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    60 Minutes On Loughner

    60 Minutes On Loughner

    I just watched a 60 Minutes segment on Jared Loughner, which included interviews with some of his friends.

    The segment confirmed that Loughner’s grudge against Gabrielle Giffords dates back at least to the time he met her in 2007, when he posed a question to her at an event she did not answer.  The question was bizarre, having to do with the meaning of words.  A form letter from Giffords thanking Loughner for his attendance was saved by Loughner, who wrote on the envelope “die bitch.”

    Loughner’s slow slide into a bizarre nihilist word of dreams was known to his friends, and appears to have worsened until he cut off most contact in March 2010.  Enrolled in school at the time, Loughner immediately started disrupting classes in a menacing manner.

    The segment also included interviews with the authors of a Secret Service study which showed that political assassins, at least in the U.S., almost never are motivated by politics.  Loughner appears to fit the prototype of the mentally disturbed assassin focused on personal fame and a need to address fictional problems created by their diseased minds.

    The segment left me with several emotions.  First, I was impressed with the professionalism of the Secret Service, which tracks people deemed potential threats to the President or Presidents for years.

    Second, I wonderered whether our educational and medical privacy laws, and fear of lawsuits, may have contributed to the failure to alert appropriate authorities as to Loughner’s menacing behavior.

    But most of all, I was left with a disgust at how the left-wing blogosphere, the mainstream media, and Sheriff Dupnik tried to spin, and still try to spin, Loughner’s crime as the fault of right-wing political rhetoric. 

    Not only are such accusations against Sarah Palin, the Tea Parties and conservatives devoid of factual basis, such accusations also fly in the face of the history of political assassinations as documented by the Secret Service. 

    A moment or two of reflection and research after the shooting would have revealed much of what we now know, but some people did not want to let facts and research get in the way of a political narrative.

    Update:  Thanks to Trochilus (in the comments) for the video link of the program.  Like the child forced to write “I will not talk in class” one hundred times on the blackboard for bad behavior, Paul Krugman should be forced to watch this segment 100 times:


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    Beck calling for non-violence? The same guy who dreamed of murdering Michael Moore and poisoning Speaker Pelosi?


    One of the things that struck me about that "60 Minutes" clip is that Loughner is not a loner. His fellow students seem to know him well. I would say that he has led a life that is more examined than most. These "friends" analyze him in great depth almost like they are reading a book. He wasn't "that strange guy" who kept to himself rarely speaking to anyone.

    Loughner was bizarre far beyond what would be considered just odd. His entire world was so dangerously warped that virtually everyone around him was afraid of him to the point that police action was necessary, not because of physical threats but because his ideas were scary.

    I find it comforting that I have never known anyone like Loughner. I don't have to worry if there is someone like him lurking nearby. There isn't. He was crazy, everyone knew it to the point that the authorities knew it. The Tucson massacre needn't have happened. It was stoppable.

    Another thing that strikes me is how all of these assassin-killers traveled down the same paths that all of us traveled while even saying or thinking things that all or most of us may have said or thought while in our adolescence when it seemed that life was one big conspiracy by adults to deny us happiness. It's the "Catcher in the Rye" problem, permanent adolescence. We all go through this phase until we get thrown out of the nest. Then reality forces us to grow up. Instead of rationalizing his way out of this phase, Loughner short-circuited straight to crazy. It may be disturbing to hear his "friends" describe him as someone who struggled with the same things we struggled with but he is not like us. He is crazy.

    More than ever, this Tuscon shooting has not left me with a sense of a world or of America falling apart. There will always be crazy people among us and if we just open our eyes, we can stop the Loughners. There just aren't many of them around and they aren't exactly sneaky.

    Regarding my hastily posted comment of last night, it is grammatical correction time:

    "But as we know, none of them will ever be forthcoming."


    * * * * *

    @jds09201 . . . what is it about progressives pretending to apologize? It's never: "I was wrong, and for that I apologize." It is always some version of, "Yes, BUT . . ."

    And, it is not an apology if, as above, you then immediately turn right around and insist on validating the absolute worst of the lies that were told about Palin and others on the right.

    Paul Krugman's ugly screed about "eliminationist" views, was execrable crap.

    In fact, it was only the latest of a recent series of outlandish uses of that particular phrase by Krugman that seek to conflate legitimate American political debate, with a rising Nazi-like propaganda tide on the part of the right.

    He knew it was wrong when he wrote it, as did the editorial staff at the NY Times when they printed it. And, you should have known it when you read it.

    * * * * *

    @Stogie is 100% correct. In the State of New Jersey, a very similar thing occurred. The "de-institutionalization" movement here resulted in the literal dumping of very large numbers of previously institutionalized mental patients, most of them in NJ from the Greystone and Marlboro facilities. It was primarily driven by lawsuits from the left, based on evidence deploring the living conditions in those facilities, and theoretically insisting on behalf of all those people that their individual liberty trumped prior standards of involuntary commitment.

    There indeed had been problems with living conditions in those facilities, as there had been on other jurisdictions, and many patients were no doubt civilly committed under questionable circumstances.

    But the consequence was court decisions "freeing" thousands under a narrow view of what constituted a "risk of harm to one's self or others." The upshot was that that generation of mental health "inmates" ended up as homeless folks on the streets of our cities, where there they encountered no livable conditions at all, and where as a consequence, very large percentages of them simply could not and did not survive.

    It was a sad chapter.

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