Now, via the New York Times, there’s word that there was more going on in Jared Loughner’s headspace than odd-colored dreamscapes and cryptic theories about grammar. Before his attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Loughner ”
” Bank tellers were afraid of him, the Times reports, because of the “aggressive, often sexist things he said, including asserting that women should not be allowed to hold positions of power or authority.”
These bits of information appear in the 17th and 90th paragraphs of the Times story, a story dedicated to the thesis that the facts surrounding Loughner are “a curlicue of contradictory moments open to broad interpretation.”
Are they? Suppose the story said that Loughner “grew contemptuous of Jews” and went around “asserting that Jews should not be allowed to hold positions of power or authority,” even blurting anti-Semitic remarks to strangers. And then he went out and shot Giffords, a Jewish congressperson. Would his motives have seemed quite so incomprehensible? Would the Times have waited 17 paragraphs to get around to that fact?
Yet as it is, there are only glancing and scattered references to Loughner’s burning hatred of the kind of person he would allegedly choose to try to assassinate. The Times recounts that he was so hostile to a female college instructor that she told police she feared physical harm. He told a female bank employee that “she should not have any power.” According to
, he wrote “Die, bitch,” on a letter he had received from Giffords.
Maybe the accumulated evidence is contradictory if you’re trying to classify Loughner as an orthodox left-wing nut or an orthodox right-wing nut. But his membership in the anti-woman wing seems clear. Or is misogyny—even homicidal misogyny—too unremarkable for anyone to dwell on it?