Some worthwhile reading on the Tucson murders:

* Nick Baumann has scored an interview with a longtime friend of the Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner. It's the most complete account I've seen of the killer's personality and worldview -- which, as you probably won't be surprised to hear, still shows no sign of having been formed by the "violent political rhetoric" the usual suspects have been talking about.

* Jack Shafer defends that rhetoric. Yes, Matt and Nick have already linked to this. But you really ought to read it.

* The "inflammatory speech" controversy is one of those debates where a lot of the left and the right have switched places. Check out this hysteria-mongering article from 2006, and meditate on how many of its arguments have migrated leftwards.

* Meanwhile, Vaughan Bell points out that "psychiatric diagnoses tell us next to nothing about someone's propensity or motive for violence." As the efforts to blame the shootings on speech grow more ridiculous, more people will offer the alternative explanation that Loughner is simply crazy. And he sure sounds crazy to me. But you shouldn't treat "crazy" as an all-purpose, black-box account of the crime.

* Last, but ultimately most important: profiles of the people Loughner killed.