We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Makes me melancholy for home. When I was 12 I was ganged pressed into helping bring in the wheat crop at my cousins "Wheat Ranch" in the Golden Triangle in Montana (North - Central part of the state).
The migrant crews hadn't made it to their part of the state yet but the crop was ripe and had to be cut. There may have been a hail storm predicted in a few days but I can't recall now.
So I learned how to drive a grain truck that late summer. Nothing like be stuck in the truck cab on hot, dry days with the windows rolled up while the combine is shooting grain into the back of the truck. I was scared S.....less when I started, thinking that I would crash or screw up. However, before long I felt I was a pro when I did the dreaded double clutch action. I only drove for a couple of days before the migrants and some other ranchers showed up to finish the job. I didn't get my driver's license until four years later.
Speaking of encountering political crazies like Loughner, and whether observant folks can sense rather promptly whether these people represent a real danger to those normal people around them, back when I attended Columbia U. in New York City, I attended a college mixer one evening. After it was over, I consented to let one guy escort me back to the dorm. As we walked the dark streets, this young man talked a blue streak, superficially friendly but making me more and more nervous, since his conversation just didn't track logically. When we got to the dorm, I thanked him and whisked inside. Later, the man called me repeatedly for a date, but I always said no, and then told him that I was going with another young man and was faithful to him.
Ten years later, when I was reading a copy of The Saturday Evening Post magazine, I discovered a big feature about a recently tried and convicted 'serial killer', which was illustrated with many photographs. There, staring out at me, was my escort home from the college mixer. He had killed, over the course of several years, a number of young women. I was shocked and horrified, of course, and grateful for my escape.
So, when Jared Loughner's fellow students say that they mistrusted him, from what he did and said in the classes they shared with him, I believe them.
Trust your instincts about people, my friends. You have them for a reason. And warn your children.
P. S. to my above comment about my real life encounter with a serial killer. The only reason I didn't give you his name is that I'm afraid that he still hs relatives living who might sue me, even though he was tried and convicted. And I don't need the aggravation.