than proselytizing for those with a certain political agenda.
Rebecca Monsour, a former aide to Sarah Palin said, “"This is a terrible politicization of a tragedy. We don't know (Loughner’s) motive. It doesn't seem like he was motivated by a political ideology. Craziness is not an ideology."
Fortunately, there are many people voicing opposition to the ‘crazy’ sheriff’s politicization of this tragedy. Lamar Alexander, Republican senator from Tennessee said, “It's tempting to say this person's actions might have been a result of [another] person's comments, but I think we need to be very careful about imputing any of these actions on someone else.” Agreed. Why can’t Loughner be responsible for his own actions, he and he alone?
Unfortunately, Sheriff Dupnik’s methods are not so unusual. Radical liberals blamed Conservative ideology for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Somehow they make Sarah Palin and the Tea Party responsible for the actions of the Fort Hood assassin. These accusations are outrageous and reveal that insanity in America is a chronic, widespread problem.
Why are members of the media referring to Loughner as a ‘boy’? He is twenty-two years old. Why isn’t he referred to as a young man? It is as if calling him a ‘boy’ makes him less responsible for his actions because he hasn’t grown to adulthood yet. The maturation of American’s young men has certainly been retarded by our lowered expectations. We don’t really expect junior to go out and get a job and support himself. It really is quite alright if he stays home and plays video games until he is thirty.
I don’t know why Jared Loughner killed six people and wounded so many others, including Congresswoman Giffords. But I’ll ask the questions few others will ask. What were Jared Loughner’s religious beliefs? What God was he worshipping when he bowed to the shrine he devised in his back yard? Did he ever claim to be a Christian? Did he ever go to church? Was God ever a part of any of his life in any way?
Jared may very well be crazy. But our society is quick to pull the insanity card to explain immoral behavior rather than simply call it what it is, its sin. In our effort to remove God from all areas of life we must also remove sin. We explain sin away by using substitute words like “disease” or “illness”. Maybe, just maybe, Jared Loughner has an evil heart.
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.