Jared Lee Loughner escapes the death penalty.2:50 PM, Aug 9, 2012 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and injured thirteen others (including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) last year near Tucson, cut a deal yesterday: By agreeing to plead guilty to perpetrating the massacre, federal prosecutors in return spared the 23-year-old from the death penalty.
But why would Eric Holder’s Justice Department agree to this? Loughner clearly had no leverage, and a conviction was never in doubt. He was even arrested at the scene of the crime, where police found the weapon used in the crime and multiple eyewitnesses.
Perhaps the prosecutors have a philosophical opposition to the death penalty. (Though they could have accounted for this by neglecting to seek it in a trial.) Or, as several press accounts indicate, they may have wished to spare the victims from having to relive that terrible day by testifying. Or this might just be another example of our legal system’s addiction to plea-bargaining— some 90 percent of criminal cases are now resolved through plea-bargains rather than trials by jury. Or, perhaps, the prosecution mistook an admission of guilt for an expression of remorse.
There may be legitimate justifications for sparing Loughner’s life. His sanity at the time that he committed his heinous crime, for example, is an open question. Yet there is something disquieting about this resolution. The mere act of pleading guilty should not be sufficient reason for a man who took six lives (and shattered countless others) to be spared his own.
2:45 PM, Jan 14, 2011 • By KELLEY CURRIE
Americans don't really need another reason not to link the senseless actions of a deranged individual in Tucson to the tenor of American political discourse, but it is worth considering how accusations that the lunatic shooter in Tucson was influenced by our political rhetoric feed directly into the narrative about democracy—American and otherwise—promoted by authoritarian countries such as China, whose president Hu Jintao is visiting Washington next week.
1:15 PM, Jan 13, 2011 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
President Obama’s speech in Tucson was fine, as far as it went. The protocol in such circumstances seems to require presidents to call for healing, unity, civility, fellowship, and a determination to move forward, as well as a shout-out to heroes and victims. The president appears to have done all this, and with generally satisfactory results; I leave it to others to debate whether he failed or succeeded.
8:49 PM, Jan 12, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
As prepared for delivery:
To the families of those we’ve lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.
10:33 AM, Jan 12, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Jennifer Rubin wonders whether the planned memorial service tonight in Tucson is appropriate. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, "The service is set for 8 p.m. Eastern time at the University of Arizona's basketball arena, the school said. It will include a Native American blessing, a moment of silence, a poetry reading and the presentation of a chain featuring messages from members of the public, the school announced."
10:12 AM, Jan 12, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with Juan Williams and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
5:17 PM, Jan 11, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
In response to Saturday's shooting spree in Tucscon, Rep. Peter King (R, N.Y.) has announced that he's planning on introducing legislation to make it illegal for American citizens to knowingly carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress.
3:20 PM, Jan 11, 2011 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
There has been no shortage of individuals and institutions that have sought to capitalize on the shootings in Tucson. Add Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to that list.
This afternoon Sanders sent out a fundraising appeal, seeking to raise money to fight Republicans and other “right-wing reactionaries” responsible for the climate that led to the shooting.
8:44 AM, Jan 11, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
The AP reports:
Doctors treating Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Monday the congresswoman was responding to verbal commands by raising two fingers of her left hand and even managed to give a thumbs-up.
9:21 AM, Jan 10, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Paul Krugman writes on the Arizona shooting in his New York Times column today:
it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.