Jared Loughner, 21, is crazy as in not responsible for his actions, and I’m not talking about “Okay, I’ll act crazy and that way I won’t get the death penalty” crazy. He had a commented-on-by-all-his-friends psychological breakdown as he transitioned from high school into the ‘real’ world, and had been a basket case for several years before he went on that Tucson, Arizona killing spree last January. His craziness was often noticed, he lost his job, he lost his volunteer ‘job’, he was kicked out of classrooms and community college, and police were called, repeatedly. Still, it won’t matter, will it? Once it gets a mental competency ruling, and the feds are forcing drugs on Loughner in order to achieve that, the U.S. government will probably eventually kill Jared Loughner.

Then there’s Anders Breivik, 32, who started a functioning business, from around the year 2000 began to formulate his ‘resistance’ plans, joined political action groups and apparently a terrorist cell, published a 1,500-page (partly plagiarized) manifesto, and seemed on-the-surface-normal as for nine years he cultivated a parallel life in order to disguise his ‘martyrdom’. A final contrast with Loughner is Breivik’s detailed planning for ‘his’ massacre, down to the bullets chosen so as to maximize internal damage.

Another way to look at the two is that Loughner, if he ever accepts treatment may someday find himself cured of what is apparently paranoid schizophrenia. But Breivik’s sickness is his beliefs, which have been right-wing since he was a teenager and then evolved into a (carefully planned) action phase many years ago. Beliefs can’t be cured, only changed, but beliefs and the actions they inspire are also something people must take responsibility for. Mental illness is different, but unfortunately not different enough under our current revenge-fueled Crazy Law.

Let’s also be clear that Breivik has been accepted by and long posted within a large and angry anti-Islamic-and-anti-immigrant European blogosphere. He’s a good ol’ boy on that scene, not an isolated loner as some on the right want him to be. But despite that angry atmosphere he was careful never to mention his murderous plans. Again both sharp constrasts with Loughner, who, wherever he wandered on the nets, gave off a sharp ‘KRAZY’ vibe which he seemed not in control of or fully aware of.

Breivik deserves the worst the law can throw at him. Loughner should be treated for his mental illness or the public should be protected from him if he refuses treatment. I don’t back down from what I said back in January:

Speculatively …, if Loughner is definitely ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ and gets effective treatment (apparently there are effective drugs) and stays on it, then yes, definitely, he should be allowed to be “out among people” at some point. For protection of the community, he should be required to live in a halfway house for the mentally ill, where they would make sure he takes his drugs every day.

The above is common sense. Why would you keep someone who is no longer ‘deranged’ behind bars (forever?) if he is not a danger to the community? Revenge? Punishment for an act that, in his right mind, he would not have committed? Yes, that’s right, that’s exactly why Loughner’ll never be free and may actually end up being killed by the state [or by the federal government].