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Arizona Shooting Tragedy: SPSSI News Selection

10 Januray 2011

Arizona Shooting Tragedy: SPSSI News Selection
SPSSI Central Office extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the murder spree in Tucson on Saturday. We wish for a hasty and full recovery for Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords and the other injured.
          In the spirit of SPSSI’s values we call for a just and thorough enquiry into the cause of the violence, and an effort on the part of government, civil society organizations, and individuals to prevent this from happening again.

Time Online has a story titled After Tucson: Why Are the Mentally Ill Still Bearing Arms? It asks why, even after suspect Jared Loughner was suspended from school for a year requiring mental health clearance before returning, a background check cleared him for buying a weapon. It considers the prevailing problem of gun purchasing and mental illness despite the conditions put in place in the 1968 Gun Control Act and calls for greater cooperation between the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and individual states. The debate on gun laws is covered on a number of other main stream news sites including the Wall Street Journal.

The BBC Online analyzes whether the killing is reflective of growing anger and polarization in American politics. The debate on this seems to be divided and is likely to be ongoing for a long time. Amy Walther in ABC News reflects on social assumptions and stereotypes and urges use to look at the cultural causes of the murders rather than the political ones. The Washington Post argues that there is an important political angle and that “conservative leaders must take on their fringe when it uses language that intimates threats of bloodshed. That means more than just highly general statements praising civility”.

Motherjones.com carries an interview with one of Jared Loughner’s friends which provides and insight into his level of mental disturbance, and social and political disgruntlement. The Wall Street Journal reports on other reactions from friends.

Alex Ingrams
SPSSI Policy Coordinator

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                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin