Profiling killer wrong way to react to tragedy

Books, music and Internet posts — all of these are subject to scrutiny by the media.

Some of the things you possess may be considered a bad influence or may be considered a danger to our citizenry.

You may own “Conservative’s Handbook” or even “Mein Kampf.” If you intend to or have already read and own a book of this breed, you may want to err on the side of caution.

If it came down to it, you could be classified as a cold- blooded killer.

Let us delve further into other aspects of your life.

Angry music or violent video games? They could be seen as bad influences. If you posted a picture or coupling of words on the Internet that can be deemed unseemly, it can paint you in an unfavorable light.

Would your possessions and actions survive the scrutiny of the media? Jared Lee Loughner’s didn’t.

The idea that every action that has come to pass, whether performed intentionally or unintentionally, can be analyzed by the media and used against you is a frightening thought.

To no one’s surprise, news outlets have been steadfast in their research of Loughner, the suspect in the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting.

While there is no denying that his actions were tragic, there is no evidence that his collection of books and music albums had everything to do with his rampage.

Rather than commemorating those lost, those wounded and those who were of service at the scene, headlines are buzzing about Loughner’s austere YouTube channel and his behavioral problems.

In a Jan. 9 The Washington Post article, much was discussed regarding Loughner’s personal life. The article jumped from his unusual Internet activity and videos on Youtube to his “personable” nature, as stated by Timothy Cheves, a peer of Loughner’s.

Reports by several outlets theorized that Loughner had lucid dreams, which can be correlated with mental handicaps. A headline on Slate.com read, “Do crazy people have crazy dreams?”

Let us review what we know to be true. Loughner was wrong in killing those innocent lives, but he hasn’t spoken to public officials, which means, in retrospect, we have no clue why he did what he did.

We can hypothesize, and the media can cloud America’s thoughts with details of the suspect’s life — but we have no idea whether it was his interest in the “Communist Manifesto” or his talent with the saxophone that caused him to take innocent lives.

But President Barack Obama hit the nail on the head in his memorial speech on Jan. 12 in Tucson.

“You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations,” he said.

In addressing this issue, Obama highlighted what was really important.

“At a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” the president said.

It would behoove us to look at the facts and not point fingers. This is how we should react to such a tragedy — in a way that is healing and unifying.

Reach Brittany at bemorri1@asu.edu