Given my own rhetoric on this blog, I feel it would be untoward of me not to comment on the terrible tragedy in Tucson this past weekend. First, Loughner is obviously disturbed. But the world is full of images and illusions, and very few lives are ever under the microscope who are not famous or wealthy. I live in a city where people talk to themselves every day. I once watched a mentally disturbed man from my window, throwing himself against the pavement so hard he began to bleed. He did so three or four times before the paramedics arrived, and was bleeding profusely by then. There is a methadone clinic down the block, and I live in one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. But Nueva Yorka is a liberal city, and maybe that makes a difference afterall.
In 2009, a college friend of mine, a libertarian, sent me a video he made. Not unlike Mr. Loughner's youtube video decrying Pima college. He also believes in the gold standard, and he also believes that "the tree of liberty" yada yada yada. After several frightening screeds, and knowing that he was a loner by nature and fairly lonely as a matter of course, I began to get very alarmed. Worse, he had been in the military. Not that the military breeds lunatics--it just trains them to "drop a Nazi at 90 yards" as my friend told me proudly when he returned from basic.
I really wrestled with the notion--should I tell someone in charge? I asked a few friends, and finally the consensus was no. He was not crazy, and telling on him would be a betrayal of epic proportions. I still worry. He has a good job, and a good career. He's good looking and periodically gets laid, he has friends, though not many, so I figure he's ok. But then something like this happens.
Gingrich, Palin, and Beck should take heed. No one's "crazy" until they pull the trigger. It's easy to see with 20/20 hindsight that Lougner was nuts: his disruptions in class, his extreme views. But who knows? If he'd met the right girl the week before, or got a good job, or came out of the closet, or whatever, the world would be a different place.
On the right, we're hearing the usual cries. Don't politicize this tragedy! He was crazy, not a party member! To the first, I say, how dare you? The right cynically exploited the murder of 2,000 Americans to enjoin two utterly useless, costly and destructive wars, that may have directly resulted in the murders of up to 60,000 Iraqis. Here, they used 911 as a political bludgeon to silence disent for six full years. How dare they? How stupid do they think we are?
To the second, I think I've answered that pretty well. No one's crazy until they pull the trigger. And I saw plenty of things this past summer that made me think the Right was in a downward spiral to madness.
Lastly, just as a comment. When these things happen--I wish that Facebook and other social medias wouldn't shut down the relevant page. The information is public if its out there, and I truly believe that we have a right to know. Maybe, shutting down links from them would be sensible, or eliminating "friends" so that they couldn't be tracked and hunted, but the content should remain up.