Loughner's Killings: Tragedy, not Atrocity
There are killers - such as Jeffrey Dahmer or Eric Harris - who are creeps or monsters and evoke loathing and shock. And then there are killers who are as much victims as are the people they murder. In the first case, we see atrocity; in the second case we see tragedy. The last is the case with Jared Lee Loughner.
Loughner's prison photo after the shooting did not even look like himself. He looked totally crazy and happy to be a killer. Once Loughner got his medication, his true character shined through. He refused to plead insanity and agreed to life in prison without parole. He expressed sadness and regret over the killings, especially over the killing of a child. He also stated that things might have been different if he had been on his medication.
This is definitely not a monster. Indeed, this is not even a bad person. This is someone with decency and compassion, who had the misfortune of having become mentally ill. He had severe schizophrenia; which suspended his judgment and reason and made him susceptible to all sorts of nastiness, including the hateful garbage that political talk radio and TV were spewing out at the time. He became obsessed with the Constitution. Then he shot a Democratic congresswoman from his state.
Loughner has claimed responsibility for the killings; but I do not place the responsibility for the killings with Loughner. I place it with the irresponsible garbage that some people spew on the political channels. It got to a young man who was severely mentally ill, and the result has been several people dead, including a nine-year-old child. There are many in politics who claim that free speech does not mean the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater. But they do believe that free speech means the right to spew lies, poison and malice for everyone to consume, and for some to take on its face value.
Loughner's killings were not an atrocity; they were a tragedy. A decent person who happened to be severely ill was influenced by the rubbish in the liar media to become a killer. If I consider Gabrielle Gifford's character correctly, she will work to either set Loughner free or to reduce his sentence. I would do the same thing in case a decent person shot me while in the middle of a psychotic episode.