Jared Loughner is crazy, to be sure. And in our new tone of civility I'm reluctant to join the chorus of finger pointers who've blamed everyone but him for the horrific shootings more than a week ago. But as we still try to come to terms with why exactly this all happened, I can't help but wonder whether Hollywood and our culture of celebrity, with its fame obsession, deserves some of the blame.
Photos of Loughner posing in colorful underwear with his gun have been reportedly found on his computer. Similar photos (sans thong) were released of Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-hui, in macho action-figure poses, with his weapons flexed.
This sort of thing has become part of the modern-day vanity of today's psycho-killer, along with rambling manifestos, eerie Web postings and a sordid collection of creepy paraphernalia, all staged, it would seem, to create the perfect "E! True Hollywood" retrospective of the killer — the sort of publicity to which Jack the Ripper didn't have recourse.
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