The Father Factor in the Tucson Shooting
"The family was contemptuous. It wasn't the son. It was the father."
Those are the words of a female neighbor of alleged Tucson shooter, Jared Loughner. As details about the Loughners family begin to emerge, a not unexpected picture is coming into focus. Apparently, Loughners father, Randy, was far from a positive force in the life of his son and family.
Another individual who used to spend a lot of time with the Loughners said the family's home was "cold, dark and unpleasant" and that he always felt "unwelcomed."
Most importantly, this same former friend said he never observed a particularly loving relationship between the Loughners. Finally, and sadly, Loughner once told this friend that he loved his dog more than his parents. More details are here
This is not entirely different than what we learned about the D.C. sniper after his shooting rampage in the fall of 2002. As details of Lee Malvos family life emerged, it became clear that he did not have a close relationship with his father he was, in fact, desperately yearning for a close relationship with his father and tragically chose John Muhammad to replace him.
Decades of research show that boys who have fractured or nonexistent relationships with their fathers are more likely to act out violently than sons who are close to their fathers. Unfortunately, our nations prisons are filled with men who had poor relationships with their dads.
Clearly, there were a number of factors that led to Jared Loughners heinous act, but to ignore the father factor is to ignore an important root. We will continue to monitor this situation as more details of his family life emerge. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.