I was genuinely moved by much of what Stewart had to say, but I was also saddened by his use of the word "crazy" to describe Loughner's actions. Words matter, so, so much, and when we conflate the actions of someone who shoots more than a dozen people with the concept of being mentally ill - all through the term 'crazy', which is indiscriminately used to apply to both situations - we do many people a disservice (including Loughner himself). We increase the social stigma against mental illness - mentally ill people are crazy, right? Given to this kind of violence? They're not like us! - and we obscure what real help might have helped Loughner, if appropriate; what services and information and understanding should be available to all who are troubled and struggling with illness. (We may never know for sure if Loughner truly is mentally ill, since medical records are protected.)
If we mean that Loughner's actions are difficult to understand, let's say so. They are horrifying, scary, troubling; they grieve us deeply. We struggle to make sense of a world in which such senseless violence can occur. Let's use those words instead of "crazy." Let's pick our words with precision and compassion.
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