Shrine of the Skull

The New York Daily News had a look around Jared Loughner’s backyard, and found a camouflage tent containing “an alarming altar, with a skull sitting atop a pot filled with shriveled oranges.  A row of ceremonial candles and a bag of potting soil lay nearby.”  The altar has since been taken down, according to reports.  One of Loughner’s YouTube videos includes the declaration “No!  I won’t trust in God!”

Occult shrines don’t fit very well into the narrative of Loughner as a teabagging disciple of Sarah Palin.  After all, as the media relentlessly repeated under the old “Palin is a Christian fanatic” narrative, those folks tend to be more traditional in their religious beliefs.  They believe there’s only one God, and He’s not hanging around in your backyard, eagerly looking forward to His afternoon feeding.

Loughner was also a drug user, with a 2007 citation for possession of drug paraphernalia on his record.   People who knew him describe him as a leftist.  Listed among his favorite books is The Communist Manifesto.  He was apparently interested in anti-Semitic literature, although the Department of Homeland Security has declared no evidence of membership in one such organization they’ve been looking at.  (Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish.)  Anti-Semitism crops up at every point on the political spectrum, but its present incarnations, particularly among people Loughner’s age, mostly come from the Left, because of the Palestinian situation.  The mainstream Right – the very people media leftists are furiously attempting to blame for Loughner’s rampage – are almost universally staunch supporters of Israel.

He was also into computer games, although true gamers are a peaceful lot, because actual violence is difficult to perpetrate while eating Doritos.

None of these facts fit very well into the liberal attempt to paint Loughner as a creature of the Right.  Let me be perfectly clear: they don’t make him a creature of the Left, either.  He’s a nut, period.

Media liberals are slowly beginning to realize their frenzy over the weekend is blowing up in their faces, producing a glacial shift in the talking points.  Suddenly, the new narrative is that angry conservatives created a general “climate of hate,” which melted away whatever sanity remained to the Tucson shooter.

To accept this idea, in the face of growing evidence that Loughner’s obsessions were at the very least “bipartisan,” would be to embrace the notion that dissent from liberal orthodoxy is so toxic that even people with leftist sympathies are driven to violence by it.  That’s not a position that will resonate with moderate voters, and it looks like it’s even making centrist liberals queasy.  Taken to its logical conclusion, it’s a train of thought that ends with a Ministry of Acceptable Discourse, deciding which criticism of the government is too “incendiary” to permit.

The next fallback position for panicking liberals will be the “Everyone Should Just Shut Up” gambit, in which the Tucson shooting is proof that everybody on both Right and Left should just cool it.  That’s a nice little redoubt for a movement that just finished nationalizing industries and doubling the national debt.  Everyone should just shut up, so the government can continue quietly digesting the last chunks of the private sector.  Peace through submission?  I could swear I’ve heard that somewhere before.

Liberal media apparatchiks have doubled down on a losing bet.  Every hour brings new information about Loughner that moves him further away from the Tea Party boat they were trying to stuff him into.  The people they were trying to intimidate into submission are renewing their commitment to bold and fearless free speech, while the moderates they were trying to frighten away are looking at the Left with mounting horror.  Like every other attempt to silence American discourse with gunshots, this one will fail miserably.