A mad man

A deadly shooting in Arizona last year had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with mental illness.

The deranged gunman who killed six people and wounded 13 at an Arizona shopping mall in January 2011 pleaded guilty this week and accepted a sentence of life in prison.

It seems like a long time ago that 23-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, whose severe mental illness was obvious to all who saw him, performed his evil deed and, in the process, provoked a national debate about the need for civility in our political discourse.

Many people have probably forgotten about him, perhaps because Loughner's mad act had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with his mentally deluded view of the world.

The Loughner case took on a political tone because one of his victims was U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and Loughner showed up at one of Giffords' meet-and-greet sessions and started shooting. Before the smoke had cleared, various pundits and politicians were charging that Loughner's action was the result of overheated political rhetoric aimed by Republicans at Democrats.

There wasn't much evidence for that charge at the time it was made. Subsequent review of what happened and Loughner's personal and medical history, including his obsession with Giffords based on some perceived slight by her against him, revealed no evidence to support it.

Loughner, it turned out, was just another schizophrenic mad man who was not in touch with reality. He will need treatment the rest of his life just to keep him mentally fit. That's not as juicy an explanation of his conduct as the original political hysteria. But that's the way it turned out.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on August 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

Another "mad man" with a gun.  If no restrictions are placed on guns; there must be better background checks made on who buys a gun.  All of the mass killings in this country over the past couple of years were done by "mad men" with guns.  That does not count the killings of individuals which is a much higher number.  If guns are going to be sold like cars, there must be a more comprehensive background check of the buyer.  You have to have a driver's license indicating that you passed a driving test to buy a car.  You have to pass a background check to renew your driver's license.  You have to pass a background check if you move to another state, and obtain a driver's license.  Buying a gun, and legally possessing one is much easier than buying a car, and having a driver's license.  Yet, guns are more deadly in the wrong hands.  The Massachusetts attorney who recently was arrested for carrying a gun into the new Batman movie presents a good point.  He is licensed to carry a gun in his state.  He stated that he was concerned about his safety since the movie let out at 1:00 a.m.  He was arrested when other movie patrons called the police in a panic when they saw the gun.  He contends that he legally has the right to carry his gun where ever he chooses; and that he was wrongfully arrested.  The same scenario applies to a "mad man" with a legal gun, and a conceal-and-carry permit.