If we never discovered that Jared Lee Loughner honed his murderous outlook while sitting alone in his bedroom, reading Nietzsche and thinking about nihilism, that would have been real news.Feeney goes on to explain why so many violent, alienated young men find Nietzsche appealing: his contempt for orthodox opinion, his dismissal of conventional sexual morality, his snide comments about women, his sense of himself as an ignored genius, and so on. But, as he notes, Nietzsche saw himself not as promoting of violent anarchy, but as offering the only possible way to avoid it:
One way of looking at Nietzsche's project is that he set out to teach himself and his readers to love the world in its imperfection and multiplicity, for itself. This is behind his assaults on religion, liberal idealism, and utilitarian systems of social organization. He saw these as different ways of effacing or annihilating the world as it is. It is behind his infamous doctrine of the Eternal Recurrence—in which he embraces the "most abysmal thought," that the given world, and not the idealizing stories we tell of it, is all there is, and he will affirm this reality even if it recurs eternally.Nietzsche's own comment on his murderous followers might have been, "Mistrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong."
Jared Loughner's despair that everything is unreal and words have no meaning amounts to hatred of the world (a mania of moralism and narcissism) for its failure to resemble the words we apply to it. Faced with a choice between real people and some stupid abstraction about words, themselves mere abstractions, Loughner killed the people to defend the abstraction. This, then, really is a kind of nihilism, only not the kind that people think Nietzsche was guilty of. It's the kind of nihilism that Nietzsche was trying to warn us about, and help us overcome.