Today In Bad Anti-Islamophobe Arguments

Roger Cohen tries to compare alleged Oslo terrorist Anders Behring Breivik to Jared Lee Loughner:

On one level Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian responsible for the biggest massacre by a single gunman in modern times, is just a particularly murderous psychotic loner: the 32-year-old mama’s boy with no contact with his father, obsessed by video games (Dragon Age II) as he preens himself (“There was a relatively hot girl on [sic] the restaurant today checking me out”) and dedicates his time in asexual isolation to the cultivation of hatred and the assembly of a bomb from crushed aspirin and fertilizer.

No doubt, that is how Islamophobic right-wingers in Europe and the United States who share his views but not his methods will seek to portray Breivik.

We’ve seen the movie. When Jared Loughner shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords this year in Tuscon, Arizona — after Sarah Palin placed rifle sights over Giffords’ constituency and Giffords herself predicted that “there are consequences to that” — the right went into overdrive to portray Loughner as a schizophrenic loner whose crazed universe owed nothing to those fanning hatred under the slogan of “Take America Back.” (That non-specific taking-back would of course be from Muslims and the likes of the liberal and Jewish Giffords.)

Okay look, I can't believe we're still here, but there's no evidence any Tea Party-type animus inspired Loughner, whereas Breivik's anti-Muslim political views are quite clearly expressed in his lengthy 1,500-page manifesto. Loughner was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in May. Conservatives aren't just making excuses for themselves when they say Loughner is mentally ill; he is quite literally mentally ill.

Conversely, we have no evidence that Breivik's alleged actions were caused by mental illness. So while it's disingenuous for conservatives to dismiss Breivik as some generic psychopath, it's equally nonsense for Cohen to pretend that "the right" is portraying Loughner as mentally ill, unless "the right" includes the judge in Loughner's case.

Also, I have no idea what Amy Winehouse is doing in this column. 

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