Charles Krauthammer draws on his training as a psychiatrist to review the evidence regarding attempted assassin Jared Loughner. He concludes that Loughner is a paranoid schizophrenic. Krauthammer notes that Lougner’s obsession with Rep. Giffords dates from 2007, a fact that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and his ilk have found it convenient to overlook:
[T]he available evidence dates Loughner’s fixation on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to at least 2007, when he attended a town hall of hers and felt slighted by her response. In 2007, no one had heard of Sarah Palin. Glenn Beck was still toiling on Headline News. There was no Tea Party or health-care reform. The only climate of hate was the pervasive post-Iraq campaign of vilification of George W. Bush, nicely captured by a New Republic editor who had begun an article thus: “I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it.”
The New York Times assigned three reporters to profile Loughner. Krauthammer appears to have drawn from it for his column. It is full of evidence supporting Krauthammer’s thesis, such as this salient quotation from one of Loughner’s friends:
“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.
Gutierrez also offers these observations:
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.
“Jared felt nothing existed but his subconscious,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “The dream world was what was real to Jared, not the day-to-day of our lives.”
And that dream world, his friend said, could be downright strange.
“He would ask me constantly, ‘Do you see that blue tree over there?’ He would admit to seeing the sky as orange and the grass as blue,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “Normal people don’t talk about that stuff.”
He added that Mr. Loughner “used the word hollow to describe how fake the real world was to him.”
Krauthammer closes with an exit question of pertinence to the rest of the media that have taken their cue from Krugman’s ravings of this past Saturday: “The origins of Loughner’s delusions are clear: mental illness. What are the origins of Krugman’s?”