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January 18th, 2011 by Dr. Phil

Anger and Unanswered Questions in Arizona

victims2I still can’t wrap my mind around the senseless shooting in Arizona that left 13 wounded and six dead. I’m glad to hear that doctors are optimistic about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords recovery. This is a woman who has dedicated her life to public service, and she and her family remain in my prayers. My heart goes out to all the families affected by this tragedy.

Whenever we hear stories of a guy who starts firing into a crowd, we shake our heads in horror and ask, “Could this have been predicted?” As a mental health professional, that’s a question that I always think about. But the truth is we don’t have the psychological test to predict the next Columbine or Virginia Tech shooting.

A lot of people are hurt, angry and want answers. I get that. Here’s what we know about the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner: He railed on about the government. He listed Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto as among his favorite books. We know he had been arrested for drug paraphernalia, although that was ultimately dismissed. On December 30, he posted on his Facebook page: “My shot is now ready for aim,” and “I define terrorist.”

In looking back, the red flags were there. But here’s the problem: There are thousands of people who behave this way, who write these things, but they don’t actually commit an act of violence. So, talking about guns on a Facebook page is not predictive of who will do something violent. A lot of folks are asking, “Is this a sign of people being so upset with the economy and government that they are just taking matters into their own hands?” But I think that is just a wrong way to look at this.

I can tell you, from a psychological point of view, I think some of the rhetoric in America is getting very dangerous. Now, before you send me an e-mail about freedom of speech, let me say that I’m a great proponent of the First Amendment. Even when the tabloids and gossip columns print all sorts of lies about me, I’m still a proponent of free speech. But, I have to say, some of the rhetoric is getting very dangerous, to the point of inciting others to do reckless or irrational things. In America, we have the right to say what we want to say, but with rights come responsibilities. I think we have to not muzzle each other, but sometimes, we should muzzle ourselves.

So, do I think Jared Loughner’s alleged shooting was a political act? In my view, this was a mentally ill individual who had a hard time with impulses, and fantasies and really bizarre thinking. That doesn’t trivialize the fact that six people will be buried this week and 13 others are still recovering from their wounds. But, we’ve got to come together as a nation to talk through this and start the healing process. It’s my hope that people close to someone who is in a meltdown phase, will raise a flag.

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55 Responses to “Anger and Unanswered Questions in Arizona”

  1. Leevi says:

    Good article and I definetely agree! As a person who lives in another country, I think that you should also have a tighter gun-control.

  2. Harriett Cagle says:

    Yes I think his actions were predictable. His behavior before the incident and the expression in his eyes tells us that he was capable of doing what he did. However, they didn’t tell when he was going to snap and do what he did. My heart goes out to the wounded and my deepest sympathy goes to the families of those he killed. I will keep them all in my prayers.

  3. Alyssa Culver says:

    I just wanted to say thanks Dr. Phil for this post. I live in AZ and I still can’t believe that this happened. This guy who did this is a sick sick person and needs the hand of god over him so that maybe he will see the error in his ways.

    One thing that I do know, Karma will come back and get to him.


  4. Linda says:

    I have to agree with you that some rhetoric is getting dangerous. It is so exaggerated and when an instable person hear that he can take it literary. I think some people should think more about what they are actually saying, because I don´t think they really mean it. I would also like to tell you that when the Virginia Tech shooting happend I first read about it online on a forum actually, because an “internet friend” of mine is working there. I will never forget that post. She wrote that someone was shooting there and she had been lying under her desk all morning. Everybody panic posted and wanted to know if she was ok. It made me think a lot about how I would react in such a situation and says a lot about how important an online community can become to you imo.

  5. Jennifer Redmiles says:

    Dr. Phil, I completely, 100%, agree with your assessment. I don’t think it could be better said. Thank you for your input, especially since so many look to you for advice.


  6. I’m sorry Dr. Phil, about this whole tradegy. After all I grew up and still live in Mesa,arizona. It just hit so close to home. I prayed for all the victims, made and sent cards for healing and thanking the two dr.’s that helped save Gabrielle Giffords life. I have a mentally ill son which makes me question all the things he has ever done, would he of never killed like this. I mean I just think people snap.
    Our son has autism, MMR, ADHD, seizure disorder, and phychosis behavior.

    At that point our son, can get huge eyes and see people that have told him to kill in the past. Our placing him in a group home, as myself fighting the state to get him in a group home that took 1 year, as he was in crisis for 3 years and we are all lucky to be alive today, was for safety for ourselves and for him, almost 7 years ago. Never a regret.

    Actually the day I took him to his first group home I said; Alleuia to God above. Andrew was born sick as I carried him sick as well. It has never been easy with him.

    To date he has been in 4 homes and 3 agencies so this hasn’t been easy also. He is trying to graduate from high school after being in 12 schools now at the age of 18 years old.

    so, I am so deeply puzzled and saddened to why this violence. We all have choices to make and I believe there is no excuse for killing of ones life. But, who’s to say anyone really knows what world he was in. Andrew when in crisis or mis behaves goes into his own world and if you approach him then, I always say look out. He can be unpredicable at times. but, when he wishes to be nice, he can be such a great child. I believe he can’t help it at times. I just wish I had answers too but, I don’t. I tell other parents as our family has had our trials, we have never been depressed but, we deal with it and our faith really helps us. :)

    thanks for all you do to find hope for those that are having struggles in life.
    God truly Blessed your parents when he created you, Dr. phil! :)

  7. Yes- I do think so- I have a step son who is Schizophrenic and he was violent in the recent past- stabbing his grandparent and beating his grandma in an episode when we did not know he was not taking his medication. We have 4 daughters & I called the county we live in and begged them to intervine in someway- I could not get a call back. When I left a message at the top of the chain of command and said “This is Rhonda Mervine- I am going on official record stating that my step son is a danger to society and will hurt someone if off meds & you need to help me find him a place to live so that he does not hurt anyone else. Strangest thing that the hospital just release him after getting him meds straight after he stabbed someone. I was in chock that that how they handle such a problem. We put him up in a hotel for 3 weeks until we ran out of money & by then the county intervined and he lives in an assited living facility where they give him his meds without fail. I cannot trust him living with my daughters. We see him regularly and support him all we can but he has voices that tell him to do things. Very sad. If someone asked me before & now if I thought he was capable of such things I would say YES. I noticed things when he was young that were not normal about his behavior & then when he was 18 he had adult onset Schizophrenia. But he had the behaviors back then that lead up to serial killers & such- I hate to say that. It hurts but i saw it & my husband did not really listen to me.
    I think Jareds parents & teachers saw signs & should have announced it to the world as I did that someone- anyone needed to help me & that is what I did. We are sooooo blessed that our county came to his aide and ours.

  8. Susan says:

    I am an attorney who works with indigent people with mental health problems. Jared’s Loughner’s actions are the result of a cataclysmic, systemic failure.

    A lot of people say and think crazy things. This is not normally a crime in our society. A lot of people listen to the politicos and talking heads out there, and think these people actually know what they are talking about and should be taken seriously.

    Under our legal system there has to be a bad, dangerous or illegal act on the part of the mentally ill person before the courts can usually step in. This is a question of checks and balances. No one has a crystal ball. How many innocent people should be detained to lock up one potentially bad actor? What if that innocent is you or someone you love?

    The mentally ill are no longer warehoused in insane asylums. Nope, society says it’s better for them to be free from such brutality and homeless on the streets. Oh, did I mention it was cheaper for them to be homeless on the streets?

    The problem is that as a society we do not provide the mental health services to address the needs of the population. Poor people, mentally ill people and people who do not vote, do not have the political clout to get the money to get the needed services in place. Many of my clients do not have the money to pay for a place to stay or buy food let alone purchase their meds.

    Our society is as strong as its weakest link (who said that?). This is what we have to fix.

  9. Ashley says:

    You pretty much summed up my own thoughts, Dr. Phil.

  10. Angela papanikolas says:

    Thank you Dr. Phil for giving people this opportunity I am from Tucson Arizona and we thank every one for there condolences
    I think there were many signs but not seen clearly by family and anyone who knew the gunmen. let the authorities give swift justice and keep the prayers going for every one to heal. God bless

  11. Kim Simons says:

    I live in tucson and and still in shock over what happened. I cannot believe it happened here-this is the sort of thing you think will never happen in your city. I do think there needs to be more control over gun and amunition sales. someone with the history this man had had no business being able to buy the gun rounds he bought. I really hope something will change because of all this. My thought and prayers go out to all the victims of that horrible day.
    Tucson is only going to be stronger now. I also believe that what goes around comes around and this man will have only one person to answer to in the end.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    The rhetoric is not “getting dangerous”, it IS dangerous. The friend of Jared you had on the show today stated that ”(he) did this to tear the country apart…and if we keep attacking one another, we are only allowing him to win.”

    People died at the hand of a man that committed a lone, senseless act of violence! When I first read, within hours after the shooting, that people were so quick to find a scapegoat, so quick to lay the blame on other people and issues, by bringing politics into this heart wrenching tragedy; I felt sick. Every time someone takes the time to blame…they are taking away the very essence of compassion that should go towards the victims and their families. Shame on them; shame on anyone who acknowledges validity to these statements of blame, dishonoring the victims and their families.

    It disgusts me that there are those willing to dominate press time for their own agendas under any circumstance. This country is composed of mostly compassionate, caring citizens who were devastated by what happened in Tucson, Arizona on January 8th – and only want the victims and their families to know how much we care about them.

    As I watch your show today, Dr. Phil, I am full of an enormous sense of despair. I cannot imagine all that encompasses such a tragedy; how it has affected those present at the shooting, the community, the country. How those that were involved will need to grieve and heal long after the news reporters have left and have moved on to the next big story. My heart and my thoughts and prayers go out to them. Thank you for bringing the focus back to the innocent lives this tragedy impacted. Thank you for your constant blanket of concern and sensitivity for people in need.

  13. Patti G says:

    I could possibly be the only person out there who actually has sympathy for this young man, Jared and his family.
    I watched my own 17 year old son descend into a delusional madness and by the grace of God and good friends my husband and I were finally able to get him hospitalized and gain legal guardianship over him.
    Some of the statements I’ve read about Jared contain frightening similarities in his thinking and the delusions of my own son.
    When you’re parenting an ‘adult’ (even at 17, my son was considered an adult) it is EXTREMELY difficult for a parent to get help for a mentally ill child. We had video tapes of my son’s rants, having gone days without sleep, stating that he was ordered to kill our family to save us. He started a fire in a restaurant, thought the government was actually an alien race, etc….
    I have such sadness for Jared’s family. What is a parent to do when you can’t commit someone unless you have proof that they are a danger to themselves or others? Then when you have evidence, the courts take so long, the hospitals discharge too quickly and you live in fear for your child and what he might do to others.
    I apologize for making this about me. I just want people to understand that mental illness is real and very difficult to manage. It’s exhausting and frightening for the family of the mentally ill. I am deeply saddened for his victims, his family and Jared too.

    I’m listening to your experts, and I disagree with the comments on an insanity defense. The person may very well be able to buy a gun, make a plan and TRULY NOT think that what they are doing is wrong because in their mind, it ISN’T wrong for them. It’s a mission that they feel they MUST complete, and laws don’t apply to them. It IS insanity.
    We need a society that is more willing and ready to help the mentally ill.

  14. Patti G says:

    Rhonda M: I know exactly how you feel. I called 911 several times so that I could be officially on record with my fears and so that my son was on record in the background. It is nearly impossible to get help. Thankfully, we knew an attorney who not only didn’t charge us, but hand delivered items to the court for us so that we could speed up the involuntary commitment and guardianship.
    Thankfully, my son is doing very, very well on medications and is home with us.
    Susan the attorney: You’re exactly right, and I wish there was more that could be done.

  15. Tiffany says:

    The United States regularly has mass shootings, as you say, two or three times a year, and unfortunately, I think we’re going to continue to have them,” Lisa says. “This is a very rare occurrence in Western Europe, Japan, East China. Why? Because they don’t allow anyone to get their hands on semi-automatic weapons, and in fact, we wouldn’t have allowed Jared Loughner to buy the clip that he bought between 1994 and 2004. We had an automatic weapons ban then. He couldn’t have bought this clip. That was lifted in 2004. Now he could buy a clip with 33 bullets in it, so he can spray a crowd of people with 33 bullets in just a couple of seconds. When was he stopped? When was he jumped by bystanders? When he stopped to reload. If he had to stop to reload sooner, lives would be saved. We have to change our laws to say, ‘No, you’re not allowed to get a semi-automatic weapon with an extended clip.’” THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA NEEDS GUN CONTROL! INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THE INDIVIDUAL (THEY WANT YOUR ATTENTION)!

  16. Margaret says:

    Very nice article. I’m very sorry for what happened in Arizona. Truly sorry. What I wanted to say about that man who commit such a crime is that he is very sick person I mean mentally. Mein kampf is very hard book from where lots of skinheads appear in Europe. I think that now he doesn’t know where is reality in this word and where is not. Looking in his eyes I can see a mad man that can do lots of crazy things like he did but the source lies deep in his childhood or some tragedy has happened in his life that made him to be and act like that. There’s no place for him in prison, no, he needs to be under doctors supervision. He needs help but he will never say it out loud. Crazy people are unpredictable and there are too much of them walking in the streets

  17. Janet Roderick says:

    This story is going to be repeated over and over until the people in the US decide to create and invest in mental health caare. My youngest brother is paranoid schizophrenic since3 his teens. He is now 51. Over the years we have begged everyone to help get him into some treatment. The one time we did get him examinded, he was released and told not to return as he wouldn’t take his medicine. He is going to be the last one to request any type of treatment. One time when he was younger, he was driving around with a gun to shoot people in other cars that were after him.
    The years have smoothed a few edges, but nothing has changed. The community has failed to step up. I have often hated to turn the news on for fear that it would be him and my family.

    Rudy Julianni was on tv Sunday speaking to this issue and the first person of power to speak in favor of helping address mental health care. I sadly grieve for the injured and killed in Arizona. We have to unite in favor of finding ways to care and treat this form or mental illness. Thank you Dr. Phil for giving a voice to those of us that care so much.

  18. Chloe Lyons says:

    I agree with you Dr. Phil. I live in Tucson and am deeply shocked and saddened by the tragedy that claimed so many lives and injured so many others. For me, it brought back my own tragedy of 40 years ago in 1971 when my 6 year old son and his 6 year old friend were off school because of a teacher’s workshop. We were new in the neighborhood and so the two little boys found each other and were playing at his house, then came over to my house and got a box of cereal, took it out in the back yard…..and I never saw them again. To make a long story short, the boys were found 3 1/2 days later in shallow graves covered by ferns, my son was strangled, and his friend was stabbed several times.
    At the time, I had to be strong for my husband who didn’t do well at all, and the other little boy’s mother who needed help, so I did not grieve properly, or at all. After 40 years I still cry when I see incidents happen like this in Tucson, or deaths of people I don’t even know and think of my Son almost like it was yesterday. My daughter gives me no support because she didn’t even know her brother, so she can’t provide me any sympathy and just tells me to go get some help. That hurts my feelings very deeply. I just don’t know what to do about this problem because I’ve become so depressed, withdrawn and not the person I used to be now that I retired 9 years ago.
    I feel there has got to be a way I can overcome the desperate grief I feel, because I know my son is in heaven and that I will one day see him and it will be a wonderful day.
    What can I do to help myself Dr. Phil?
    I would dearly love to be of some help to these grieving people here in my town, but being the way I am, I can’t see how that could happen.

  19. deidre says:

    Maybe Im the one who is not understanding. Im very angry at this shooter and what he has done not only to a town, but to a country. Im watching the episode that Dr. Phil has today about this incident. I notice that everyone is now on national television talking about how they saw all these weird things going on with this shooter and some even went so far as to make sure THEY would be safe should this person “come to class with a gun”. What makes me so angry at these people is that this is 2011! Since 2000 even, we have had things like this happen. Not as much as it seems to be going on in the last couple of years, but its always the same thing..folks say how they saw something in a shooter that made them think he/she was crazy or not living in the real world and yet, they said nothing!!

    If folks saw things that didnt look right in someone, why didnt they say something? Why didnt someone make an anonymous call to an authority figure and put it out there? Why because no one wants to get involved until it affects them. As long as it doesnt come into your yard, its none of your business. Its the same thing that went along with spousel and child abuse. No one would say anything until wives and girlfriends and children started dying, now we have all kinds of telephone numbers and email addresses that people can send comments to and report. We need that now! I would not care that my friend, relative, etc. would be angry about being reported to authorities as behaving suspicously, especially if it meant avoiding the tragedy like the one in Arizona. I think if you are going to go on television and make statements about how you made sure your cell phone and purse were on your desk just in case someone got squirrly, and you would be safe and how you didnt think about anyone but yourself, you should be ashamed.

    I will from now on be always on guard about people who act weird. Im not saying Joe Blow who takes his garbage out at 12:01am when everyone else takes theirs out at 8pm, or the neighbor who waters his yard from left to right instead of right to left, in other words mundane things like that. But someone talking about the governement taking away rights of humans and I will add in there those that want Pluto back in the solar system, someone who thinks going without sleep for days makes them some kind of super human hero, AND they have weapons? May sound ridiculous but say something anyway. If you are wrong, MAN up and be accountable. It could have made a difference if that shooter knew that people were looking at him differently and they were telling someone about him. He might have backed off giving folks time to get him some help..if he really needed it. The shooter is not crazy, he was able to get away with it because no one gave a damn until he actually did something.

  20. Haifa says:

    Thinking with a loud voice
    I was very sad about what happened, which I think it keeps happening again and again, what I can say that I have a few suggestions in my mind, which can be not so applicable but it could be a seed of ideas that can be applied if it is taken seriously, because till now I can’t find an explanation to one exact point which is: if his teacher has a great suspension about his mental stability, why there isn’t any one or any legal school organization that she could tell them easily about her suspension then that problem( and the previous shooting stories) could be prevented effectively .
    Let’s imagine a child or a teenage student has any medical problem other than psychic one, then everybody will step up and speak till that child has his medical care, but when it comes to psychic problem every one hesitated only because of one reason: they can’t easily trust their judgment regarding that.
    And that problem can be easily solved by provide an easy accessibility and full authorization for them to refer any suspected psychic or mental student to the psychic clinic.
    I can imagine a several mental health centers that their mission is to establish a good connection between the axes of (teacher –student) and the psychic clinic.
    Even I can think of one screening visit, for specific grade in which the most of mental or psychic, or personality disorder can be picked up.
    I know this is can cost a lot of money and a great will to be done, but my thinking is: as for the strong will, you have it, as for the coast this is can be managed if the university psychiatric hospitals agree to let their training doctors do the screening tests as a part of their graduation requirement.
    Hope everybody is thinking the same, because the problem is not only with the easy access to weapons but with the difficult access to reach these dangerous individuals.

  21. Karen Kincaid says:

    My prayers go out to the family members of these people that we’re killed. We had some what of a similar situation here in Lakewood NJ. An officer doing his job was on a routine call when a suspect was pulled over. Having a normal conversation the young man stepped back and just decided to shoot the officer in the head 3 times killing him. This has affected everyone in the area not to mention all the police departments. This young man has warrants out for his arrest for guns and a rap sheet as long as your arm, yet he was walking the streets? The question is …… WHY? How is it we can let ppl like this go with a past of violence? Do parents really think children grow out of this? We’re willing to go to war in other countries to try to help ( as they say ) but yet when it comes to our own who need the mental and physical help we sweep them under the rug until tragedy strikes? We’re laying off hospital workers because of budget cuts, counseling can go up to $200.00 an hour out of reach of cost to the average Joe. but we wait to see if things get better with what the government is doing and leave it to the next guy instead of taking a stand on what’s right and what’s wrong in this world.

    By no means am i a female version of Dr Phil, Just voicing out loud what everyone has been thinking for the past ump teen years!!

  22. Cheryl says:

    I know so many people say why didn’t someone get help for this man before it came to this, did no one see what was going on, why didn’t he get help, etc. i have been struggling for 8 years trying to get help for my son. I fear he is headed down the same road, and all i get is runaround from the psychiatrist, psychologist, school therapist, etc. everyone wants to pass the buck, everyone wants to shy away from diagnosis, because, what if they are wrong? i don’t care!!!! My son needs to be treated in a residential/long term facility, not just he allowed 3 day stay at the local hospitals emergency psychiatric facility. But, we do not have the economic advantages of some families, we are a single income family home that relies on military insurance to fund care. Even with my son’s documented problems, we were told there is a 6-9 month wait to see any doctors in our area, and then what does that mean for his current medications?: Does no one care that he is failing out of school, looks like he may end up in the Juvenile system due to behavioral issues? I am desperate to find him help but all we get is . . . oh you can’t do that unless you pay out of pocket. We have no pockets! so now what? Don’t be so quick to pass judgment on friends and family. they may be doing all they possibly can. Do you have an extra 8 thousand sitting around per month to pay for a residential treatment center? i know i don’t. But God, do i wish we did.

  23. Jane says:

    Agree with Leevi. This right to bear arms in the USA has done nothing positive for your society. Australia had a string of gun massacres and we got the gun laws under control, without feeling any loss of personal freedoms. Maybe you should follow suit. :)

  24. J. Matus says:

    I’m tired of hearing people saying we need more gun laws every time someone gets injured or killed. The moron on your show the other day, Ms. Bloom said, ” Other countries like China and Japan don’t have these problems because they won’t allow anyone to own a gun. How stupid are you to say that. They live in a communistic and socialistic society you idiot. If more citizens were armed when the incident occurred in Arizona, the guy would have been taken down before he could get off another shot. I live in a state where you can carry a gun on the streets and we have very isolated occurrences regarding shootings. Focus your energy on other important issues besides gun control. I speak with people from Australia, England and Canada that tell me, ” don’t let your government take control of your gun rights like they did to our countries because now, we can’t defend ourselves or property any longer. Do you want to depend on law enforcement? I sure as hell don’t. Smarten up people.

  25. M. Hargrave says:

    Last week my husband and I were listening to a discussion on local radio about what, if anything, can be done to keeps tragedies such as this from happening so frequently. My husband has been a law enforcement officer for almost twenty-five years, and he suggested that individuals who wish to purchase semi-automatic weapons should not only have to complete a background check but have a psychological exam. He was required to complete this exam in order to work in law enforcement, our military personnel are required to take this examination, and he feels that those who wish to own these types of weapons should also be held to the same standards. Of course, folks who wish to inflict catastrophic injury upon large groups of people will continue to find ways to satisfy their agenda, but we have to start somewhere.

  26. J. Matus says:

    Most of the laws on the books are meant for the law abiding citizen, not the bad guy so, who gets hurt with new laws? The good guy, while the bad guy buys a gun on a street corner. I was in law enforcement also, and this is how it is. The people that open their big mouths are basically looking for some attention when they speak about gun laws. I have to laugh because there are over 2000 laws already on the books regarding gun control. No one enforces them. Personally, I love guns and carry one wherever I go and would not hesitate to use it in the defense of myself or others.

  27. Cynthia Kennedy says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    I am glad to see a show that tries to look beyond the sensational headlines to take a real hard view of how & why the Arizona mass-shooting can happen. It is a complex social issue that is the responsibility of all, not only that of the parents, who most often become the easiest to target, often unfairly bearing the brunt because we want to find an easy answer that can quickly deflect away what our parts in something unpleasant may be. So often we will swiftly try to find reasons that can put distance between the truly horrendous and ourselves. Too few times do we ever turn and face the pain, in order to look for answers that could ultimately lead to real solutions. These would likely require more of us than what we want to give. Much easier to be superficial & glib, and look for pat answers. By not giving attention & effort to real solutions, we most definitely assure our society of more chaos and heart-ache in the future.

    There may have been issues that showed up when Jared was young, but they were likely subtle & unsettling. If the parents asked doctors for help, their concerns may have minimized or dismissed. As these subtleties persisted & grew, parents get worn down by trying to cope with a situation beyond their abilities, hoping against evidence to the contrary, that perhaps he will outgrow these disturbing idiosyncrasies, and anyway, where do they turn to get the help they need, especially when they were turned away when the problem was more manageable when the boy was younger? I am not saying this is what happened here, but just suggesting that the easiest to target not be the only direction in which we look. Too often society and the authorities latch onto this theory, prematurely jumping to conclusions. Even the college he attended didn’t step up to get him the help they could so clearly see he needed. Nor did the police, when called, take Jared to get help. Often they will say their hands are tied until after someone crosses the line. Well look at just how far over the line this individual went before authorities stood up to put a stop to things. Just look at the pain and chaos it has taken to finally answer his and society’s need for intervention. Why did it take this?

    And then there is the media, who sensationalize the aftermath of such tragedies, but want to accept no responsibility for how their own reporting rhetoric just may possibly be contributing to a toxic social atmosphere, where those who are not firing with all pistons are particularly vulnerable. They will quickly talk about Freedom of Speech, but never truly consider the magnitude of influence that the media bears. Fox News has been constantly & consistently generating ideas that can hardly be called news reporting, in the really responsible, fair-minded manner that broadcasters used to normally follow; and yet they influence the thinking of so many that want to look to justify the lowest level of human thinking. Sara Palin has been given a platform by Fox to abdicate any & all responsibility of how she put a gun-scope target on those people in government she felt should be “targeted”. Of course she could not have envisioned how what she was saying may be taken by someone who is unstable, but I have never seen so much back-peddling & justifications given by anyone as I have on the Fox Network, and the interview of Sara Palin in the aftermath of all that transpired in Arizona. It could have been so refreshing and inspiring to see someone admit that, in retrospect, perhaps they had not handled matters or reporting in the best way. They had not reached for the higher ideals or standards one would expect of those with greater public influence than those of us who do not have such access to the media.

    Finally, there is the matter of easy accessibility of guns. I am not referring to hunting rifles, or the accepted side-arm that the Constitutional Fathers were referring to when they meant that people had a right to protect themselves. This is about the present-day ability of the public to easily amass arms to the level of a private army, the likes of which the Constitutional Fathers never dreamt. If they could have foreseen where what they put into the Constitution would lead to, I am certain this section would have been more carefully worded. It is up to the present-day leaders to correct the current misinterpretation of the INTENT of the Constitution. It only serves the gun manufacturers and criminals to leave this misinterpretation open to its current abuse. The gun lobbyists are an incredibly strong force to be reckoned with, play on our fears & “rights”, and it will take the same cohesive will of society that made changes to our old ways of looking at drinking & driving, in order for this issue to be properly addressed. To do otherwise is to then be willing to accept personal responsibility that you are part of the problem that contributes to the next Jared Loughner.

    The experts that shared in the discussion of this particular show were quite informative, balanced and enlightening. It was pointed out that the level of planning that went into this mass-shooting makes this shooter ultimately responsible for his actions, and rightly so. That he is possibly wired differently than the rest of us does not give him a free pass. He must answer to same laws he so disparaged that the rest of society willingly accepts for the protection of all. To do otherwise, is to re-enforce the anarchy he touted, and society cannot, must not allow this. Thank you, Dr. Phil, for the manner in which you dealt with such a difficult topic. Compassion & understanding is required of us all, but this does not mean we are not held responsible for the consequences of our actions, especially when we seek to deliberately cause chaos & mayhem, no matter what circumstances lay behind the action. Keep digging deeper so we can make informed, thoughtful decisions, and consider the tougher, real solutions as we move forward. It takes a village to raise a child properly, but if this village is itself so dysfunctional, then how effective can it be, and how can parents themselves be expected to be able to withstand & compensate against the influence of such dysfuntionality?

    Gratefully Yours,

  28. Jan says:

    Just think, if the school was able to have him commited to a mental instiution,get him off the streets,from stopping him to kill and wound people,this would of never happened.This is truely a pitty for him not being arrested for his extremly bad and violent behavior in the school and everywhere. They MUST stop selling guns,for they are the root of all evil in this world.My prayers go out to the families of the deceased the wounded.

  29. I taught school for 2 years part time after spending 47k in school loans only to find out it was not for me. What I saw was authority figures, teachers more than likely. I only saw a few do this, but the damage is enough that maybe these kids grow up to be the west side and east side gangs who are stabbing each other on State Street in front of Saks 5th ave, eight years later. I wonder how many of them passed throught the bully teacher’s class. The bully teacher has been there for 20 years, same classroom she started student teaching in all those years ago. She can not hit a kid, that was way against the law. however throwing shoes across the room if a kid was messing with his shoes rather than eyes right on her, was a signal to abuse somone other little kid who would not obey the rules, so she had the other kids one other kid in particular hit the victim over and over again whenever he felt like it or she suggested it to him and telling him she would not tell on him since the girl obviously did something and had it coming. The other students learned fast enough if they wanted the teacher’s attention all they had to do was to hit this kid, or tell on her, or give the teacher any excuse to punish the girl through the fists of someone else. So check out the teachers this az kid had and who set him off cause someone sure let this kid turned monster serial killer right in front of the town.
    In our town we also had a shootint this last weekend, A sex offender pulled out a bb gun and started shooting people in the face. He shot at 2 ucsb students and one got hit in the face and arm and the other in the arm or cheek, and then when the cops challenged this shooter, 30 year old Chris Quinn he shot two of the three of them in the face as well as in the arm and one cop had to have surgery. All three cops fired back, and hit the target and he is in the hospital very sick at the moment. The cop needs surgery as the pellet lodged in his jaw after shattering his molar. I guess the reason I find this story weird is that it did not even make the news outside of our little town. You can see it on http://www.keyt.com in santa barbara. Sometimes I think the motto on the side of the police car should be “call us if it happens again”. They want low crime rates so the parents will send their kids here to school. A private agency was hired by only God knows to do a real survey on how many people had their homes broken into or their bike stolen ( a big business in santa barbara) and it turns out that Isla Vista is very close to leading the nation with burgulary. No wonder with all the powers going around town. Besides having a homeless sex offender from Florida shooting 2 of our police officers in the face and 2 students as well, one has to wonder what it is exactly the police do behind those fortruss walls. Why is this very news worthy story being left out of the news? In an unrelated story, the cops are chasing a car that was stolen right out of the driveway of a neighbor and no one saw a thing. My question is how do we keep our kids safe and how do we make the cops do their job? In santa barbara county there are probably over a dozen missing young ladies, and occasionally a cute guy. Most of them in college. Most fit a profile. most are hidden in the news and never see the light of day again. Again never n any news just the locals Anyway we are all to busy here in santa barbara thinking about a brazen sex offender pulling a gun on 2 guys on a busy day at the shopping center KP

  30. William Mears says:

    An Eye for an Eye and A Tooth for a Tooth
    Doesn’t Get Much Simpler Than That !!!!!

  31. Alice Stephenson says:

    N. B. Think horrible Rosemary Kennedy received a leucotomy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Kennedy as seems more like something that’d have only been used on a violent person when lobotomies performed in the first place. Plus, no longer practiced & medications etc. used instead. Perhaps, there could be medication pump, like insulin, for persons who are violent if not medicated.

    Also, President Barack Obama’s concerns that ongoing partisan political mudslinging inciting general public that I agree with I meant Congress becoming like WWE (aka political wrestling match) that no longer ends when election over & non-stop. For instance, since I said I was an undecided voter in 2008, I get non-stop berating of other party from both parties via email. So I agree with President Barack Obama speech in AZ that everyone needs to calm down. My sincere condolences to all injured in the AZ Tragedy…

  32. Delfa Frank says:

    He wasn’t always like this, from what I’ve learned. People are constantly changing. But no ONE could have predicted his actions, but he planned it. Was he acting creepy? Of course-could he have used help WAY before this-absolutely. Ultimately, there is a just God and he will meet his Maker-and he won’t escape judgement. But what he did is still HORRIBLE!
    And I don’t know how to put this in a positive light-innocent lives were lost, innocent lives injured…to me it was just wrong…I say our U.S. Reps should have better security around them as well as those who attend these public events! Blessing to the Giffords family and prayers for ALL those involved

  33. Dr. Justin says:

    As someone who lives in Tucson I’m shocked by the comments of people like J. Matus. The main issue in this incident, in my opinion, is that someone with every indication of being unstable was still easily able to acquire a glock with an extended clip. As our good sheriff pointed out, a major issue in this country is that there is no health care available for these people unless they hurt someone. So all his friends, teachers, and parents (where are they in all this?) could do was sit idly by as Jared became more and more paranoid and angry. Many will argue that there is no reasonable neuro-psyche (or other exam) which could identify a Jared. Personally, I agree and that’s why I believe that we need to strictly license guns like we do for cars with regular check ups and responsibilities. In Arizona especially it boggles the mind how few requirements there are to owning a gun. We don’t even require the training class for a concealed weapon anymore.

    As for the ludicrous double-think statement by Matus that more guns will make us safer, I’d like to point out that there was at least one other person with a concealed weapon at the rally! He didn’t want to do anything because he didn’t want to be thought of as another shooter himself! So to summarize Matus you: (1) hypothesis that more weapons would be better (2) test the hypothesis by having another person with a gun at the rally not help a thing (3) UPDATE YOUR CONCLUSIONS BASED ON NEW DATA.

    The gall of the Drudges, Becks and Palins of this country to spin this story into their own personal ‘blood libel’ is as insulting as it is hypocritical. How these people are taken seriously or sleep at night I’ll never know.

  34. 7finder.com says:

    Hero aide in Ariz. shooting backs tighter gun laws…

    The 20-year-old intern credited with saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is urging President Obama to support tougher gun laws in response to the deadly Arizona shootings.Daniel Hernandez, the intern who rushed to treat Giffords (D-Ariz.) after …

  35. Dickens says:

    I believe we need to ban high capacity magazines. I believe we need additional screening before able to purchase guns. I believe we all need to apply our best “filters” before we speak, the rhetoric is unconscionable. But mostly I believe we need to pay attention to the people in our lives, we are the only ones who can help when one of our loved ones or friends have a problem. I applaud all of the bloggers who have helped or tried to help a loved one. I only wish Jared had received the help he obviously needed.
    I live in Tucson and my friend’s son was killed in the shooting, this was a senseless, meaningless act of violence by a truly disturbed individual. Nothing we can do or say will bring him back. I only hope his and the others death were not in vain as so many other deaths have been.
    Isn’t it time we try to prevent these horrific events by helping the people who need help?

  36. LindaRH says:

    Dr Phil, I agree with you up to a point. I think the name-calling and personal attacks need to be muzzled, no doubt about it. However, when a sheriff rushes to judgment within hours of an incident and blames unrelated people for the tragedy on the basis of their political rhetoric, there something wrong. Dupnik said emotions ran high in the elections in November, so with that knowledge why didn’t he have any law enforcement on the scene if he was afraid of violence?
    Sorry, but this stinks of COA to me. And it’s a very sorry indictment of those Democrats that jumped on the blame bandwagon.

  37. Blgspc says:

    I feel that reaching out IS the first order of business.

    So, many folks are SPEAKING OUT on this Blog about what it means to worry about going to sleep if you have someone with a DSM IV TR diagnosis living under your roof. It GET’S DANGEROUS! I Know! I have been threatened with assault AND I have been Assaulted, by these people whether they were out of touch OR Not, starting with My Own Mother!
    For ME the debate IS OVER! How many more innocent lives are we willing to sacrifice BEFORE we GET SERIOUS ABOUT NOT allowing folks with a known history’s OF ANY KIND OF SERIOUS VIOLENCE-with or without a fire arm- to make a decisions about PUBLIC SAFETY?!? Essentially, THAT IS what we’re talking about, here!
    IT IS PASSED TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT Forensic Psychiatry! IT IS PASSED TIME TO BE BETTER INFORMERED AS CLINICIANS and it’s passed time to investigate on a case by case basis and formulate, SOMETHING, BEFORE we have to bury more people! We aren’t going to stop every situation, however, we have to START SOMEWHERE!
    I WANT TO SEE US STOP PATHOLOGIZING every single mass execution and mass slaughter!
    My Stance Is: If the violent offender is a sociopath, read him his rights, arrest and book him and let our legal system decide. If he has a history of violent behavior and hurts someone else and continues to do that over a period, I DON’T CARE about placing him in a ‘Day Program’ to re-stabilize him so he can get out and repeat offend! There MAY BE A FINE LINE between the ‘Troubled’, the ‘Chronically Unstable’ and ‘Cold Blooded Killers’ BUT make NO mistake, there IS A Line and talking about this through another Few Massacres IS THE WRONG ANSWER!


    P.S. The ‘Talk’ does need to be scaled back. That WON’T fix this problem, though! For this problem we NEED answers with REAL TEETH in them. Our children are seeing this as common place, now! We need more and better answers! Words Don’t Kill People! People Kill People!

  38. Blgspc says:

    To Linda RH:
    I wanted to also say,’Thank You’ for your comment!!! Even as I WATCHED that horrible news report from Tucson, while seated next to my Dad, my jaw dropped when the SHERIFF began assigning blame to someone OTHER THAN the man holding the GUN! I have NEVER seen a Law Enforcement Official behave that inappropriately in the wake of such a tragedy!

  39. LindaRH says:

    Blgspc, you’re in Hollywood?! Sounds interesting.
    You’re welcome, I had to say something because I didn’t see the initial stone thrown that started the barrage even mentioned by the other posters.
    I’m right there with you, I have never, ever, watched an officer of the law behave so unprofessionally on national television. And then for some of our elected leaders to come out with supporting accusations? Come on, these are lawmakers and we’re supposed to be a nation of laws.
    Granted, Loughner was caught red-handed, there’s no doubt as to his guilt, but assigning complicity to others before an investigation?! And then when those named cried foul and defended themselves against the presumptuous accusations, the ones being uncivil are demanding civility?
    Well, I HAVE been civil, but I certainly won’t be silent.

  40. Blgspc says:

    To LindaRH:
    YES!!! I was in Hollywood with my friend. We went to be part of the Dr. Phil audience, saw two FABULOUS shows!!! My friend and I were the VERY FIRST to arrive at their door and we were seated in the ‘BLEACHER SEATS’- we were EVEN required to wait while some local fill in folks wearing either elaborately ‘ornate’ patterned clothing or BEIGE OR WHITE- clothing they asked us to avoid-were seated. We were seated even FURTHER BACK during the second taping! My friend was wearing an embroidered off white tunic and I was wearing black and power blue. (My friend has a variety of allergies and MAJOR skin problems with dark clothing under bright lights.) We DID enjoy BOTH of the tapings AND rec’d a book after one of the shows. No, doubt someone managing that audience thought we LOOKED HORRIBLE and might even crack their camera lens. LOL!!!

    Back on Topic: It DOES seem TO ME that the liberal media is determined to MAKE this tragedy about conservatives. Though I was TRUELY appreciative of many Congressional Liberals who spoke PUBLICLY saying, ‘While Political Talk often gets hostile, this situation WAS NOT ABOUT Speeches! This incident WAS about Gunning down and killing innocent people.’

  41. Another Title…

    This is another interesting one that I…

  42. vince says:

    too many guns and not enough control. it would make me happy to see a ban on ANY gun in public, people should not be allowed to carry guns period unless there on thear way to the woods to hunt, how many more innocent people must be slaghtered on americas streets b4 some one wakes up? im scared to even walk on the streets of america doc, scared to fly-drive-walk-or crawl, and arizona is most defintely a state i will never visit.

  43. Tracy Henry says:

    Thank You for your article. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families. It is a very scarey thought to know that people are out and among us, who are ill, and can do these horrible things… I believe people should be free to have their opinions and freedom of speech… but when you see bizarre things, and odd things.. for example.. posting things on a facebook page like he did, that sends a chill up your spine… then to me, you kinda have to be looked at by the authorities. If it would be up to me, anyone who says in writing anything about being a terrorist… they should be taken into custody… and examined. You lose your right at that point.. we need to prevent ill, criminal, people from killing and taking innocent people out of this world.. I am dam mad that this happened and that little girl and others are gone because of this ill… person.

  44. vince says:

    memories of 2010-2011, my memorys of the past year and a half, summer of 2010 gulf oil spill, bp burning sea turtles alive killing mammals with no regrets of allowing gods creatures the right to live, arizona! almost starting a civil war in america cause some mexican families were running to america with there kids out of fear of death from drug wars, in the streets, new york! almost starting a rase war with muslems over a victory moss being built at ground 0, flordia! 1 man turned a entire islamic world against all of america,and ALL christians world wide, funny thing a stupid preacher from florida wanted to burn a muslem holy bible!!!!, but know this, he acted alone!!! it wernt me or my idea nor did i go along with that stupidity, now Dr Phil, all i do is pray and ask god every day to please take me off this dam planet, hell if i cant just love people for being people and if i have to not like this person cause there differnt, man i want no life on this planet, doc PEOPLE ARE CRAZEY!!!!!! WORLD WIDE!!!!!!!, i have been here for 53 years, this planet has been at war ALL 53 YEARS I HAVE LIVED, mothers are killing there own children!!!!!!! people are thrown to the streets, cnn anounced late 2010 early 2011 that parents with special needs kids should just drop there special need kids off at homeless shelters!!!!! what has this country became doc? who in there right mind wants to stay? Dr Phil i never asked you for anything scense i have been blogging on ur sites and i have been with you from day one of your first site at dr phil.com doc please when you go to church next sunday ask ur pastor to add me to yalls prayer list and ask god to please get me the hell off this planet!!! i do not want to be here Dr Phil, god aint listening to me atm sir, i think hes mad at me for my kick starting a monkey from a pic joke i made, doc i honestly do not like this life i am forced to live,on this planet sir, too much hate-death-ricesim-greed-homelessness, i ask only this one thing from you Dr Phil, life just aint worth living with out love for ALL. and to love all no one will allow, yeah i want out, please ask god to help me get out, just one prayer is all i ask.

  45. There is one Arizona issue that has not received much mainstream press. It is the sweat lodge deaths from 2010, and how James Arthur Ray was able to shame the participants into staying in the lodge when they were overheated and needed to get out. Another component of this issue is Mr. Ray’s misappropriation of Native American ceremony. He is clearly non-Native and has not been trained in conducting this ceremony. That in itself is an insult to Native people. But conducting such a ceremony as an untrained person solely for financial gain is unconscionable, and dangerous as we have seen. I would like to see this issue on the show. I have never seen a Native American issue on your show or Oprah, which is sad. Native Americans continue to be the silent minority. Please do something to change this if only in a minor way.

  46. vince says:

    By HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press – Fri Mar 4, 6:44 pm ET
    JACKSON, Miss. – A 15-year-old boy was beaten and branded with hot metal after a confrontation with a 12-year-old girl at a party in Mississippi where teens had been drinking, authorities said Friday.
    Five people are charged in the case, including the 12-year-old girl.
    Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said Denise Randall, 46, was hosting the party in the east-central Mississippi community of Meridian last weekend when the victim bumped into the girl. Someone then called the girl’s 15-year-old boyfriend.
    Sollie said the boyfriend arrived and held the victim, who was not identified, at gunpoint while he was beaten and branded with hot metal. The sheriff said the teen was branded in more than one place on his body with a piece of hot metal shaped like a letter of the alphabet. He would not say what letter it was or release any other details about the branding because of the ongoing investigation./ wow Dr Phil i can not find anything good to post about those kids or there parents, thank God for jails, we need to build more and use them.

  47. Redbud says:

    On Charlie Sheen – I think Charlie thinks he is the guy he plays on 2 1/2 Men, Charlie Harper? The tv show actors role is so much as to what he is doing in his real life? Doesn’t anyone see that?

    I wondered if the last shows or any shows in the last year if he was high or drinking while on set? No one has said or complained he was too tuned in to perform or not? Was he able to work normally? And second is is Charlie bi-polar or not? If he is that sure would explain most of it. No one ever confirmed if Brittany Spears was bi-polar when she ran a rant. If she was that would have explained her actions. People in the manic state are like a different person all together.

  48. Maria says:

    I live in Sweden and I am so surprised about your laws about having guns. We are more restricted in Sweden about carring around guns. I think whitout everyother person having guns there will be less shooting.

    “But here’s the problem: There are thousands of people who behave this way, who write these things, but they don’t actually commit an act of violence. So, talking about guns on a Facebook page is not predictive of who will do something violent.”
    I thing exactly that. But I am sorry to say if “the wrong ” persons use it you will have more violence. It is as simple as that.

  49. Maria says:

    To Matus
    I live in Sweden with restricted gun control and it is Not in a communistic and socialistic society. And we have less killing. And I have visited USA many times so I know the diffrences.

  50. Denise A. says:

    Hello- everyone !!

    I live in Arizona, what don’t understand anytime there are public fiqures in a polictial enviroment. What happened that we did not take precautions when it came to Security, Why are there not any type of weapons point check area, are you kidding?! there everywhere when comes to Airports, Courts, Schools, Banks, and Federal buildings. What the heck, what happen here? was anybody thinking? This could have been prevented

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