Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that, based on Internet writings attributed to a 22-year-old accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), he believes Jared Lee Loughner is a paranoid schizophrenic.
Paul has a medical degree from Duke University. However, he was trained as an ophthalmologist and not a psychiatrist. Paranoid schizophrenia is a mental disorder.
“I looked at some of the writings of this young man, and from a medical point of view there’s a lot to suggest paranoid schizophrenia and a really sick individual,” Paul said on “Fox News Sunday.”
This is not the first time a Senate Republican has offered an off-the-cuff diagnosis in a politically charged climate. In 2005, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) weighed in on the case of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman in a vegetative state whose family was battling over whether to end her life. Her feeding tube was removed later that year, and she died.
Frist, a heart and lung transplant surgeon, said that video showed she was not in a persistent vegetative state, as her doctors had ruled.
“I question it based on a review of the video footage, which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office. ... She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli,” Frist said in a floor speech.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.