Jared Loughner's Tucson Shooting an "Isolated Act," but Newtown May Not Be, Survey Says

Jared Loughner
According to the court of public opinion, last week's shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school isn't viewed as an "isolated act," unlike the shootings carried out by Jared Loughner and James Holmes.

Although the public's just about split on the issue, a Pew Research Center survey shows more people think the Newtown shooting "reflect[s] broader problems in society."

See also:
-Since Jared Loughner's Tucson Massacre, Six U.S. Shootings Have Been Deadlier

About 47 percent of the people polled thought the Newtown shooting reflects a problem in society, whereas 58 percent said Loughner -- who opened fire outside a Tucson Safeway almost two years ago, killing six people, and injuring 13, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- is more of an "isolated act" involving a troubled individual.

As we noted after the Newtown shooting last week, since Loughner's shooting rampage in Tucson, there have now been six mass shootings in the United States that were more deadly than Loughner's.

As for Holmes -- who's accused of killing 12 people, and injuring 59, when he opened fire inside a movie theater about 30 minutes into the film, The Dark Knight Rises on July 20 -- 67 percent of people think he falls into the madman category.

The other shooting compared in this survey was the one carried out in 2007 on the campus of Virginia Tech University. Forty-seven percent called it an isolated act, while 46 percent said it reflects broader problems in society.

Considering the amount of gun-control talk there's been in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, these public-opinion results seem plausible.

Pew also polled people on different comparisons between the shootings. Check out some of the highlights in the bullet points below:

  • "Democrats, by 54% to 39%, say the shootings reflect broader societal problems. Republicans are divided, with 49% saying such incidents are the acts of troubled individuals, while 45% say they reflect broader problems."

  • "People who have followed news about the shootings very closely are more likely than those who have not to say that they represent broader problems in society (51% vs. 40%)."

  • "News interest in the Newtown shooting is higher than for other recent gun tragedies, including shootings in Aurora, Colo. (41% very closely), Tucson, Ariz. (49% very closely), and Virginia Tech (45% very closely)."

  • "College graduates (54%) are more likely than those with no more than a high school education (42%) to say that the massacre reflects broader societal problems."

All of the information released by Pew can be found here.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

I fail to see Pew's point. It's splitting hairs at best because Laughner, Holmes and Lanza were all mentally disturbed individuals. Anyone who came in contact with any of them could tell that they were distant, anti-social and just looked like they were nuts. Yes, it doesn't that a PhD in Psychology or an MD board certified in psychiatry to sense that each one of them was crazy as the day is long. Loughner's shaved head and his odd facial expressions, Holmes' orange hair and Lanza's social awkwardness was easy to detect and they all gave off bad vibes. In Laughner's case, a sales clerk at Wal-Mart refused to sell him any ammo because he sensed that Laughner was definitely out there. So, I wish someone would clue us all in on the point of the Pew research. I missed it entirely.


In a nutshell, the survey shows that those who are the least educated and the least informed are more apt to agree with the republican viewpoint.

How surprising.


Matty, Its time for you to do some actual journalism instead of recycling the same bullshit over and over- you sound like the MSM.  Since you get to recycle so will I.  Where is the outrage over the assault weapons called motor vehicles?  In 2009 there were 10.8 MILLION auto accidents.  These could have been prevented if all of our concerned citizens and government would have done something sooner like they want to cry now over guns.  These accidents resulted in over 35,900 deaths, all dead because of a motor vehicle assault weapon.  Where is the outrage? Motor Vehicles are not even protected by the constitution.  Where are all of our great so called leaders that care about our children and our society so much?  Yeah, I didn't think so. You control freaks are a bunch of bitch ass frauds.


 I too fail to see the point, except that maybe people relate more closely to this latest tragedy because it happened at an elemntary school as opposed to a movie theater or parking lot.

As to Jared Loughner, one Walmart refused to sell him ammo that day, but another Walmart did. He was stopped that morning for running a red light by an AZF&G officer and let go with a warning to drive carefully. No one in the second Walmart, or that trained officer "sensed" that he was nuts.

As to James Holmes, he painted his hair orange prior to his shooting. But someone on the street or in the parking lot or the dark movie theater should have "sensed" that he was nuts? I've seen crazier hair at a rock concert, never seen a shooting at one.

As to Adam Lanza, social awkwardness & distance is not an indicator of mental illness. I've worked with plenty of people who were/are one or the other (or both), and some of them might consider me to be, but none of use have armed ourselves and started shooting.

That's why there are PhDs and medical doctors to make diagnoses of mental illness, because it's a complicated issue that is obviously beyond your understanding. Somone's appearance is no indicator as to how they THINK, much less an indicator of being "nuts".

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@Critical a vehicle is a multi-purpose  machine. it can be used in transportation, or  industry,  it can be used for many functions. a assault rifle can be used for multiple things too, death or the threat of death.....thats it. i am extremely pro-gun, but i can not find one reason for an assault rifle to be in the hands of a civilian. if you are going to say cars should be banned, why not say the police, or the military? they have a higher mortality rate than cars do.


@Critical A motor vehicle is not built for the sole purpose of killing. That's why they are called ACCIDENTS.

Assault weapons are built for the sole purpose of killing. Tucson, Aurora and Sandy Hook were INTENTIONAL acts.

Equivalence fail.

But thanks for playing bitch.


@danzigsdaddy @Critical You're saying an assault rifle has multiple purposes... to shoot, to kill, to threaten... ummm, splitting hairs doesn't make your argument valid.

Since the beginning of our supposed "war on terror", somewhere around 6,000 military service personnel have been killed. In 2011 alone, almost 10,000 US citizens were killed at the hands of a gun. So tell me again how you think the military has a higher mortality rate?


@Captious @danzigsdaddy

So all of those innocent children that died in car accidents aren't as tragic as when some crazy that hasn't received proper treatment gets their hand on a gun and kills innocent people? You are right its an equivalence fail by you not recognizing that the statistics of killers in cars is FAR greater than the statistics of killers with guns, and that is even with a motor vehicle being multi-use.  The health issues caused by cigarettes and obesity kill more people in this country annually than some crazy with a gun as well and those are also not constitutional rights but nothing is being done about those either. Nope, we must disarm the law abiding people so the criminals and the powers that be can come in and do whatever the f*** they want.  Only fools would believe they only want to ban assault weapons, they want to ban all guns because all guns are viewed as assault weapons.  If the military and police want to give up their assault weapons first, at that time then they can ask people to give up theirs, until then fu** them its always going to be on.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@Critical  if you need more than 1 shot, you need practice not a bigger magazine. if you are a true competitive shooter or hunter, you don't need an assault rifle. they are inaccurate weapons when you are spraying bullets. automatic and semi-auto (when shooting fast) rise and pull. if you are trying to prove your competence and skill with a weapon, an assault rifle isn't the way. i don't think many of the people who are carrying sidearms on any given day are all that competent to begin with (even cops are notoriously bad shots, and they have to continuously qualify with their weapons), so i really don't think they are safe or skilled enough to be purchasing or firing assault rifles either.

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@Captious typo on my comment, meant to say "a high mortality rate" not "higher than"


@Captious You may not be talking about disarming citizens but Holder, Obama, various government officials and various media types have and they want to ban semi-automatic weapons and all guns to be exact not just "assault weapons" because they view all guns as assault weapons.  Did the Clinton ban disarm law abiding citizens?  I never said it did. These people have already admitted they want to brainwash the public to meet their agenda and that is what we are seeing today.  You bring up 10k citizens dying from guns but still ignore cigarettes that kill more than 160k per year.  You claim car accidents should not count because they are classified as accidents (even though some are on purpose), well so are some deaths caused by guns.  You sir are the one not being coherent and attempting to twist things to meet your beliefs while denying the truth.  Mental health is the problem in this country, not guns!


@Critical I have not mentioned anything about disarming citizens, nor have I heard anyone mention it.

Banning assault weapons is not disarmament. So durning the assault weapons ban of 1994-2004, all people were completely disarmed, huh?

Once again you have shown that you cannot coherently make a case for any civilian owning an assault weapon.

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault