Today, in Arizona, Jared Loughner, 22 years old, walked into the middle of a public meeting being held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Az) and opened fire, killing five, including a 9 year old girl and Arizona's senior Federal District Court Judge, John Roll. He injured many more, including Rep. Giffords whom he shot through the temple at point blank range, the bullet passing through her brain before exiting her skull. Rep. Giffords is currently in critical condition, but apparently able to talk which, according to physicians, is a very positive sign.
Update: The child murdered was Christina Taylor Greene. See her bio at Weazel Zippers. The total number killed is now six.
No sane American can do anything other than mourn this act of brutal mass murder. Why Loughner committed this act is as of yet not known, though his internet rants suggest that he was delusional at best. This from Fox News on some of Loughner's internet postings:
"Hello, my name is Jared Lee Loughner," one of the videos says, in words appearing on the screen. "This video is my introduction to you! My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don't dream - sadly. . . . The majority of citizens in the united states of America have never read the united states of America's constitution. You don't have to accept the federalist laws," the video's titles say. "In conclusion, reading the second United States constitution, I can't trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. No! I won't pay debt with a currency that's not backed by gold and silver! No! I won't trust in god!"
. . . In other videos, Loughner calls the people of District 8, his Ariz. district, illiterate.
In a bizarre equation that Loughner appears to mean as example of deductive reasoning, he concludes that "the police are unconstitutional."
In yet another rant verging on the paranoid, he says:
“I know who’s listening: Government Officials, and the People. Nearly all the people, who don’t know this accurate information of a new currency, aren’t aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn’t have happen.”
He lists reading under interests, as well as "conscience dreams," and among his favorite books are "Mein Kampf," the "Communist Manifesto," "Animal Farm" and "Brave New World."
In a comment posted on MySpace three months ago in connection with a video about Pima Community College, Loughner wrote: "Hello, I know you’re illiterate! This is the greatest protest for exposure into a wrongful act. The school is breaking the constitution. If you watch the video then you’ll understand. The teachers are taking advantage of you in the first and Fifth Amendment. The United States Constitution, which is the law, can be broken at this school. Thank you and goodnight! Jared"
Update: From of Legal Insurrection, ". . . a women who claims to have known the shooter claims that he was fairly left-wing as of a few years ago . . ."
Update 2: This from the Arizona Daily Star on Loughner's apparent mental problems:
A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was "obviously very disturbed."
"He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts," said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College's Northwest campus.
Sorenson doesn't recall if he ever made any threats or uttered political statements but he was very disruptive, she said. He was asked to leave the pre-algebra class several times and eventually was barred from class, said Sorenson, a Tucson resident.
Another Pima classmate, Lydian Ali, said Loughner would frequently laugh aloud to himself during the advanced-poetry class they attended. Only about 16 people were in the class, so Loughner's behavior stood out, Ali said.
"It almost seemed like he was on his own planet, because his comments would have nothing to do with what we were talking about," Ali said. . . .
This was, quite simply, a horrendous act by a person deep in the throws of psychosis. This mass murder was political only in the sense that psychosis can be considered political - which it cannot. Indeed, given the facts above, it would be the height of irresponsibility to attempt to assign any sort of blame to either side of the political spectrum for the actions of Mr. Loughner. But that has not stopped the NYT, with the blood still wet on the street and the bodies not yet cooled in the morgue, from firing the first salvos suggesting Loughner's violence is tied to the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin:
. . . Last March, after the final approval of the Democrats’ health care law, which Ms. Giffords supported, the windows of her office in Tucson were broken or shot out in an act of vandalism. Similar acts were reported by other members of Congress, and several arrests were made, including that of a man who had threatened to kill Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.
And in August 2009, when there were demonstrations against the health care measure across the nation, a protester who showed up to meet Ms. Giffords at a supermarket event similar to Saturday’s was removed by the police when the pistol he had holstered under his armpit fell and bounced on the floor.
During the fall campaign, Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, posted a controversial map on her Facebook page depicting spots where Democrats were running for re-election; those Democrats were noted by crosshairs symbols like those seen through the scope of a gun. Ms. Giffords was among those on Ms. Palin’s map, which later removed the crosshairs symbols. . . .
So someone tell me how any of that is germane to Loughner's motivations or obvious psychosis? None of it is, but I am sure the NYT's not so subtle attempt to link Loughner to the Tea Party and Sarah Palin is only the first of many efforts to come. It is intellectual dishonesty on a despicable scale. These people have no shame and will twist / politicize anything for political gain.
All this despite the fact that the vast majority of political violence in Obama's America, to the extent it arises from a discernible ideology, arises from the left. No need to let facts get in the way of the narrative, however. And do recall that it was a left wing strategist who opined in November that "what Obama needs is another Oklahoma City moment."
Update: At Crooks and Liars, "We don't yet know why the shooter -- identified as a 22-year-old man named Jared Laughner -- shot Giffords and a number of other people; we'll learn more as the day progresses. But it's impossible to survey the events so far and not come to the preliminary conclusion that this was yet another awful act inspired by right-wing hate rhetoric."
At Jack & Jill Politics, "Tea Party Sympathizer Shoots Rep. Giffords, Kills/Wounds Others"
Gawker: "Shot Congresswoman Was In Sarah Palin's 'Crosshairs'"
Firedoglake - "Sarah Palin's Hit List"
Politics Daily - "Sarah Palin Blamed By Bloggers For Shooting Of Gabrielle Giffords"
Enron Advisor Paul Krugman - "We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.
Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing."
Andrew Sullivan - "An Assassination?" - highlighting Sarah Palin's likely culpability for this political violence.
And much more from the venomous left-wing twittersphere at Flopping Aces . .
Much more from Instapundit: "Let me be clear, as a great man says: If you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Sarah Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting — which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie — or you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. So which is it?"
Update: Loughner's internet vids, compliments of Legal Insurrection: