An overwhelming amount of information has hit the media about Jared Loughner over the last week—and possibly the most significant release involves a series of posts Loughner left on a site for the online game Earth Empires. There, he discussed a wild array of topics, from the ethics of rape to an astonishing list of job applications he turned in with no success (although I'm not sure he was barking up the right tree by applying at J.Jill).
Unfortunately, it didn't take long for Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania to go on CNN and reach for the old trope of citing music and video games as negative influences on how people handle anger.
The Earth Empires crowd seemed to be more accepting than most in terms of trying to engage Loughner as part of a community. While it might seem a little strange to some, it's true that online gaming cultures can offer some people a base of friends that the real world can't provide. But here, Loughner barely latched on with his online peers—likely for the same reasons that he had trouble maintaining friendships everywhere else, too.
It's not the video games Loughner played that caused him to go off. In fact, when Loughner discussed his anger online, many game-community members provided suggestions on how to diffuse it. He just didn't connect with what the rest of us consider reality.
It's yet another example of how trying to find something—outside of Jared Loughner's mental health—to blame isn't helping anything.
THE WEEK ON THE RANGE
The Range continued to focus on the aftermath of the Saturday, Jan. 8, massacre that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who miraculously survived a gunshot to the head.
We brought you updates from University Medical Center press conferences; shared new details as they emerged about Jared Lee Loughner (including the highly disturbing video that got him kicked out of Pima Community College); and posted a timeline of Loughner's activities in the hours before his rampage, courtesy of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
We shared photos and reaction from President Barack Obama's speech at McKale Center; linked to stories and analysis from around the world; and cheered Jon Stewart's The Daily Show teardown of pundits who criticized the Tucson crowd at the presidential address.
We brought you images from Giffords' hospital bed showing her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, holding the stricken congresswoman's hand; photos of Giffords' staff members recovering at UMC; and snapshots from the shrines and memorials around town. We told you how you could contribute to memorial funds for the victims; and urged you to give the Community Food Bank and the Red Cross of Southern Arizona in Giffords' name.
Finally, because life goes on, on Friday, Jan. 14, we resumed posting some items on The Range that had nothing to do with the tragedy, including the latest in Adam Borowitz's "Food Truck Diaries" series.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"... Then I found Tucson. And for the first time in almost a half-century of existence, I also found a sense of community. ... I love the fact that I can get on a city bus and hear three different languages spoken. It's probably one of the few places left in this country where a grocery-store clerk and a planetary scientist can have differing political views, and still remain friends. ... I'm unwilling to give up what I've found."
—TucsonWeekly.com member LouisWu, on why he still loves Tucson ("Shooting Puts Tucson Officially on the Map ... ," The Range, Jan. 14).
BEST OF WWW
From the morning of Jan. 8 through Thursday, Jan. 13, The Range exclusively included shooting-related coverage. On Friday, Jan. 14, we started returning to normalcy by working our usual food coverage, political news, entertainment updates and bits of whimsy back into our daily dispatch.
In that spirit, this week, we have two online videos that reflect the culture in Tucson.
Tracy Shedd seems like one of those performers you'd expect to live somewhere a bit bigger than Tucson—she has two albums out on super-hip Teenbeat Records, after all—but we're glad she's here, and we recorded one of her songs from a recent performance for Tucson Weekly TV.
We also visited Etherton Gallery to check out some of the artwork in Flesh, Bone, Spirit, which Margaret Regan writes about in this week's Visual Arts section. It's a powerful exhibition, a fact which we captured on video.