Times Suddenly Discovers Caution When It Comes to Blaming Drugs for Loughner's Rampage

The Times found yet another angle to the killings and attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson: "Shooting Suspect has Been Known to use Potent, and Legal, Hallucinogen."

No one has suggested that his use of a hallucinogenic herb or any other drugs contributed to Jared L. Loughner's apparent mental unraveling that culminated with his being charged in a devastating outburst of violence here.

Yet it is striking how closely the typical effects of smoking the herb, Salvia divinorum - which federal drug officials warn can closely mimic psychosis - matched Mr. Loughner's own comments about how he saw the world, like his often-repeated assertion that he spent most of his waking hours in a dream world that he had learned to control.

What's striking is the apologetic manner in which reporters A.G. Sulzberger (the publisher's son) and Jennifer Medina introduce the claim in their Tuesday story. The Times showed no such hesitation when it came to suggesting talk radio hosts, or Sarah Palin's campaign map, or Arizona's "fierce" gun culture, or Gov. Jan Brewer's rants about illegal immigration shouldered blame for the shooting.