Let’s dial it back to January 8th, 2011. A public meeting called “Congress on Your Corner” is in session at a supermarket parking lot in Tucson, Arizona. Of the people present are some prominent political figures, most notably U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll. Out of nowhere, a young man appears with a gun and unleashes an unprovoked rampage. Although the gunman Jared Lee Loughner’s true target was Ms. Giffords, he ended up shooting her and 18 others, six of whom died. Now, August 7th, 2012, more than a year and a half after the tragedy, Loughner is sentenced to life term in prison after pleading guilty to 19 different crimes.

Throughout these legal proceedings, Loughner was at certain points considered incompetent to stand trial, and it was even rumored that he may escape a prison sentence with an insanity plea. During today’s trial, Loughner delivered his “I plead guilty” statement to each of his offenses before admitting to the presiding Judge A. Burns that he understands his admissions offer him no chance of appeals.

Despite the final verdict, there is still some controversy over the resolution due to Loughner’s history of mental volatility. Do you think the ruling was just? Do you think life-in-prison was the appropriate punishment or should the court have continued to consider the death penalty?

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