A potential political assassination leaving six dead any more wounded and the first thing we hear from the right (after finding out the shooter wasn't brown) is outrage about how people are politcizing the event. It was a political event.
The second thing we hear is about how Loughner isn't a Tea Party d00d, he's a deranged psycho nutcase. In fact he ain't even a conservative! He's a pot smoking, flag burning, Communist Manifesto reading leftsist. (And Mein Kampf too, the most liberal lefty book written since Jonah Goldberg said it was).
There are actually delusional idiots who are saying that this is payback for Giffords' symbolic anti-Pelosi vote.
Nevermind the deranged rants about the Gold Standard. Nevermind the obsession with declaring anything he dislikes as being "not in the Constitution". Nevermind the Ayn Rand book also on his list. Clearly a leftsist.
These idiots are completely missing the point. Loughner is a deranged paranoid delusional. Possibly schizophrenic, possibly a host of assorted crazy, possibly a victim of the government's grammar based mind-control experiments. Anyways, crazy-go-nuts bonkers woohoo woohoo ooga booga boo. It doesn't matter if he's a conservative loonytoon or a liberal loonytoon, he's a demented individual.
Loughner's politics don't matter to the criticism being levelled at the voices of conservatism right now. The problem and complaint is that too many on the right have been wallowing in violent rhetoric - in responding to every last slight as yet another rallying cry for WAR! Tip of the hat to the apparently gracious Bouffant who seems to have a magic index card for the memory hole, and is reminding us all of what that rhetoric was.
When you use gun sights to target people, with the chant of "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD" that says something. And to people who are suffering from paranoid delusions, it says something pretty large. Incidentally, reloading was what Jared Loughner was doing when he was finally stopped.
Don't kid yourselves conservatives. Go ahead and search all you want for the scraplings of violently angry lefty comments - the basic fact is that it's the right that constantly wallows in gun culture and mindless devotion to all things military and related to war.
But I'm a lefty liberal loonie. Free Speech is one of those important concepts for me. Maybe this is a good time to talk about what reasonable limits on that are, like yelling Fire! in a crowded theatre or libel or more relevantly, hate speech and the incitement of violent crime. But those are contentious points and society redraws the lines defining those categories everyday. Perhaps this tragic incident will put a bit more emphasis the line marking "incitement of violent crime". But I can understand how a rational person might see that as a negative, even now.
Instead, what I'd like to address is something that shouldn't be contentious or controversial at all right now. MBouffant again (days if not weeks ahead of me on this one) gets to the point. I think we're pretty much all agreed that Loughner is seriously mentally disturbed and could have used some professional psychiatric help and possibly pharmaceutical treatment. This attack clearly shows that providing treatment for mental illness is a societal good, it's a strong argument in favour of government funded mental health.
I admit that I am not a fan of Obama's final Health Care Reform package, but credit where due - mental health and treatment for addiction are both part of the Essential Benefits package. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has endorsements from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association Practice Organization, Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and who knows how many others. In the wake of yet another senseless attack on civilians by a mentally disturbed individual, perhaps we can all agree on the need to treat these people, regardless of who's on the hook for the bill, before incidents like this happen.