Jared Lee Loughner shot and wounded United States Congsswoman Gabrielle Giffords and twelve others and killed Federal Judge John McCarthy Roll and six others outside a Safeway in Tucson early Saturday, January Eighth, 2011.
Giffords had beaten the teabagger candidate, Jesse Kelly, to win her third term as a representative. Gabrielle Giffords’ office was also vandalized in March, just after health care reform was approved. Why is this important? Last March, Mike Vanderboegh boasted about his call to throw bricks through the local offices of representatives who voted for Health Care Reform. This message struck such a chord that he was invited to speak at the Open Carry rally in April. He’s trying to backpedal now, making the patently ridiculous claim that his call to violence was actually an action against this type of violence, but he’s trying to shove toothpaste back into the tube.
Giffords was also the member of Congress who read the First Amendment during the reading of the Constitution this past Thursday. Fate is not without a sense of irony.
Judge Roll was the target of a barrage of death threats in 2009, after he had ruled that a group of illegal immigrants could proceed with a multi-million dollar civil rights lawsuit against a state rancher. Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’ aide and a nine-year old child who had recently been elected president of her school’s student council were also amongst the dead.
Loughner’s Youtube rants are–at best– incoherent and rambling; they display some of the same rudderless and agitated rhetoric that typified early missives from Francis E. Dec, who was suffering from a degenerating form of paranoid schizophrenia. He also posted a similarly rambling screed online, which can be read here.
Loughner apparently retains enough of his mental capabilities to invoke his right against self-incrimination, so we must wait for word on his motivations before we discover if he is “just another kook” or a symptom of something deeper. It is, however, not too much of a stretch to observe the connection between Loughner’s acts and the pathology of violence than infects the right wing.
This is a fine place to reprint a common sentiment around the ‘net today: If all muslims are branded as terrorists due to the acts of a tiny minority, why is it when white conservatives repeatedly do it, it’s just the act of lone nuts?