I know this post will provoke a rain of calumny, but here goes: I think Jared Loughner deserves a little more compassion and understanding than the web-wide characterizations of him as a "nut job", "wacko" or "wingnut" display.
First, let me say that the most sympathy and compassion unquestionably goes to the victims of his act.
But, having reviewed his history, writings and videos on the web, I am convinced that he most likely suffers from an organic disease: schizophrenia.
I've seen schizophrenia at close range. I once spent two years of my life tending to a schizophrenic relative. It's a tragic disease. And because it manifests itself in such ugly, shocking behavior, it's not always possible to sympathize with the sufferer.
Schizophrenics tend to believe in grandiose hallucinations - they are God, Christ, Napoleon. For a sufferer like Jared Loughner, killing random strangers would not suffice - he wanted to prove his grandiosity by targeting a person of significance.
I don't blame Sarah Palin. I don't blame the Tea Party.
But I also have a hard time blaming or vilifying a young man who suffers a form of insanity most people, thank Heaven, can hardly begin to understand. The blame, if such it is, belongs to a cruel fate that inflicts such a disease and causes the sufferer to act in ways we, the sane, would never contemplate.
God Bless all those who suffered.
SAVAGE > A Plea For Mental Health Reform
HIGGINS > Shooters and Hate Speech
ESFAHANI SMITH > Juan Williams: We Can't Blame AZ Shooting on "Right-Wing Rhetoric"