The Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley sent out a campus-wide email reflecting on the mass-murder and attempted assassination in Tucson, AZ. In this note, he states, “I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons.” There is of course not a scrap of evidence to support this asseveration. It is bare and unrepentant calumny.
The black irony is that the Chancellor’s bigotry extends to the victim herself. For Rep. Giffords did, in fact, support the Arizona immigration law.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, said her constituents were “sick and tired” of the federal government failing to protect the border. The current situation is “completely unacceptable,” she said.
Giffords defended the Arizona law. She acknowledged the concerns about the bill's constitutionality but said it is a “clear calling that the federal government needs to do a better job” securing the border.
Meanwhile, we have prominent liberal commentators continuing to push the “right-wing vitriol” slander right in the teeth of all the actual evidence we have. My friend Pejman Yousefzadeh has been collating the dreadful facts of this smear.
We know now that the shooter betrayed a deranged obsession with Rep. Giffords as far back as 2007, before anyone knew who Sarah Palin was and before most people even knew who Barack Obama was. We know that he had erected an occult shrine in his backyard, and spoke neurotically to friends about his fixation with dreams and his lunatic notions of controlling reality through dreams. We know that his derangement was evident to classmates and acquaintances, to the extent that several went on record to various authorities with concerns of violence. We have suggestions that the Pima County Sheriff’s Office was well aware of the young man’s instability before the shooting.
What we don’t have is a shred of evidence linking this wicked man to right-wing vitriol. The Pima County Sheriff’s irresponsibility in propagating this lie — which he began with his very first major presser, long before he had the facts in hand — should in all justice cost him his job and his reputation. Yesterday on television he made a half-apology, saying that he had been very emotional, which (it is supposed) explains his slanders of his countrymen. Similarly, no one will ever again persuade me to trust Paul Krugman to marshal facts honestly. If he will go on lying about this, of course he will not scruple to manipulate economic data.
Basically what happened here is that a young man sunk in depravity played out his lunacy in front of a grocery store, showing his bravery by targeting old folks, women and children; and in response to this outrage, parts of the Left went in for the most base opportunism, leveling wild accusations, passing on groundless insinuations, and for the better part of a weekend giving themselves over to bigotry, hatred and malice.
UPDATE below the fold.
Well isn’t this interesting? It turns out Arizona has a very flexible mental illness statute:
Jared Loughner could have been involuntarily admitted for evaluation under Arizona's progressive mental health laws long before he allegedly showed up at a Tucson grocery store parking lot with a semi-automatic pistol, mental health professionals say. [. . .] Arizona allows for family, friends or even acquaintances to petition a local court for a mental evaluation, said Suzanne Hodges, chief compliant officer at the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, the group that provides mental health treatment for Pima County, where the shooting occurred. The court would have then sent someone to interview Loughner and determine if he needed treatment — even if he was not an imminent danger to himself or others, as most other state require. Being in such treatment would have prevented him from purchasing a handgun, according to Arizona's gun laws.
Then there is this:
The police were sent to the home where Jared L. Loughner lived with his family on more than one occasion before the attack here on Saturday that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and six others dead, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said on Tuesday. [. . .]
A friend of Mr. Loughner’s also said in an interview on Tuesday that Mr. Loughner, 22, was skilled with a gun — as early as high school — and had talked about a philosophy of fostering chaos.
The news of police involvement with the Loughners suggests that county sheriff’s deputies were at least familiar with the family, even if the reason for their visits was unclear as of Tuesday night.
The account by Mr. Loughner’s friend, a rare extended interview with someone close to Mr. Loughner in recent years, added some details to the emerging portrait of the suspect and his family.
“He was a nihilist and loves causing chaos, and that is probably why he did the shooting, along with the fact he was sick in the head,” said Zane Gutierrez, 21, who was living in a trailer outside Tucson and met Mr. Loughner sometimes to shoot at cans for target practice. [. . .]
The new details from Mr. Gutierrez about Mr. Loughner — including his philosophy of anarchy and his expertise with a handgun, suggest that the earliest signs of behavior that may have ultimately led to the attacks started several years ago.
Mr. Gutierrez said his friend had become obsessed with the meaning of dreams and their importance. He talked about reading Friedrich Nietzsche’s book “The Will To Power” and embraced ideas about the corrosive, destructive effects of nihilism — a belief in nothing. And every day, his friend said, Mr. Loughner would get up and write in his dream journal, recording the world he experienced in sleep and its possible meanings.
I repeat what I said above: The Pima County Sheriff’s irresponsibility should in all justice cost him his job and his reputation.