Aleksandra Dukovska
Jared Lee Loughner with his enigmatic and somewhat of Mona Lisa smile hide the key answer to the motives he had to committed the crime and used the gun in Tucson to shoot at Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
Did he shoot at the idea for “Congress on your corner”? Did he wanted to send a message to the government?
Did he deliberately shoot at the member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords, killed and wounded other officials and civilians? Did “not-guilty” plea is another sign of alleged health problem issues he has or of the more serous motives he had behind when he decided to pull the gun?
Could Jared Lee Loughner be perceived as “homegrown terrorist”?
The USA President Barak Obama toned down the discussion of the possible motives of Jared Lee Loughner and FBI didn’t charged him with terrorism. Despite the general public opinion that he is inane, I would like to consider the possibility he committed the crime to shoot and wound the American values in the society.
It was political commentator Keith Olbermann who first named Jared Lee Loughner as “alleged terrorist” in the special commentary he gave in his “Countdown” TV show on MSNBC in the aftermath of Tucson shootings on January 8.
‘Even if the alleged terrorist Jared Lee Loughner was merely shooting into a political crowd, even if he somehow was unaware who was in the crowd, we have nevertheless for years been building up to a moment like this’, said Olbermann in MSNBC “Countdown” TV Show, and asked for a change in the country political rhetoric to ‘prevent acts of domestic terrorism.’
Olbermann’s background is politically biased and his opinion to fingered the culprit towards the intolerant right-wing politicians was the strongest language used by the media after the rampage in Tucson. While it was easy for Olbermann to named Loughner as “alleged terrorist” and blamed the politics for shooting in Tucson, inside the political spectrum the answer of the question was the shooting in Tucson an act of terrorism is not easy to find.
Two days after the shooting happened Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred the violence in Tucson as extremism. She urged for a better cooperation against violence and pointed out that America is facing extremists on the ground. Following the news, ABC’s House correspondent Jake Tapper wrote that the label ‘extremist’ in that context suggested a political motivation.”
If we compare two words “extremist” and “terrorist” we will find that the common ground for both of them is political motivation. Although State Secretary Clinton spoke and used the term “extremism, President Barak Obama toned down with his speech at University of Arizona memorial event ‘Together we thrive: Tucson and America’ for the victims of Tucson shooting.
“President Obama and officials in the law enforcement community have been more circumspect in their public remarks, suggesting it is to early to ascribe motive, wrote Tapper.  However, Daniel L. Byman a professor in the Security Studies Program of Georgetown University noted in Washington Post commentary that, “Some government officials, however, at least raise the issue of shooting” as a terrorist act.
The voice of State Secretary Hillary Clinton was not the only one in the political spectrum. In her State of the State speech delivered on January 10, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer stated “tragedy and terror sometimes come from the shadows-and steel joy and take away our peace.”
Later, the calming tone prevailed in the following statements of Governor Brewer for Tucson rampage. Representative Jesse L.Jackson Jr. in his column concluded “from the shooting of Lincoln to the events in Tucson, there is a thread that liberals and conservatives have ignored.” He advocates that each event carried out by “antigovernment activists should be considered as terror.”
Despite the voices of officials that appealed on labeling and naming of the Tucson shooting as political motivated act, the public debate moved in the direction how to have better mental health and towards pro or anti gun rhetoric.
Joshua Sanders, who writes on www.statesman.com blog on faith in the American society, opened the question about religion and terrorism. ‘I’ve been more interested in the lack of discussion of Loughner’s actions as evidence of domestic terrorism,’ wrote
Sanders in her blog named “Domestic terrorism and religion” from January 19.
In her writing, Sanders is skeptical and concludes that if Jared Lee Loughner were Muslim, the first phrase to ‘bubble up to the surface would have been domestic terrorism, defined by the U.S. Patriotic act.
However, the federal grand jury in Tucson didn’t mentioned domestic terrorism and charged Loughner with the ‘attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the attempted murders of her aides Ron Barber and Pam Simon.
Is this a good decision? Why in the public and among the political spectrum prevailed the moderate language, rather than charging Loughner for ‘domestic terrorism’? What we can conclude if we use the terms “extremism” and “terror” to describe the “lonely wolf” attack in Tucson?
Security expert Daniel Byman gave the answer in his column in the Washington Post after the shooting in Tucson. He advise that the overuse of the ‘terrorism’ label is even more dangerous because while foreign terrorists unite Americans in defiance, political violence at home can divide us.
Byman wrote on pro and anti gun voices who want to spin up Loughner alleged deeds and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has accused her political opponents of manufacturing a ‘blood libel.’
He concludes that in a such climate, saying that Loughner is a terrorist implies the pro-gun side is no-simply wrong, but moreover it is ‘a threat to the security of the United States’.
“Americans are mystified and mourning after the shooting in Tucson. There is no good way to explain why Loughner allegedly did what he did. However, there is the way to categorize it: Tragedy in Tucson-not terror, wrote Byman in Washington Post column “Was is it tragedy in Tucson? Or Terror?
If we consult the FBI memo in search to define “homegrown terrorism” and apply to Loughner case we will see that one dot is missing. According the FBI memo domestic terrorism is unlawful use of violence committed by a group of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Under the USA Patriot Act, domestic terrorism are acts that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, appear to intimidate a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government, to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnaping and geographically are located in the USA.