The Voice of the Rural Rim
Thursday May 25th 2017
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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

On Saturday morning, January 8, 2011, a senselessly evil act occurred in Tucson, Arizona.  A gunman massacred six people, and wounded many more including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her deputy director, Ron Barber.  Among those killed was Gifford’s 30 year-old aide, Gabe Zimmerman.  This is a loss of monumental proportions to our democracy but there is a small side to the story that makes it even a greater loss to those of us who love our animals particularly horses.  Ron Barber assisted Congresswoman Giffords in her effort to help protect the wild horses of Apache Sitgreaves National Forests.  Barber met with Tucson resident Julianne French about the horses and worked with the Congresswoman to develop a letter to the United States Forest Service letting them know that the Congresswoman would be scrutinizing any management and removal plans of the wild horses.  It was a brave act on the part of Ron Barber and it was a brave act on the part of Congresswoman Giffords.  Gabe Zimmerman, represented the Congresswoman at the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Committee meeting in Tucson when her constituents asked her office to send someone.  Perhaps small acts in the scheme of things but acts that may have helped preserve an irreplaceable part of Arizona’s history and humane and compassionate acts.   It has been my experience that people who show such compassion to other animals have a depth and empathy that help us all.  Some experts have attributed the gunman’s acts to paranoid schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.  I am a PhD in psychology who has done two postdoctoral research studies in clinical settings and I have taught many classes in Psychology including abnormal psychology. I also have worked with people who truly have paranoid schizophrenia.  Such patients in an active state of hallucinating and delusions would not be capable of leaving their house and purchasing a gun, let alone loading one, learning to fire it or posting to blogs and Youtube.  I am tired of our society pulling out the “mentally ill” card for acts of pure evil.  The DSM is the manual used by mental health professionals to help diagnose psychological disorders. This was an act of pure evil and the consequences need to be paid.  There is no DSM excuse for it.

Patricia Haight

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