The past 36 hours have been a constant circle of finger-pointing, denial, finger-pointing, and more denial with a heavy dose of false equivalence thrown in. Conservatives say Loughner's liberal; liberals say he's conservative. Neither one is true. At best, Jared Lee Loughner was an anarchist in how he viewed his impact on the external world. And he was a man with a grudge.
Mother Jones has an exclusive interview with a friend that confirms the hunch I've had all day. His politics had nothing to do with his actions. That isn't to say that incendiary speech didn't function as a trigger. I believe it did, much the way that Glenn Beck's politics are also chaotic and incoherent. This was the standout comment for me:
Since hearing of the rampage, Tierney has been trying to figure out why Loughner did what he allegedly did. "More chaos, maybe," he says. "I think the reason he did it was mainly to just promote chaos. He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what's happening. He wants all of that." Tierney thinks that Loughner's mindset was like the Joker in the most recent Batman movie: "He f*cks things up to f*ck sh*t up, there's no rhyme or reason, he wants to watch the world burn. He probably wanted to take everyone out of their monotonous lives: 'Another Saturday, going to go get groceries'—to take people out of these norms that he thought society had trapped us in."
When you view his videos or incoherent ramblings on various websites in that light, things fall into place. Giffords may have represented someone who he once admired who disappointed him. It's possible that his obsession with conscious ("conscience") dreaming had skewed his thinking into believing he could commit a crime like he did and it would simply be another dream, that there "was no reality",
Loughner believed that dreams could be a sort of alternative, Matrix-style reality, and "that when you realize you're dreaming you can do anything, you can create anything," Tierney says.
Even chaos. Even death, because if it's all an invention of one's dreams, it's not real, and therefore has no consequences.
So how does that fit with all the theories about Palin's graphic and the incendiary speech which just grinds and grinds on a daily basis?
If one is looking for a place to create chaos, what better place than our political landscape, where the most unreal things are already said and done? As Dave Neiwert says, the fact that his mental health is in question doesn't mean there weren't triggers to put the focus on a political target. What better way for a guy who had been rejected by not one, but two authoritarian entities -- school and the military -- to "dream" a way to kill authority?
This is the nuance no one seems to comprehend as they gabble and haw on cable networks a zillion hours a day. When the gibberish that Glenn Beck spews on a daily basis isn't far off from the videos Loughner made, it's a ready-made Petri dish for chaos.
This was a young man who was clearly unstable and in desperate need of mental health services. I no longer question his politics, but I do wonder how it is that he was able to pass through two different waypoints where warning bells sounded, yet he was not treated nor was any attempt made to get treatment for him.
And what of his parents? They've been noticeably absent from everything. Were they paying attention or denying what was in front of them? The description of his father in this New York Times article is pretty unflattering.
Jared Lee Loughner was not conservative or liberal. He was disturbed, he hated authority, and had a grudge against Gabrielle Giffords. His thinking was so distorted he focused on meaningless structural wanderings, like grammar and literacy. He was able to get a gun and a whole lot of bullets, and use them.
After seeing the senseless waste he's left behind, it seems to me we'd be better off considering the cost of stripping mental health services from state and federal budgets rather than arguing about what his politics are.
Update: With regard to his parents, it looks as though there may possibly be more than meets the eye. Just saw this report about them blockading their home not only from reporters, but also from the FBI. This could end up being ugly.
At about 12:25 p.m., agents began banging on the blockade built with 4-by-4 double-thick plywood, yelling, "This is the FBI. Let us in." The blockade is preventing access to the front porch of the home.
Some agents were sent behind the house, and media representatives could hear the agents talking with someone from inside the house.
12:50PM AZ Central has now updated their article to say FBI did gain access to parents after speaking to them from the back yard.