Monday, January 10, 2011

A Warning about Jared Loughner

Various news sites are reporting that Jared Loughner, the killer in Tucson, had some sort of connection to a Right-wing racist outfit run by a Jared Taylor. Taylor is a clear-cut white supremacist, of that there is no doubt.

And, while I was an early blogger to explain why I thought that Loughner was a Right-winger, and these revelations would support my thesis, I would warn my readers to take these new revelations with a pinch of salt.

The problem is that no evidence is offered. Supposedly these are leaked documents from the Department of Homeland Security, one of the lest reputable departments around. The leaked document says nothing to substantiate the charge. Now, it is possible that they have other evidence that they are hiding, until such evidence is presented I would be cautious.

Janet Napolitano has a real bee in her bonnet on these matters and neither she nor her underlings are hesitant about exaggerating the facts or inventing them in order to score political points. So, just as the lunatic Right has been very dishonest in interpreting the situation (see my previous post on Loughner and read the comments for an example) Napolitano and her crew are not above a little creative license as well.

I suspect that the charge may be false because nothing in the rants by Loughner indicated a connection to a white supremacist group. While he expressed clear-cut Right-wing views, and attacked an outspoken critic of the anti-immigration movement, his own rhetoric had no clearly racial sentiments expressed.

Leaks such as this are a notorious method for politicians, and don't forget that Janet is a politician, to intentionally muddy the waters. My instincts on this claim about Loughner is to be very careful in spite of the claim appearing to prove my thesis.

I would like to caution those who agree with my theory in another way as well: be careful about attributing the violence of this man to his politics. As I said earlier, a read of his rants indicates a mentally disturbed individual. Such people are attracted to all sorts of political viewpoints and are dangerous, not because of their ideologies, but because of their mental instability.

Every political movement faces the same sort of craziness. And it is clear that Jared Loughner is crazy. All the cumulative evidence indicates paranoid schizophrenia to me. And recent evidence about his expulsion from community college only supports that view. Evidence from people who knew him says that he had rather abruptly changed after high school. Schizophrenia often strikes for the first time at this age.

At best his ideology would help him pick a target for his violence. But it was his mental problems that made him violent. And while I strongly disagree with the Right-wing of the day, and consider them to be relatively awful people in many ways, I do not think the Right deserves blame in this incident.

I also think it is pure rubbish to say that political language caused this event. No, insanity did. That the rather inane Sarah Palin wanted to "target" the district for a Republican win had nothing to do with the attack. I've seen similar language from people on the Left. It is a common phrase in the English language and only the truly insane take it seriously. If someone says, "I'll kill if X happens," it takes a deranged mind to assume the words are literally intended. And, I would hate to live in a society where acceptable language is determined by the most insane amongst us.

I have little doubt that there are elements of the Right that can easily be inspired to violence based entirely on their ideology. But I can say the same thing for some segments of the Left as well. So some violence can be entirely politically inspired. But I do not see evidence for that, so far, in this case. Yes, this man was a Right-wing loon. But he killed because he was a loon, not because he was on the Right. The Right is often wrong, the Right often deserves condemnation, but I don't see them being responsible here.