Professor Tom Zoellner

Professor reflects on Gabrielle Giffords shooting in anniversary op-eds

Tom Zoellner, associate professor of English and author of the new book A Safeway in Arizona has had recent op-ed pieces published in The Los Angeles Times and Newsweek’s online publication The Daily Beast. In both professor Zoellner reflects on the questions posed in his new book about the political and social landscape of his native state and the role that zeitgeist may have had in the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

In the Los Angeles Times piece Zoellner writes: “One year later, what did the shootings say about Arizona, a state celebrating its 100th birthday this year in the midst of an extended period of political rancor and economic sclerosis? The question was on everyone’s minds in the confused hours after the shootings, and it remains lodged in the civic subconscious 12 months later.”

The Los Angeles Times piece appeared in the print edition Sunday, Jan. 8, the one-year anniversary of the shooting that wounded Congresswoman Giffords.

Zoellner is the author of five nonfiction books, including Train: Smoke, Iron and the Invention of the Modern World, forthcoming from Viking/Penguin in 2013. He was also the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book An Ordinary Man.

Dawn Bonker

1 comment

  • I read Tom Zoellner’s op-ed piece at the LA Times website, and it’s very thoughtful and well-written about the historic ups, downs, twists and turns within Arizona since statehood. However, I disagree with the notion that the polarized political climate played a role in the shooting of Gabby Giffords. Her would-be assassin Jared Loughner is severely mentally ill with a documented history of bizarre behavior and threatening others long before the 2010 election. He is totally out of touch with himself and reality, and the Arizona community college and mental health systems totally failed to save this young man from himself. If not for his mental illness, I would dare say Jared acts like he is willingly possessed by the devil.