Jared Lee Loughner is a very bad boy. On January 8, he shot his state Representative in the face, then shot eighteen others, killing six of them.
Jared Lee Loughner is also a kinda weird kid.
Jared seemed to believe that the government was attempting to control the thoughts of the populace by controlling the grammar that people use to formulate those thoughts. While the concept isn’t exactly new, it also isn’t exactly sound science. Grammar in general defies all attempts at control, which is why we have new and ever changing grammar books and dictionaries every year. It isn’t the government that determines the changes, it’s popular usage.
Another concern of Jared’s was the nation’s currency. The U.S. left the gold standard for the first time in 1785, and has been on and off of it (as have most other nations) throughout history. As of 1971 (Nixon) the U.S. has seemingly put the gold standard “permanently” behind itself. Jared believed that any currency not pegged to gold or silver was “false” currency, which apparently made him upset. Again, there is some philosophical basis for this… a “dollar” in and of itself is sort of meaningless. The paper bill, is only a representation of value, and holds none in and of itself. If there is no hard value being represented, (gold or silver) then in a very actual sense the currency is valueless. However, in a practical sense, people still want and spend and work for those dollars, and that is really all that makes any difference. If Jared’s point had actually been valid Gabrielle Giffords would never have been shot, because the kid wouldn’t have been able to trade his fake money for a Glock 19 at Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Pima Community College kicked Jared out because he acted crazy and threatening. The Army kicked Jared out because he admitted to heavy drug usage, and he had been picked up by the cops on drug charges and vandalism. In the United States it is illegal for the mentally unfit to own a firearm, and in Arizona it is also illegal for a person deemed a danger to themselves or others. Jared’s background check came up completely clear, and he purchased his handgun, shotgun, two extended 31 bullet clips, and a hunting knife, all completely legally and within sight of the law. Thus far, the discussions on legal remedies to safeguard against future self-appointed grammar police have been limited to the possibility of reinstituting an expired ban on the oversized ammunition clips… but it probably won’t happen. (I’m guessing the logic here is that we want to make it less convenient to shoot crowds of people without actually buying more guns, presumably a windfall to gun manufacturers from the crazy murderer segment of their clientele.) One poor guy who came running towards the sound of shots because he also was carrying a gun, nearly shot the man who had wrestled Jared’s Glock away and was standing there with it. If others had not noticed what was about to happen and started screaming, there would have been yet another injured to add to the list of the day, if not another fatality.
I personally don’t like guns, but I think I would be against removing them from the public altogether. Guns seem fine to me for hunting, which to my mind is the only semi-legitimate use for them. If you enjoy shooting at the shooting range that seems like it ought to be okay, in which case owning a handgun is akin to owning your own bowling ball.
Keeping a gun for personal defense seems kind of stupid, since your odds of getting shot climb dramatically simply by having one around. You are much, much more likely to be accidentally shot by your own gun than you are to be shot on purpose by the gun of a criminal.
The NRA makes it seem like it’s some kind of attack on America to ask that people carrying weapons for which the sole purpose is killing others be shown to be trustworthy. Financially that’s a very successful stance for them to have. It remains to be seen how well that’s going to work out for Jared and the grammar of the country.