I already commented on the Tucson shooting in a previous blog, but the continuing coverage of this tragedy, especially the language often used to describe the shooter, has given me food for additional thought, and comment.
In our efforts to learn something of value from the recent Tucson tragedy, (and possible help change the angry rhetoric, bullying & public flogging that seems to rule today’s world), perhaps we/media could start by not continually referring to the 22-year-old shooter responsible for this horrific act using such stereotypical words as nutcase, weirdo, crazy and lunatic. These harsh, ugly and outdated words do a grave disservice to millions of people who face tough mental health challenges daily without the resources required to help them or their families, many of whom will never commit an act of violence.
Jared Loughner is clearly a troubled young man who has committed an unspeakable, horrific act, after leaving far too many warnings in his troubled path. His life story is tragic, too. If we are to be a better people, we need to recognize that fact, too, and choose our words more carefully.
Good Resource: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) here.