What were Jared Loughner’s Politics?

When a very probably mentally ill person kills a judge and a young child, that person’s politics are not terribly relevant. The cause is usually mental illness, not political ideology. But even if you don’t agree with me on that point, the current attacks on conservatives over this shooting are at least premature, since we don’t yet know what Jared Loughner’s politics were.

On the issue of Loughner’s politics, so far one person claiming to have been a friend of Loughner’s has come forward. Her Twitter account is under the name Caitie Parker. She begins by retweeting other people’s comments blaming Sarah Palin:

• democracynow RT @felixsalmon Sarah Palin *literally* put a gun sight on @Rep_Giffords. See Palin’s map: http://bit.ly/fLwY2g about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck Retweeted by caitieparker and 100+ others
• tcmassie Rep. Giffords was on #Palin’s infamous “target” map: http://usat.ly/e4NSjp Today she was shot in Tuscon. What is the US turning into? #p2 about 3 hours ago via web Retweeted by caitieparker and 100+ others

Then she finds out the gunman’s name and reveals that she was in a band with him and attended high school and college with him. Parker reports that (in 2007 at least) Loughner was a “political radical” and “was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.”

• Saying Jared Laughner was the gunman. Really hoping that’s not the same guy I went to HS with, really good friend. Freaking out right now!!! about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone
• Official I went to high school & college, & was in a band w/ the gunman. I can’t even fathom this right now. about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone
I went to high school, college, & was in a band with the gunman. This tragedy has just turned to horrific. 43 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
• I can. That is him. 39 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in ’07, asked her a question & he told me she was “stupid & unintelligent” 37 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
he was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix,The Doors, Anti-Flag. I haven’t seen him in person since ’07 in a sign language class 35 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy. 33 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone
• he had a lot of friends until he got alcohol poisoning in ’06, & dropped out of school. Mainly loner very philosophical. 29 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
more left. I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He became very reclusive. 27 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to noboa
I haven’t seen him since ’07. Then, he was left wing. 25 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to lakarune
• it’s loughner just checked my year book. less than 20 seconds ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
• This is a circus. Good Morning America just called me. less than 5 seconds ago via Twitter for iPhone

Three things to note:

1. Parker doesn’t claim to know Loughner’s current politics, only those circa 2007.

2. Given the vagaries of the internet and social media, things may not be what they appear to be.

3. Again, whatever Loughner’s politics, his probable mental state and mental problems are likely to be both the proximate and the ultimate cause of his actions, not any political orientation he might have.

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