How did Loughner go for so long without treatment?

I don’t just mean the people who sold Loughner his Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol in November, or the people at a Wal-Mart who allegedly sold him ammunition a few hours before the assault. I mean the community in which he lived. This was a young man who showed signs of mental illness, yet in our culture people couldn’t or wouldn’t stop him – even when they knew his behavior was bizarre…

The Tucson shootings have prompted a national debate about the decline of civility in America. That’s good, but we should expand the definition of “civil.” A civil society isn’t just about less screaming on cable TV. It also has an ethic of community, so that people try, as best they can, to look out for one another.

There’s a coarsening, uncivil effect when we watch homeless people ranting and mumbling, freezing in the cold – and cross the street, assuming that it’s somebody else’s business. It takes something out of us, individually and as a country.