The attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords is more important than the links I had planned to post in this weekend’s open thread. At least six people were killed and a dozen more wounded by a 22-year-old gunman who is now in custody. He fired many shots at close range while Giffords was holding a “Congress on your corner” event at a Tucson grocery store. Giffords made it through surgery and responded to some of the doctors’ commands. The dead include a nine-year-old girl, Congressional staffer Gabe Zimmerman, and U.S. District Court Judge John Roll. Law enforcement are searching for a second suspect who was not a shooter.
[Pima County Sheriff Clarence] Dupnik declined to provide more information on the second individual who he would only describe as “white” and “in his 50s.” Authorities have photographs of the person of interest and are “actively pursuing him,” the sheriff said.
The congresswoman was the clear focus of the gunman’s assault, Dupnik said.
“He ran through the crowd and when he got to [Giffords] he just started shooting,” the sheriff said.
“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately Arizona I think is the capital. We are the Mecca for prejudice for prejudice and bigotry,” he said.
Dupnik said authorities are also investigating a suspicious package at one of Giffords’ field offices in Tucson.
Many more links on today’s attack are here. House Republican leaders are postponing all legislation scheduled for the coming week.
I’m sure the Bleeding Heartland community joins me in sending out healing thoughts or prayers for the bereaved and injured.
This is an open thread.
UPDATE: After the jump I’ve posted the names of all those killed in Saturday’s attack.
SECOND UPDATE: Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey’s take on the suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, is worth reading. Some excerpts are after the jump.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Office has released the identities of the six people killed in this morning’s tragic shooting.
-John Roll, 63, a federal district court judge.
-Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, Giffords’ director of community outreach
-Dorwin Stoddard, 76, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ.
-Christina Greene, 9, a student at Mesa Verde Elementary
-Dorthy Murray, 76
-Phyllis Scheck, 79
Quite early in the news cycle, the media more or less diagnosed Jared Loughner as paranoid schizophrenic. Do you think that’s accurate?
He’s a textbook case. Most psychiatrists will tell you they need to examine a patient before diagnosing him, but this guy has all of the symptoms. He has the right age of onset. He has a deteriorating social course, as they say in the [DSM], social and occupational dysfunction. He has delusions, and they’re pretty strange. It’s common for schizophrenics to think people are trying to control their mind, but thinking the government is trying to control your grammar — I’ve never heard that before. The real tip-off is the markedly disorganized speech, which you see in the rambling videos. This is the kind of disorganized speech that you virtually never get in any other condition. It’s what we call pathognomonic of schizophrenia. That is, when you hear that symptom, it’s “schizophrenia until proven otherwise.” He’s also got the affective flattening of emotion, which you see in that mug shot. […]
We have a strong correlation in our minds between schizophrenia and dangerous behavior. What is the real connection between this mental illness and violence?
There is a very small number of people with schizophrenia who are, indeed, dangerous and do things like this. It’s very important to emphasize that the vast majority of people with this disease are not dangerous, and there are certain predictors in terms of who will be dangerous. Past history of violence, substance abuse, both of which are predictors for non-schizophrenics, too. But I’ve followed schizophrenia for 30 years, and I have never seen one of these high-profile homicides where the fellow hasn’t been off his medication when he did it. Being off medication is a clear risk factor for people who have a past history.
Then there are certain kinds of symptoms as well. Thinking people are controlling your mind will increase the risk of violence, also having what we call command hallucinations, so that you’re hearing voices that tell you to do things. […]
We’ve heard a lot of debate about how heated political rhetoric might have led to this. What do you think about that?
I think it’s a red herring. We have seen these kinds of things in periods with relative peace in the political environment, we’ve seen it in turbulent times. I think it’s unrelated, frankly.
The only reason we’re talking about this today is that he killed six people rather than one person and that one of the people he shot is a congresswoman. These are not uncommon events. People like this man, with likely untreated schizophrenia, are responsible for about 10 percent of the homicides in the United States. That means about 1,600 homicides a year.