Arizona ‘Memorial’: A Most Disquieting Display

-By Warner Todd Huston

Last night in Arizona someone planned a memorial service and a pep rally broke out. In a wildly inappropriate display of mirth, rock star adulation, screams from the crowd and raucous applause the purported memorial service held at University of Arizona for those that fell at the hands of a crazed shooter earlier in the week went badly awry Wednesday night.

Nothing this gauche has been seen since the classless memorial turned pep rally held for Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone that got so many in trouble back in 2002.

The tenor of the event lacked propriety throughout even as the speeches themselves were for the most part perfectly alright.

In fact, a whole weird vibe was set at the very beginning of the memorial with pseudo Indian medicine man, Carlos Gonzales. He began the off kilter scene by his pseudo Indian blessing of rocks and trees, northern doors, and… well, whatever he was blessing, anyway. His self-referential promotion was also quite off-putting.

Arizona University President Richard Shelton was also wholly inappropriate in the way he emceed this pep rally His fawning introduction of President Obama, for instance, was absurd and out of place. He introduced the president as if Obama were about to bound upon the stage for a campaign appearance. Very badly done.

Fortunately President Obama’s speech was very well crafted and generally delivered properly — except that he had to raise his voice at times to be heard over the foolish reaction of the audience. Obama’s speech was perfectly fine. He didn’t focus on himself for a change and that right there is an improvement over most of his speeches.

The Governor Arizona’s, Napolitano’s and Holder’s short addresses were also fine, really. In fact, aside from U of A President Shelton and the hokey medicine man all the speeches were fine. The problem here was the raucous crowd reaction to the program.

Have we forgotten how to act as a nation in mourning? Have we forgotten how to be somber?

There was a time when Americans mourned in a respectable manner. Women would wear black dresses with hats featuring a gauzy black veil. Men would don suits, fedoras and sport black crepe ribbons on their coat sleeves. People would stand silent, heads bowed as they prayed or at the very least delivered respectful contemplation for the fate of the fallen.

Today, after our fellow citizens have been murdered by a madman, we have events where giddy teens applaud speakers like they were attending rock concerts or a school pep rally. I kept waiting for someone to yell out “Go Wildcats.” In fact, there was so much screaming by the fools in the crowd that one of them may well have yelled a go-team slogan!

Apparently, someone needs to grab these punk kids that attended this rally by the scruff of the neck and teach them what the word “respect” means. It was all a pretty sad display.

Naturally, I’ve already been attacked by a wild-eyed lefty who needed to turn this into politics As I was Tweeting and Facebooking my displeasure at the way the crowd was reacting to this speech, a lefty on Twitter named nathanielrallen said that I was only attacking the memorial because it was a “Democrat” memorial.

“I wonder if this were a GOP led memorial if @warnerthuston would have as much to say,” this creep said on Twitter.

Of course, I never said word one about Republicans or Democrats. This event had nothing at all to do with Democrats or Republicans. Those of the fallen were from both parties, in fact. But this lefty had to drag politics into my criticism.


In any case, this whole rally was just badly played by those at U of A that planned the thing. It is a shame, really. This event was really ruined and turned from something that could have been a healing event into an inappropriate pep rally.

Melissa Clouthier of Liberty Pundits take

Here is how Brian Garst saw it.

Stephen Kruiser gives us Praising Arizona.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

5 thoughts on “
Arizona ‘Memorial’: A Most Disquieting Display”

  1. I enjoyed your piece this morning, and must say on a level I agree that we have forgotten how to mourn. However I also don’t feel that all the cheering was out of place. Yes their was a feeling that the event was a pep rally but what do you expect. It was held at a University in AZ with (I’m guessing) a large percentage of attendees being students; who may not have known what was appropriate (I blame the parents lol). I however equate the reactions of the crowd to the the New Orleans bands playing spirited music as they process from a funeral, a celebration of life.

    Now I will say your personal attacks on me were a little unfounded and I want to take a moment and say that the discourse between you and I, I would say, is fundamentally what is wrong with politics in America and I think both sides can agree on this. (being that both Obama and Sarah Palin have said similar things)

    Now I won’t say that I didn’t have some very strong opinions but the fact that you’re very first comment back to me was “@nathanielrallen You are quite a troll, aren’t you?” was more appropriate for the grade school playground than two adult wouldn’t you say. Beyond that I just feel the point should be made that the shooting of a politician at a political event is fundamentally about politics to say otherwise is disrespectful to those who lost their life. Was Laughner off his rocker YES but that doesn’t change what happened.

    Finally in my defense I feel the need to point out you first invoked politics asking in your tweets “is this a campaign stop?” or when mentioning the Wellstone memorial which was (I agree) blatantly political as they reached out to voters directly at that event. So don’t play innocent and above the political discourse when you and I BOTH play right into it.


    PS I’m a registered independent who although I lean left voted republican in my home state, for what it’s worth

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