Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of killing six people and seriously wounding thirteen others, including former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, plead guilty yesterday in federal court in a deal that will prevent prosecutors from seeking the death penalty. Here is the money quote from Attorney General Eric Holder: “It is my hope that this decision will allow the Tucson community, and the nation, to continue the healing process free of what would likely be extended trial and pre-trial proceedings that would not have a certain outcome. The prosecutors and agents assigned to this matter have done an outstanding job and have ensured that justice has been done,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “In making the determination not to seek the death penalty, I took into consideration the views of the victims and survivor families, the recommendations of the prosecutors assigned to the case, and the applicable law.”(Emphasis added.) Holder is by far the worst attorney general in American history, but it is fun to listen to him rationalize his actions to the public. The man is terrible at both outright lying and presenting the truth in a way palatable for the public. The latter is the problem here. Loughner, who was clearly mentally ill at the time of the shooting, has been given a deal that he will not face the death penalty if he foregoes pleading insanity and takes life in prison because, as holder admits, Loughner might not be sufficiently punished if an insanity defense works. This sort of plea bargaining happens all the time, whether the general public understands that. Very few criminal cases actually earn a full blown trial because guilt or innocence is not in doubt all that often, defendants cannot afford lawyers willing to go the distance, and the overburdened criminal justice system needs to move people through. It is somewhat odd such a high profile case I being buried so quickly--one assumes lawyers have been colliding with themselves racing to represent Loughner for the career notoriety-- but it is not only happening, but blatantly so. In holder’s own words, it is so there is no chance Loughner will escape an emotionally satisfactory punishment. What gets me is how desperately the prosecution was to avoid Loughner’s all but certain insanity defense. Look at the mug shot photo of this guy right after his arrest: There is an awful lot in psychology, such as repressed memories and even profiling, which is a lot of hooey. But schizophrenia is not one of those. You can easily look at Loughner the way he was at the time of his arrest and know he was a crazy man. He stood in court yesterday, clear headed because of the proper medical treatment he has been receiving in prison, the complete opposite of what he was in that mug shot. An insanity plea definitely would have worked to any observer comparing the two images. I am walking a fine line here between feeling sympathy and accepting dark reality. Loughner’s mental illness went unchecked until it was too late. For that, I sympathize. It appears history has repeated itself with the Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, and that is an even bigger tragedy since it shows we have learned nothing. I am also accepting of the reality that Loughner was going to be locked away, either in jail or institutionalized, for the rest of his life as he should be. One wonders, however, he his case has not been mishandled because seeing him thrown jail forever feels more emotionally satisfying than seeing him hospitalized forever. The question is why? On the one hand, I wonder if there is political motivation. He used a gun, which is a no no. He shot a Democrat congressmen, which is a definite no no. Loughner is also from Arizona, which is currently the most hated state in the country now as far a progressives are concerned. In this sense, I am reminded of the anti-death penalty advocates who remained quiet when Timothy McViegh was sentenced to die because his motivation for the Oklahoma City bombing was the unforgivable sin of hating the federal government when the same progressives will call the death penalty inhumane for any and all other heinous crimes. Sexually assaulting children, you may recall, is no longer worthy of death as determined by the progressive working majority of the Supreme court. On the other hand, I have read the comment sections of a number of articles reporting on Loughner’s plea deal and note the responses describing all the tortures people think Loughner should suffer, either theoretically or fates in prison. I will bet these folks do not see only difference between their desires to see Lougher strung up by his toes from a tree and beaten to death like a pinata or gang raped everyday in prison until the day he dies is that Loughner acted out his violent fantasies while they--thankfully--only spout them off on the internet. There is nothing about this entire sad scenario that is not an enormously depressing comment on culture in general.
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