Jared Lee Loughner should face justice for murdering six people and wounding 14 others. But the government’s decision to forcefully medicate the spree killer into some semblance of sanity so that he can stand trial in a criminal court is reprehensible. Loughner was not medicated at the time of the crime. To dope-up Loughner now and present the killer to a jury as a man who could separate right from wrong and understood the consequences of his actions is a sham. It would lead the jury’s attention away from Jared’s unintentional but nonetheless mission critical co-conspirators: the Pima County Sheriff’s Office (who knew of Loughner’s erratic behavior), Pima Community College (ditto) and the ATF (who received a heads-up on a dangerous person who might be armed) . . .

Clearly, the feds want to create a show trial to avenge the grievous head injury sustained by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords during the attack. They want Loughner to get the needle, rather than languish in the nuthouse. And the feds are willing to run roughshod over Loughner’s legal rights to do it.

Not that they’ll admit it. Prosecutors claim Loughner’s being force-fed meds by his jailers for his own good. ‘Cause of what other prisoners might do to him. Hang on; why can’t they just leave Jared Lee Loughner in solitary confinement?

Prison officials began forcibly medicating Loughner after concluding at an administrative hearing that he posed a danger at the prison . . .

Loughner was first forcibly medicated between June 21 and July 1, but an appeals court temporarily halted the medications after defense lawyers objected.

The forced medication resumed July 19 after prison officials concluded Loughner’s psychological condition was deteriorating, noting he had been pacing in circles near his cell door, screaming and crying for hours at a time.

Defense lawyers have repeatedly asked Burns and a federal appeals court to halt the forced medications.

Loughner’s medications include the sedative Lorazepam, the antidepressant Wellbutrin and Risperidone, a drug used for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe behavior problems.

So how’s that working out? If the beginning of the above report from abc.go.com is anything to go by, not so well . . .

[Prison Dr. Christina] Pietz said that when Loughner first arrived at the Missouri facility, he was convinced Giffords was dead, even though he was shown a video of the shooting.

“He believed it had been edited” by law enforcement, Pietz said.

Now that the 23-year-old is being forcibly medicated with psychotropic drugs, “he knows that she (Giffords) is alive.”

“He is less obsessed with that,” Pietz testified. “He understands that he has murdered people. He talks about it. He talks about how remorseful he is.”

Pietz added Loughner now makes eye contact with people and no longer has the inappropriate smirk seen at previous court hearings, which she described as a symptom of his mental illness. Burns also noted the absence of a smirk in issuing his ruling . . .

Pietz noted Loughner remains on suicide watch but is no longer having auditory hallucinations. Extending his stay at the Missouri facility by eight months will give him enough time to become mentally fit for trial, she told the judge.

“He has already made improvements, and he has only been on medication for 60 days,” she said. “Given the progress he has made today, I have no reason to think he wouldn’t continue to make progress.”

Less than an hour into the May 25 hearing, Loughner lowered his head to within inches of the courtroom table and then lifted his head and began a rant. “Thank you for the free kill. She died in front of me. Your cheesiness,” he said, according to court transcripts.

Loughner’s “progress” could be wishful thinking on Pietz’s part. The prison Doc certainly has skin in the game. She’s already gained fame from her encounters with Loughner. A book deal is sure to follow. A babbling, incoherent Loughner doesn’t make such good copy.

Sorry for being so cynical. I also apologize for standing up for the legal rights of a man who deserves to die. But the government is [potentially] a far more dangerous enemy than the Jared Lee Loughners of this world. If the feds are allowed to medicate citizens against their will and dress it up as kindness or justice, who knows what further abuses they’d cheerfully consider? Just sayin’ . . .

26 Responses to Why Can’t They Just Leave Jared Lee Loughner Alone?

  1. In what way is this different from the abhorrent practices of the Soviets who used psychiatry and claims of mental illness to institutionalize inconvenient, sane opponents of their regime?

    • Gee Dan,

      I suppose that would be that those were False Claims, on Inconvenient, Sane Opponents of an oppressive regime…….

      Where in this case they are True Claims, on a Mass Murderer, that is being Legally Tried by a Democratic Government.

  2. @Dan Zimmerman: That the United States is not the Soviet Union and these are recognized and legitimate medical practices throughout the civilized world?

    That Jared Loughner is by no stretch of the imagination a political dissident, or “sane,” but a deeply psychotic individual being held for the murder of six people?

    How many more differences do you want?

    • You had to work hard – or be willfully obtuse – to infer from my post that I was saying Loughner is a dissident. I was clearly talking about the government falsely claiming someone is either insane – or in this case, perfectly rational – because it’s convenient for them.

      Pumping a psycho full of drugs to make him appear sane to a judge and jury for the purposes of getting a first degree murder conviction is as much an abuse of power as the Soviets claiming dissidents had to be crazy because they criticized the workers’ paradise.

      • Well, there’s your first mistake. These drugs cannot make Loughner sane or “appear” sane. You guys don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • When you say “you guys” you are of course referring to his jailers and the feds who keep blocking Loughner’s lawyers attempts to discontinue the treatment.

        • Actually, that’s precisely the point we are making, and it is the JUDGE who does not seem to understand that.

          “Extending his stay at the Missouri facility by eight months will give him enough time to become mentally fit for trial, she told the judge.

          “He has already made improvements, and he has only been on medication for 60 days,” she said. “Given the progress he has made today, I have no reason to think he wouldn’t continue to make progress.””

          See what I mean?

          Also, whether or not you like it, Loughner IS a dissident. Sanity is not required for such, and Loughner clearly lacks it, but it is a hard fact. He disagreed with the political establishment, and so he went out and killed an elected official with whom he disagreed; That fits the definition for “dissident” as defined by Merriam-Webster:

          “Dissident: disagreeing especially with an established religious or political system, organization, or belief”

        • I’m not following you here when you say, “These drugs cannot make Loughner sane or ‘appear’ sane.” Are you suggesting that once someone has had a psychotic break, they are insane forever – irretrievable? Many anti-psychotic drugs have been found to reverse pyschotic states, and while it is difficult for the patient sometimes to reconcile the memory or experience of their previously psychotic state with their new non-psychotic state, it is by no means impossible.

          If you are saying that it is unfair and unethical to reverse his psychosis for the period of the trial (because it leads the jury to believe he was never psychotic in the first place), then I would agree.

        • @Phil H: This is not a hypothetical person with a hypothetical disorder being treated with hypothetical drugs for the sake of your hypothetical discussion. This is one real person and they’ve got him on Risperidone, Wellbutrin, and Lorazepam. What does that tell you?

        • You continue to mystify, which is perhaps your intention.

          You said that drugs could not make Loughner sane or appear sane. Since you are not his psychiatrist, I can only assume that you are making a blanket assessment of the ability of any psychopharmaceutical to effect a positive change in a psychotic person.

          The truth is, while the influence of such drugs is less predictable than we would like, most psychotic people become less psychotic when they are treated.

          I am not Loughner’s psychiatrist. I do not know what meds he was on before, I do not know what meds he has already been given, I do not know what his reactions so far have been. They have him on three medications. I assume they are monitoring his responses and adjusting his dosages, which is what any responsible psychiatrist would do, given the fact that no matter how well researched any psychopharmaceutical is, its impact on any individual can never be predicted, and must always be monitored and nearly always adjusted.

          If Loughner had not tried to kill a congresswoman, there is nothing about the protocol here that would give any responsible person pause.

          Now, whether the government is shotgunning meds at him in order to create a facade of sanity for his trial is a very, very different question.

          I was reacting to your statement, “These drugs cannot make Loughner sane or “appear” sane. You guys don’t know what you’re talking about.”

          Some of these guys do know what they are talking about.

  3. RF says: “But the government is a far more dangerous enemy than the Jared Lee Loughners of this world.”

    I have no comment. Mainly, I just wanted to make you aware of your own statement.

    • I stand by my comment, although I’ll throw the word “potential” in there to avoid out-of-context misunderstanding. Text amended.

    • Hey, Magoo, your ignorance is showing, again.

      How did all those people die at Waco? How many deaths can be laid at the door of the Soviet government? Japanese government during WWII?

      Government is always more dangerous than a lone wolf like Loughner. You leftists never want to understand or learn from the lessons of history. Nor do you have any respect for the Founding Fathers, who rightly feared an out of control government.

      • Well, that went straight over your head. Any government ever created is *potentially* more dangerous than one murderer like Loughner. It’s quite another thing to say that our government is more dangerous than Loughner, and the word for that thing is demogogy.

        • I added the word “potential” so that casual readers don’t misunderstand or misquote me, suggesting that I think the U.S. government is currently involved in spree killing. Or that the feds are in imminent danger of committing or enabling acts of murder against U.S. citizens. Operation Fast and Furious and other exceptions aside, of course.

      • I’d add to that the fact that, in just the twentieth century alone, governments of the world can be held directly responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths.

        The twenty first century is well on track to being even more bloody than the one preceding it.

        With a track record like that, how bad could anarchy possibly be?

  4. “Clearly, the feds want to create a show trial to avenge the grievous head injury sustained by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords during the attack”.

    Compared to the shooting of an average American citizen, shooting a politician results in a sentence more severe. I suspect that revenge for the shooting of one its own club members is part of the reason government wants a show trial. Then the trial itself, along with lots of media attention, of the accused provides ammo to the government and gun-control groups calling for banning high capacity magazines and more restrictive gun laws. No new laws will probably occur because of this one event. Rather, I see it as just another propaganda move to rationalize more gun control.

  5. As a defense attorney who has been concerned for human rights during my entire career, I can only say f^ck that murdering bastard.

    • I honestly have no problem with him getting the death penalty , insane or not. But their way of going about it is a disgusting abuse of our system.

      • Mike, are you a defense lawyer too like Ralph? You both seem to have the requisite compassion and understanding of legal competence.

        Loughner should be in a mental institution for the rest of his life. No trial for murder and certainly no death penalty as a vengeance-driven punishment.

        But that’s not how it’ll go is it?

  6. It’s pity one of the people who tackled him didn’t draw their carried gun and dispense with this piece of trash. That he had coming. Now we jerk around with him for years, where in the end he’ll get an insanity plea and live his days at our expense.

    I’d medicate him with the three drugs at executions.

  7. Robert,
    You need a very stiff drink, a good woman, a big dump, and a long vacation.
    It sounds like you have had none of the above in quite some time.
    Kill the guy.
    Of course he’s NUTS,,,, He’s EVIL!!!

  8. It always interests me how these discussions go. So often a discussion of the practices of the government is lost in questions of what the defendant deserves for being an evil, murdering scumbag. I have no desire to mount a defense of JLL, nor do I believe that RF is mounting such a defense. This is truly about what is appropriate for the government to do within the context of the rights of the citizens. And in this case the government is forcibly medicating a man so they can try him. That should disturb us. I’ve not followed the proceedings, so I’m not sure what legal steps have been taken regarding his medical custodianship, findings of his mental status, procedures to establish his mental care, etc. And these would be of critical importance in evaluating the actions of the state in this case. That being said, he has not been tried, he has not been found legally guilty, this is not a settled case. The interests of the prosecutors and the interests of the defendant are at cross-purposes here, and any assumption that what the state does is for the benefit of JLL should be met with extreme skepticism and his defense lawyers should be taking steps to limit the state’s activities in regards to their client. Pre-trial detention is not a finding of guilt, it is not a conviction, and it is not license for the state to pursue whatever activity they wish in the pursuit of a trial win. And we should all have concern with the state’s activities here and elsewhere, not out of sympathy for JLL, but out of a desire to protect the integrity of our judicial system and prevent abuses incurred under color of law by individuals seeking retribution, fame, glory…or even justice.

    Again, to be perfectly clear, this is not about protecting JLL. I want the prosecution to proceed with a case against this man, to do everything within the law to prove his guilt in court, and see him sentenced for his crimes once that guilt is proven. Within the law.

    JSG

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