“Boys Town” and A Shooting in Tucson

What hasn’t been said already about Mr. Loughner and his (still alleged) consummate act of misguided violence against the world? It would be a waste of space to try to sum up any of the socio-political ramifications/causes of the shooting, or even to try to assert how irrelevant those might have been in regard to the act itself.

One thing that most people seem to recognize is that Loughner was deeply troubled in some way, and people that interacted with him had known this for some time. Rather than add more speculation, it might be interesting to point out James Shepard’s recent New Yorker short story “Boys’ Town“. Its protagonist is a veteran who people might describe as having “fallen on hard times”, but one of the more apparent themes of the story is that people, like Mr. Loughner, defined by an extreme loneliness and isolation from society rarely ever “fall” on hard times. They’ve always been on the ground struggling to get up. Anyone interested in what it might actually feel like to be a person stuck in this situation who ends up enacting a dark destiny they’ve moved toward their whole life.


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