Unusual behavior for me, but I found myself this weekend constantly checking the web for updates on Congresswoman Giffords. I would hold my breath, brace for the worst, pray for her recovery. Brain swelling and infection continue to be significant risk factors, but the latest report is that she is breathing on her own, and the fact that she's able to respond to auditory input and move her extremities is huge. I grieve for those who lost their lives, along with the rest of the nation, hoping this incident can remind us of the humanity that unites us and deserves respecting despite our political differences.
The smiling mugshot of Jared Loughner, meanwhile, has I'm sure sent chills down people's spine. The picture, and the reports of his increasingly erratic behavior over the past year, convince me that mental illness played a critical factor. It infuriates me both that states do not make it a priority to update the National Instant Criminal Background Check database with records of mental illness, and that Loughner did not receive the care he needed in time to prevent this tragedy. With so many people aware of the problem, including his friends and his teachers, diffusion of responsibility still won out and Loughner was left to manage for himself.
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