This year started early on with a tragic and sad shooting rampage of Jared Loughner at Congresswoman Gifford’s gathering in Tucson, Arizona killing 6 people and seriously injuring the Congresswoman and others. Just as tragic in another sense is what happened right afterwards in the media. Some in the Liberal media immediately jumped into the issue with critical emotional based assumptions blaming Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Conservative talk radio and Fox News for the killings. There was no taking time to wait for the facts. No time to take time to reflect on the pain of the victims’ families. Just emotional blame in hopes to score points against Conservatives.
As I was watching reports on Fox News I thought how all the reactions showed the need for critical thinking. Critical thinking doesn’t react. Critical thinkers wait for the facts to become clear. It is not based on emotional snap assumptions that are based in hating another group of people. That is all I saw in the reports from the Left. Critical thinking also looks at what can be learned for improving our life even through tragedies. The liberal media by blaming Conservative’s speech totally were missing the main issues in the situation. Even the President, although his speech was lauded as positive at the Memorial service still did not get it. He still emphasized that civil discourse was needed but that was not the issue in this case.
The critical thinkers in reporting on this were Fox News reporters, who were zeroing in on the shooter as being responsible. Also I had a chance to listen to hear Rush Limbaugh, who I sometimes have the opportunity to listen to on my lunch hour. He rightly was making people think through the facts that it went back to responsibility of the shooter Jared Loughner. One thing I like about Rush Limbaugh is he forces his listeners to think and even tells them to critically think through the issues. Charles Kraughthammer, who reading his columns is a great way to grow in your critical thinking skills as he presents logical and rational arguments spoke concisely to the issue of the madness of Jared was behind the killing. He pointed out that there was no evidence or facts to show the shooter even listened to Sara or Rush.
One critical thinker who I feel came closest to what we need to learn from this was Lou Dobbs. I heard him on Bill O’Reilly’s show, ( yes you have deduced correctly I am a FOX listener). He was making the connection of Jared’s drug use and his mental health decline as being a causative factor. He was still rightly putting the blame on Jared’s choices but I sensed a real caring attitude of what could have been done to help the young man before this. Lou’s point has hardly been mentioned in the news. The facts that have been presented from high school girlfriends and others who knew him that he was somewhat normal in high school but the big change began after his stronger use of Marijuana and psychedelic mushroom drugs. This may have been a major factor in what seems to be his personality change to a paranoid schizophrenic. I of course can’t say for sure but we know drugs have a negative effect on people. That is why I am so against them.
We could reduce many of these senseless killings and tragedies in life if people could learn to enjoy natural highs and stay away from drug use. I have mentioned this in the past and will continue to say it. If you have not looked at the website www.naturalhigh.org check it out today. Share this website with teachers you know as changing the lives of school kids is one of their main focuses.
S. E. Cupp in a recent column brought up also valid critical thinking ways to look at this tragic case. She didn’t emotionally point fingers. Instead she reflected and brought up valid points that I had not thought of but I do believe are very valid. Could the violence and narcissism of reality tv and Hollywood be encouraging these events in the minds of fragile people on the edge in their mental illness.
To me the main issue that has not been brought up because people do not want to deal with it is mental health. From all descriptions, Jared seemed like an average kid in his high school days. There are pictures of him playing in a jazz band and girlfriends said he was a quiet person and nice even though there were signs of anger issues, but nothing major. The problems seems to begin near the end of high school and the beginning of college as he began using and abusing drugs. That is where I feel Lou Dobbs was right on point. The college gave him a number of chances but a learning point could be how to better intervene in situations like this. Earlier when his problems started to surface if someone would have offered some mental health counseling could the tragedy had been averted?
Some people come across acting like he was crazy all his life and there was nothing anyone could have done. Or once someone starts spiraling down there is nothing can be done to help them. Positive Psychology shows that if we can spiral down we can spiral upwards as well. Since Jared is still alive I hope although the news has brushed the story under the rug, there will be practical learning for the good of society from this tragic event.
How is your critical thinking? Are you a reactor or do you take time to reflect? Are you an assumer or do you look for the facts? Take some time to reflect over some recent problems that have come into your life and examine what your thinking patterns were like. How can you improve your thinking to be a better problem solver?