It’s not often you ask for help when you need it. I am not sympathizing at all with Jared Loughner, of whom is the suspect in the tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz where he shot 18 innocent people including state representative, Gabriel Giffords. However, he has demonstrated many key signs that one of his friend’s could have intervened and prevented the events that took place.
Ironically and sadly, her last status update reads:
Shortly thereafter the violent incident occurred.
For a moment, many people thought she passed away. Later, it was confirmed she was alive and went under emergency surgery for a bullet that went through her head. Last I heard, she was okay and functioning.
I expect further investigation and ‘backtracing’ to take place in order to properly map out what led up the shooting at the Safeway at Ina & Oracle in Tucson. It’s important to maintain an open mind and look objectively at the events and not to assume any one generalization that the media likes to package these things as. No, social media didn’t cause this incident, but it can give us some clues as to what may have led up to it.
His videos published on YouTube (compiled together by Tyler Hurst) show one thing: this kid needed help. From flag burning to talking about the need for a whole new currency. Combine that with some of his final updates to his MySpace account and you have someone who should talk with a counselor or at the very least, police the morning of.
Pay attention to your friend’s updates across social media. Not everything is bright and happy and that’s okay. It’s a communications medium and if you have a sense that someone will do some stupid shit, step in and help.
Even if you’re not sure – police are becoming slightly more conscious to the fact social media is a window into people’s lives. Inform them of everything you know and they can make a visit for a ‘welfare check’ ensuring the person is mentally sound. You can do it and not have to worry about any retribution, anonymously. Police are okay with that. If you don’t know where they live, at least get their help and attention.
The only public photo that we suspect is the same Loughner in today’s tragedy was hosted on Arizona Daily Star’s website
One thing we need to be careful of when looking at the shooter. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t make generalizations and don’t connect one person’s actions to a group of people. This person did what they did on their own accord and is incomprehensible.
From what we know, it’s not that anarchism, lucid dreaming or anti-government ideologies are to blame. Those are fine, but whenever someone escalates their thoughts and ideas to the point of killing people, that’s when the line is drawn and must require intervention.
Please be there for your friends when they post cryptic updates so this doesn’t happen again.