Giffords Friend Tom Zoellner Releases Book A Safeway in Arizona
Zoellner will appear at Tempe's Changing Hands Bookstore on Monday, January 9, to speak about and sign A Safeway in Arizona (Viking Adult, $26.95), which came out in hardcover on Thursday, December 29.
In 11 chapters and 263 pages, Zoellner ably recounts the documented events of that horrible morning and then moves on to some relatable confessions about his own outsider adolescence in the desert suburbs, his friendship with Giffords and her family, and his acknowledged subjective (but exhaustively fact-based) perceptions about such special Arizona circumstances as sprawl, land booms, gun worship, urban isolation, and sketchy support of public mental healthcare. As the youngest of the contiguous states, about to celebrate its centennial, we remain a young society, packed with recent arrivals with short memories as well as opportunists eager to start over and milk our growth for what they can in the short term.
|Ida Astute/ABC News|
|Gabrielle Giffords in a November interview. Giffords, whose own book with husband Mark Kelly dropped in November 2011, has until May to decide whether to run for re-election to her seat in Congress.|
As most people who are assaulted and killed by others are the victims of people they know, it's natural and tempting to think that, when a friend or loved one is the victim of a stranger, the whole incident could have been prevented somehow.
In reality, Loughner's pathology would likely have eventually led him to harm someone else if he hadn't made it to Congress on Your Corner last winter. Better gun laws might have merely decreased his total. And, even though Arizona desperately needs better mental health services in general, we should probably think twice before implementing Minority Report-style profiling to discover which contentedly psychotic people are a potential danger to others.
Overall, A Safeway in Arizona's exploration of its issues is appealingly candid and thought-provoking, and Zoellner's perspective on this state and what we've made of it, as well as Giffords' enviable relationship with most of her constituents, constitutes a gripping story that presents a side of the whole mess you're not likely to find elsewhere.
Stay tuned for a Q&A with Zoellner tomorrow.