01/13/2011 04:19 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Stopped for Pot: On Jared Loughner's 2007 Pipe Arrest

Much is being made out of the allegation that Tucson shooter Jared Loughner was a pot-smoker. Though it appears he stopped toking in 2008, Loughner's paraphernalia bust in 2007 may well have contributed to his madness.

Anyone who's charged with pot or paraphernalia possession could harbor a grudge against the government. In Loughner's case, it was a pretty standard bust. Tucson police stopped the vehicle he was in (as a passenger) on Sept. 7, 2007. The smell of marijuana led to a search. First the driver was arrested, then Loughner, who admitted to having a glass pipe in his pocket. The driver claimed they had smoked while in the car. A roach, two packs of rolling papers and another pipe were found during the car search.

We don't know, and perhaps will never know, how this arrest affected Loughner. Most likely, it further alienated his unstable personality. No writings on the subject have been located, and that's probably for the better. It certainly doesn't help the legalization cause to have Loughner railing against pot prohibition.

But one must wonder if the U.S. government didn't insist on criminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana and smoking implements would there be more respect for laws in general by American citizens?

Loughner's pot arrest is a sad reminder that certain laws have no basis, and that continuing to bully citizens into abstinence doesn't work and may have a deeper effect on those who cannot control their inner demons.