Tragedy and Farce

A video made by Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, has been released by his college. The video contributed to his suspension from Pima Community College, and it is easy to see why.

Here is an excerpt:

“We’re examining the torture of students. We’re looking at students who have been tortured. Their low income pay in two wars. The war that we are in right now is currently illegal under the Constitution. What makes it illegal is the currency. The date is also wrong. It’s impossible for it to be that date, it’s mind control.”

The LA Times reports (but oddly omits the reference to ‘illegal wars’ from the article).

While I find violent rhetoric in politics abhorrent, and think it should be curtailed for that reason, the video strongly suggests that Jared Loughner is mentally ill. It would be mistaken to take the reference to “illegal wars” as evidence that he is some sort of Left wing ideologue.

It is equally mistaken to argue that this shooting can be laid at the door of Right wing hysterics. On which subject, here’s a remarkable story about the events leading to the arrest of J. Eric Fuller, who was shot in the knee by Loughner:

The theme of the event was “An American Conversation Continued” — the idea being to continue the conversation that a madman’s brutal rampage had interrupted. So it was inevitable that the conversation would eventually turn to politics. It did, toward the end, with Amanpour leading a discussion on a very touchy but obvious topic: gun control.

That’s where the atmosphere turned tense. When Tucson Tea Party founder Trent Humphries rose to suggest that any conversation about gun control should be put off until after the funerals for all the victims, witnesses say Fuller became agitated. Two told KGUN9 News that finally, Fuller took a picture of Humphries, and said, “You’re dead.”

The event wrapped up a short time later. Deputies then escorted Fuller from the room. As he was being led off, Fuller shouted loudly to the room at large. Several witnesses said that what they thought they heard him shout was, “You’re all whores!”

A Pima County Sheriff’s spokesman told KGUN9 News that the department has charged Fuller with one count of threats and intimidation, and said they plan to charge him with at least one count of disorderly conduct. Humphries told KGUN9 News that he does plan to press those charges.

The irony could not be more pointed, or painful.