On Loughner

More

I didn't have internet for much of the weekend, and so I found out about the lamentable acts of Jared Loughner rather late. Perhaps that's a good thing. You've probably already seen this, but I think it's worth checking out James Fallows' initial thoughts and his follow-up. It's my sense that you guys will want to toss this around a bit. Here is your space.


As for my own thoughts, there are mostly hazy and subject to revision as more information comes to light. They are as follows:

1.) I would never put gun-sights on the districts of my political opponents. Should violence break out, I don't even want to be in the conversation as a factor--contributing or causal. We may never know what caused Loughner to snap. But at night, I'd like the security of knowing that it could not have possibly been me. Perhaps Sarah Palin has that sense of security. I can't know.

2.)  As appalled as I've been over the past couple of years by ads like this, veiled allusions to insurrection, and the otherizing of the president, I've found arguments drawing connections between a "climate of hate" and Loughner unpersausive. Simply put, the case that far-right rhetoric contributed or caused this killing spree strikes me as squishy, and, at the moment, unprovable. In The Times and Post this morning, there are some of the calling-cards of the conspiratorial right. But more relevant, there are hallmarks of severe mental problems, and a troubled home-life. 

3.) I'm amazed at the ease with which you can procure an instrument that will allow you to kill six people, and wound fourteen others, in a matter of minutes. And not just an instrument for which killing is incidental, but one that is made for that purpose. Gail Collins is instructive here. 
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In