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Words for Victims of Shooting in Arizona: Obama's Appeal for Idealism

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President Barack Obama's speech or eulogy at a memorial rally in Arizona may be just what the people of this country needed to have closure on the tragedy. Presumably, those who lost loved ones in the assassination attempt of Gabrielle Giffords by Jared Lee Loughner were pleased to see Obama take some time to remember the fallen and appeal to Americans to reflect on this country so that as a society America can grow stronger.

 

A core part of his appeal or loose call to action can be found in this section of his speech:

 

""we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future.

 

"But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

 

The idealism of that section is an idealism that in this moment of tragedy Americans who were struck by this tragedy likely yearned to hear, but such idealism requires definition. A public must see policies and defined wisdom or analysis of society in order for such idealism to have any currency.

 

It's true that "none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack." The people of America may never know, especially if Loughner is so mentally unstable now that he turns into someone who engages in great theatrics because he wishes to use the moment that he is "famous" to craft some sort of persona.

 

The evidence that Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck or any other right wing personality influenced the shooter, up to this point, is largely circumstantial or contextual. It's not clear that the mind of this shooter targeted had what could be labeled "right wing views." However, it is evident that classmates like Steven Cates, who appeared on Democracy Now! were leery of Loughner. They had seen Loughner lash out at other students and once compared a student who wrote a poem about abortion whom Loughner compared to a terrorist.

 

Also, to students like Cates, Loughner seemed to be very cynical and disturbed by politics in America. As Cates described on Democracy Now!, "Once, when I had seen him outside of class sitting at a picnic table on campus, I had ended up talking to him, and he was talking about how he was upset that the U.S. government had made the U.S. dollar virtually useless by doing away with the gold standard, and he had a desire for a new currency that actually had value. But other than that, he was pretty disinterested in politics, especially with current affair politics. I had even at one point tried to goad him into a political debate, and he was just not interested in talking about politics or current politicians."

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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