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A Safeway in Arizona: What the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Tells Us about the Grand Canyon State and Life in Americaby Tom Zoellner
Synopses & Reviews
A riveting account of the state of Arizona, seen through the lens of the Tucson shootings
On January 8, 2011, twenty-two-year-old Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a Tucson meet-and-greet held by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The incident left six people dead and eighteen injured, including Giffords, whom he shot in the head.
Award-winning author and fifth generation Arizonan Tom Zoellner, a longtime friend of Giffords's and a field organizer on her Congressional campaign, uses the tragedy as a jumping-off point to expose the fault lines in Arizona's political and socioeconomic landscape that allowed this to happen: the harmful political rhetoric, the inept state government, the lingering effects of the housing market's boom and bust, the proliferation and accessibility of guns, the lack of established communities, and the hysteria surrounding issues of race and immigration. Zoellner's account includes interviews with those directly involved and effected, including Arizona's controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Zoellner offers a revealing portrait of the Southwestern state at a critical moment in history- and as a symbol of the nation's discontents and uncertainties. Ultimately, it is his rallying cry for a saner, more civil way of life
"Writer and fifth-generation Arizonan Zoellner (Uranium) seeks 'to make sense of a fundamentally baffling event' in this rambling examination of the January 8, 2011, shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Jared Lee Loughner — 22 years old, unemployed, and 'obviously deranged' — killed six people and wounded 13, including Giffords, when he opened fire at a political meet and greet at a Tucson Safeway. Concluding that events 'never happen in a vacuum,' the author searches for clues to the tragedy in the context in which the shooting took place. He finds his answers in the dysfunctional social and political culture of Arizona — its isolation, misplaced paranoia about immigration, gun laws, the 'withering' of its mental health care system, absent leadership, and the partisan nastiness of politics and talk radio. Even while conceding that there is only one responsible party for the tragedy and that he is 'gravely mentally ill,' Zoellner concludes that 'Loughner's feelings of existential helplessness were a distorted amplification of what surrounded him that year in Arizona.' Zoellner, a personal friend of Giffords, admits that this is 'not a work of objective journalism,' and his subjective rendering of Arizona proves problematic, as is his effort to connect the dots between cause and effect." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tom Zoellner is the author of Uranium:War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World, winner of the 2010 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit and Desire, and co-author of An Ordinary Man. He has worked as a reporter for The Arizona Republic and San Francisco Chronicle.
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History and Social Science » Americana » Arizona