This Mother Jones piece really is a must read and gives quite a bit of information about the lunatic. The only real political belief I could suss out of the piece is that he is anti-government, but not anti-government in that he’s pissed off at the zoning board or upset that his marginal tax rate went up:
But in this world, Loughner seemed ticked off by what he believed to be a pervasive authoritarianism. “The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar,” he wrote in one YouTube video. In another, Loughner complains that when he tried to join the military, he was handed a “mini-Bible.” That upset him: “I didn’t write a belief on my Army application and the recruiter wrote on the application: None,” he wrote on YouTube. In messages on MySpace last month, Loughner declared, “I’ll see you on National T.v.! This is foreshadow.” He also noted on the website, “I don’t feel good: I’m ready to kill a police officer! I can say it.”
I’ve read some places that he was about the age when a lot of people have their first schizophrenic break with reality. Anyone know more about this?
John McCain was about 72 when he chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate. So my guess is 72.
Yes (I’m an LCSW). He’s almost certainly paranoid schizophrenic. His comments are completely delusional and friends describe a personality change in late adolescence, the time of life when schizophrenia manifests. He’s psychotic in all likelihood. Tragic in so many ways.
Barb (formerly Gex)
Well that proves it! He was influenced by anti-government leftists. You know how Chomsky is always bitching about government overreach.
I worked with a guy that talked all disjointed like this. Nobody wanted to sit near him, talk to him or have anything to do with him. He needed help, but he was too poor to get it.
I used to work in a psychiatric hospital and this guy does seem like he could be schizophrenic. Things like “conscience dreaming”, an obsession with grammar and mind control all remind me of schizophrenics I know. (for the record, Im not a mental health professional and determining if someone is in fact having a psychotic episode really should be left to the pros). What I want to know is why didn’t someone try to get him some help? Where are his parents? Doesn’t Arizona have community mental health workers?
As much as I would love to hang all them blame for this guy’s actions on Palin. I have a sad suspicion that good old fashion republican spending policies (tax cuts good, help for sick people bad) may be more to blame for this particular guy.
Schizophrenia usually surfaces in the teens but not exclusively (I once knew a woman in her 50’s who had a full-on psychotic break–she’d always been strange but never paranoid or hearing voices). The talk about mind-control by Loughner is indicative of paranoia.
There is evidence that he began to fixate on Giffords as early as 2007. He attended another Meet & Greet with her then and received a letter of thanks from the Congresswoman afterward. It’s still not clear if he chose her simply because she was the Congressional rep for the area or if it was because she was a Democratic (and not a particularly liberal one either). Most of the stuff that he has written is typical incoherent schizophrenic-type logic. Some of the ideas stem directly from right-wing ideology.
Sadly, such individuals are vulnerable to suggestibility and stuff in the media feeds into their paranoia.
Loughner is quite clearly disturbed and most likely has the onset of overt schizophrenia manifesting itself from his behavior in recent months that I read about. I had a friend when I was much younger who was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and he started exhibiting bizarre behavior at age 20 prior to his diagnosis.
On the other hand, this is disturbing:
Not excusing Loughner’s actions, but there is way too much of this shit that goes on in the military and in society.
Schizophrenia in young men usually begins to present with symptoms in the early 20s, sometimes in late teen years. It’s a good guess that he’s schizophrenic. Do we know the age of his father? There’s a strong clinical correlation between paternal age and the disease.
Schizophrenia typically begins to manifest itself in mid to late teens. They can cover for a few years, but it overwhelms the control in the early 20s.
It doesn’t help a schizophrenic to live in an environment of consistently reinforced messages of paranoia and hyperbole, nor does it help that they can buy guns so easily.
The Moar You Know
The only thing I’m interested in seeing inside of the shooter’s head would be one of his own 9mm slugs.
I don’t give a shit if he’s mentally ill. We all know why he did it ill or not – he lives in a society that gives you permission to view “the other” as vermin not worthy of life.
Until we fix that, all the talk put in here over the last two days will remain just what this site says it specializes in; hot air and ill-informed banter.
This search for his political beliefs in order to paint one side the party of mass murderers is kind of disgusting. If you think one party is really-actually encouraging acts like this you are fucking delusional. If it turns out a disney program told him to kill those people will we focus on how that channel is having a destructive influence on crazy people or will we chalk it up to crazy people being crazy?
It is accurate that both manic-depression and schizophrenia often become manifest around age twenty or shortly thereafter, in people who seemed to previously be growing up through adolescence within normal mental bounds. This doesn’t mean these illnesses can’t definitively manifest themselves earlier or later than that, but there’s something especially disturbing when it emerges around this age in someone who earlier had seemed to be growing up within normal psychological bounds.
I don’t know enough about Loughner’s personal history to gauge whether he showed signs of disturbance throughout adolescence, or whether it only began to become floridly manifest more recently.
BTW: I worked in a mental hospital some years ago for a couple of years, and I repeatedly saw the very pattern you’re describing. One particularly sad case was someone then in his late twenties who had been brilliant throughout high school, but in whom manic-depression set in sometime during his college years. Fortunately, he mainly became only a danger to himself during periods when his illness was poorly controlled; a danger to others only in that safe inhibitions were lacking in his judgment, but he harbored no malice or paranoia. But his intellect coupled with lack of inhibition also made him sometimes wittily hilarious to be around; the only time I ever saw a notoriously stern, stone-faced judge laugh until he was falling out of his chair was during this guy’s commitment court hearing.
John, think your next to last sentence should read:”Ive read some places that he was about the age when a lot of schizophrenic people have their first break with reality.”
But otherwise, yeah. No partisan comment offered in addition, only terrible sorrow.
@sixers: but one party IS ENCOURAGING ACTS like this.
Remember Dr. Tiller?
Douchebag and Mc Megan blamed us liberals for not overturning Roe and causing Dr. Tillers death.
We made that old WEC jesus-humping fucker crazy.
Its our fault, dontcha kno?
and dumbshits like you let them get away with it.
stupid fucking cow.
shut up and swallow.
@The Moar You Know:
This guy probably has broken with reality. If so, his illness prevents him from relating to the world as you and I see it. How someone this ill can get a gun is one very imprtant question (as it was in the VA Tech shootings). Paranoid psychosis can be pointed in particular directions by the surrounding environment but the paranoia will find an expression no matter what. This is a health-system and gun regulation issue just as much as anything else.
The Moar You Know
@sixers: Well, call me delusional, then. There is an overwhelming body of eliminationist rhetoric being posted out there on the internet, and it’s not being posted by hippies.
That was redundant.
I’m sorry, but there is a marked similarity between the paranoia of mental illness and the paranoia of extreme right-wing thinking. They mirror and reinforce each other. To fail to point that out, or to gloss over it in order to protect the feelings of assholes does NOBODY a service.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@sixers: I have spent the last couple of days arguing for restraint about this guys political beliefs, but the Right has been constantly pushing the envelope. Plenty of people who have run for office have publicly been making statements about guns as solutions to problems when voting fails.
I do not know if he was watching a lot of news or if it was entirely the voices in his head. But you can tell a number of people on the right – Sarah “No, those are survey marks” Palin for example – know they have been over the edge, and are trying to backpedal and rewrite history.
So, yes, I do think one party has been encouraging this behavior, even if it’s not this particular example. You don’t get to claim “second amendment remedies” was “only a joke” when someone gets shot. If you believe in God, I’m pretty sure he’s going to have a word with you about this.
@The Moar You Know: What the fuck is the point of that rant?
Right. And I thought the shooter was deranged. U! S! A!
From personal experience…I had a good friend in high school who manifested schizophrenia when he was in college. He was able to finish but then lived in the same hometown with his parents and took meds to keep it in check. He was productive, working extensively with the local theater and volunteering with kids. But then one weekend either he forgot to take his meds or he made the tragic mistake of thinking he didn’t them any more. He suffered a break, wandered into the woods and died of exposure.
It’s a cruel illness, coming at a time when a parent can feel like they got their child through growing up and ready to be on their own.
@The Moar You Know:
So umm, yeah.
Yes, a pot smoking atheist who believes that the government is controlling his mind. This is why you wait a few minutes before screaming TEA PARTY TERRORIST!
From the end of the MJ article:
Don’t dwell there, son.
That the kid was deeply troubled and maybe even schizophrenic certainly contributed to his actions. But let’s not forget the poisonous atmosphere that set the stage for him to do this. And I wonder if maybe his condition (if he has one) would have been identified earlier if we lived in a country that spent more on health care and less on predator drones and subsidizing the rich.
@The Moar You Know:
is this supposed to be ironic?
What does the one situation have to do with the other? Loughner looks like a schizophrenic who could have been set off by political ad’s or because the voice of John Lennon in his head told him to do it. Some times theres no rational reason for dispicable acts of crazy people. Just because they’re are some assholes saying stupid things on the right has zero bearing on a insane person killing people. Its like telling Jodie foster to stop making movies after Reagan got shot. This rush to blame a party and score political points cheapens the lives of the people hurt by this tragedy.
You might want to go and read this. Perhaps you will reconsider your statement.
Loughner’s rants on YouTube had three talking points influenced by right-wing politics.
1. putting the US currency on a gold/silver standard
2. reading the Constitution to learn about our “current Unconstitutional laws”
3. Saying the 10th Amendment made paying for college courses unconstitutional.
Gold Standard. Unconstitutional laws. 10th Amendment assertment. All three feature largely in right-wing talking points and rhetoric. And that rhetoric is married very often to violent imagery.
No one is saying Loughner is a Tea Party member or that Palin told him to do it. But the language that the Right uses now (Reload. Second Amendment solutions. “We didn’t bring our guns (this time)”. ) creates an environment where a fractured mind like Loughner’s can trend to violence. And in creating that environment, people like Palin ARE responsible for what happened yesterday.
Ask yourself one question.
Could you plan and carry out an attack like he did while delusional?
I don’t know where this idea came from, probably the internets, that he is schizophrenic.
He’s a cold blooded killer. A monster.
Why hasn’t anyone labeled this gunman a terrorist? Just to satisfy my curiosity!
Ah, the we’re all absolved because a crazy person took us seriously brigade have arrived en masse.
Like everyone above, my understanding is that while schizophrenia can manifest itself at all kinds of ages, late teens/early twenties is most common.
I don’t want to do Frist-style video diagnosis, but the videos make it pretty clear to me that he fits into the non-clinical category of “batshit insane”. What stands out for me, in addition to his flat-out craziness, is his claim to have created an alternate reality. He is the treasurer of his currency. He controls the religions and beliefs. He is the mind controller. Etc., etc. The fact that not everyone sees this seems more like a kind of incomprehensible annoyance than like a source of terror: why doesn’t everyone see that Pima Community College is unconstitutional? Why won’t Rep. Giffords answer his incomprehensible question? Why so few conscience dreamers?
The entire emotional tone is different from, say, Glen Beck.
There’s anxiety lurking around the videos, I think, but not the same kind that the tea partiers have. It bothers him that other people don’t see what he sees. He writes in formally valid syllogisms, which in my experience is something people do when they’re worried that they are not making sense and want to establish beyond doubt that they are. (Not that syllogisms help when your premisses are insane.)
The Moar You Know
@Hugh: Exactly my point. He was going to kill somebody, and given the availability of guns in Arizona, there was probably no stopping that.
He was influenced in his choice of victims by influences that are obvious to anyone.
Did the guy break with reality? Certainly. I’ve had the displeasure of being around somebody that broke hard with reality (oddly enough, one of my mother’s co-workers at the mental hospital – schizophrenia) and the problem is that during that period, before they either check in for help, get committed, or blow their heads off, they are very, very suggestible. This man heard the wrong thing at the wrong time and how a bunch of people are dead.
The problem is that these days, our society is swimming in messages that could be classified as “the wrong thing”. Oh well, more bodies on the pile.
THIS WAS A POLITICAL ASSASSINATION.
She was his congresswoman, he targeted her, he planned the whole thing, he shot her first, he shot her deliberately. whether he shot her because of the gold standard or immigration or because he got turned down for the army, is irrelevent.
this was a political assassination just like Dr. Tiller was a religious assassination.
only one party spouts that bullshytt….only one party claims a mandate, only one party advocates violence as a solution of political disputes.
and you ALL FUCKING KNOW IT.
quit weasel wording.
@Maude: My point exactly, are we all expert psychiatrists now? We can diagnose a serious mental illness just by watching some YouTube Videos.
@sixers: I suppose the libs are getting a little gun-shy because of all those other times the killer(s)–or would-be killer(s)–did turn out to be dittoheads/Beckerheads/Malkinites/etc. After the tenth or so time, you don’t really feel like giving the benefit of the doubt anymore, y’know?
“trying to separate these events is as difficult as trying to connect them”
My late husband was a paranoid schizophrenic who had a very similar onset in his late teens to what is described in the Mother Jones article. He killed himself in his 30’s as the disease became so overwhelming. The day he died, he had planned on killing other people including me. It was the small slice of sanity and love that made up the core of his being that allowed him to change his mind, exert control over himself and to only take his own life.
He kept a journal and I can tell you that it was very similar in writing style to Loughners.
From living with my late husband and his disease for 7 years, I can tell you that it is very hard to get help for people with schizophrenia or other thought disorders due to the way our insurance industry and society treats/labels people.
My husband, a diagnosed schizophrenic who had many hospitalizations, was able to buy a gun with no issue at all. THAT is what should be a big topic of the conversation.
Oh and The Moar You Know Fuck you! I’m not going to defend this lunatic in anyway as I know first hand that someone that ill has potential to stop themselves. But until you have the delight of having someone you love struck down by mental illness you can just go fuck yourself.
Nothing worse than a grammar Nazi.
@RoonieRoo: Thanks for that, it cannot be easy to relive that over and over.
@The Moar You Know:
Man, this is just wrong. This Loughner guy appears to be a pretty disturbed individual. He is not really that much different than someone that has diabetes or cancer. He is not at fault for his illness.
If “anyone” is at fault here it is our society for it’s treatment–or lack thereof–of the mentally ill.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
Zero bearing? This is not true, and you know it. Comments like those on the right can be the one thing that causes people to do something that they wouldn’t otherwise do. We call it mob behavior.
Change is gone, how bout this bob moron?
I’d wait for a real psychiatric analysis before making any snap judgments. I’m certainly not qualified to judge by reading a googled description of typical schizophrenia, but I would note that he has taken the Fifth with the authorities so he isn’t completely off his rocker with his belief that he controls the minds of others, etc.
Why let the facts of the case get in the way of your narritive I guess.
PS-I’m a staunch democrat who thinks Palin’s the anti-christ. I’ve also had experience with crazy people and have learned not to delve deeply into their psychosis looking for a reason why they did something insane.
you guys are aware that Arizona has effectively cancelled all hope for people who can’t afford organ transplants by stating that there is no money in the budget for them (courtesy our Governor Jan Brewer) and you wonder if there are mental health dollars to spare? The existing medical money that is allocated for the assistance of the poor is also under fire because there is a fear that some illegals could benefit from it, so therefore we must punish the entire pool of folks who have qualified for care to ensure that those dirty illegals aren’t being supported by our tax dollars.
Welcome to Arizona!
There is a mental health system that is available via AHCCS, but like most other places, you have to be referred or seek help and shown to be poor in order to qualify. I have a friend who is out of the workforce on a medically unable to work diagnosis and they only discovered his issues due to severe alcoholic blackouts. So if the victim is living at home and Mom and Dad don’t have the means and he hasn’t harmed anyone in the past, how are they gonna know?
It’s a damn sad state of affairs.
@Hugh: As as a former disability examiner and current disability “advocate,” I can’t help but note 2 things: first, you are dead right and secondly, since most schizophrenics are dangerous to themselves only and very few are violent, this incident will only further confuse the general public about this terrible illness.
Perhaps he is not a schizophrenic himself, but learned from one?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Brick Oven Bill: And the right still needs to tone down its rhetoric. They are not being civil, they are attempting to bully one side into shutting up.
@Maude: He took a gun to a grocery store where there was barely any security and shot people. Doesn’t take a lot of planning
@sixers: BULLSHYTT YOU MORON!
Because “both sides do it” IS NOT FUCKING TRUE!
Only one side advocates violence as a resolution for political disputes.
EVERY FUCKING SMARMY CONSERVITARD PUNDIT excused that old WEC fucker Scott Roeder by sayin “afterall, Dr. Tiller had blood on his hands.”
Random crazy person just happens to share ideology with Douchebag and Kain?
dogwhistle violence, dogwhistle racism, dogwhistle anti-intellectualism. that is all they have, because if the base ever wakes up to how thoroughly conservative failosophy has screwed them, the oligarchs will be lynched or shot by the morons they have egged on, played and run.
@soonergrunt: I wasn’t trying to be redundant and you are making the same point I was attempting to, but obviously failed. The pseudo-paranoia on the far right feeds into the clinical and very real paranoia of someone like the shooter.
@RoonieRoo: I’m with stuckinred, this episode must have brought back some terrible memories. One of my younger cousins suffers with this (actually, his whole family suffers with it in that these poor folks take everyone around them on their “ride”). The torment my lovely aunt goes through is heart-rending as he won’t live near her and regularly “experiments” with his meds.
I think besides the fact that the nature of public discourse has become ugly (and those who cannot organize their thoughts are very vulnerable), the Right bears significant responsibility for enabling the “Guns for everyone” rhetoric of the NRA. Yes, I know that not only Republicans support these laws, but the rise of the “minimal gun control” meme is largely in the right wing’s hand and they know what they are doing when they tell folks that Obama will take their guns away.
As people are saying today (and said after the VT tragedy) no sane nation would allow people like Jared to walk into a sporting good store and buy this gun and some extended magazines. True insanity and if the wingnuts had any credibility left they would be calling out the NRA today. Fat fucking chance.
Oh and if I see one more person arguing that someone carrying could have mitigated this — please. He quickly walked up behind her and shot her and the judge and several others in close range in the blink of an eye (these are the ones who died). This is not a video game. Someone sitting nearby *playing* with their gun in their lap wouldn’t have prevented most of this. Ridiculous.
@timb: he knew she would be there, he shot her first, he shot her in the head.
political assassination, w/e his politics are.
As you have been generous enough to demonstrate here.
@IrishGirl: I wasn’t sure. Sorry. Don’t mean to offend.
How horrible and difficult for you. This must have brought back some terrible memories.
My oldest childhood friend suffered from schizophrenia, with the break from reality coming in the early 20’s. It was awful and very challenging for the family and, to a lesser extent because we could choose not to be involved if we wanted, the friends. It’s an awful disease and there is no cure and the treatment isn’t good either.
What I learned is that the medications make schizophrenics feel sluggish and dull and when they’re taking them they think they’re “normal” and don’t need the meds. The combination of not liking the physical side effects and thinking their fine when on them means they don’t keep taking them. Non-compliance is a huge problem. They go off them, the problems reappear. It’s so difficult for the family and other loved ones who care for the mentally ill.
It is also a very difficult question that raises questions about medical privacy. First, was he even under medical/psychological treatment? Second did he seek out that treatment if he was? Third, would someone seek out treatment for mental distress if they knew a publicly available record (even limited) would be available? Also, if I remember this correctly, if someone voluntarily enters treatment (versus being committed by a court) there is no public record.
This is an absolute horrible tragedy and I’m not suggesting answers to these questions, just that they are difficult questions. They are in many ways the same questions we ask about how far are we willing to limit individual freedoms (if at all) to prevent terrorism.
And these are separate questions (except for what type of records should be available, should be examined) from the arguments around guns, gun control and gun regulation.
These are complex situations that when a tragedy like this strikes are almost always simplified in a way, often legally, that really don’t help.
Someone pointed out above that the GOP is probably more responsible in their refusal to fund real health care in this country, esp. psychiatric care than in their violent rhetoric. (Though I don’t think that doesn’t mean we should stop pointing out that rhetoric and calling them on it.)
Also, I have to agree with soonergrunt that the rhetoric that has become mainstream in the GOP shares many, many traits with those who are mentally ill. That is scary and something to think about.
@soonergrunt: Haven’t asked in a while, how ya doin?
Yes, that was my point: it’s silly/insane to assume there’s any money set aside for ‘community mental health professionals’ in Arizona, or anywhere else in Real America for that matter.
Sorry if it seemed ambiguous.
The Grand Panjandrum
Oh, great. The guy who could barely hit Tennessee with a football while standing in Knoxville has decided he will carry a sidearm to protect himself in light of this shooting.
Not that it has direct application to this case, but it has suddenly occurred to me that if you wanted to set up an insanity plea for any evil that you were of a mind to do, the internet provides the perfect tool in the modern world. Just a few wacky facebook posts and suddenly any one with a computer is instantly an expert on the inner workings of your mind. Considering the trolling, spoofing, extra identity crap that gets pulled just on this blog should make us a bit more skeptical of this type of “evidence.”
I just consider it hilarious that the rush to classify this guy as a nut not responsible for his actions is ironically pushed mostly from the right because of the indirect responsibility they bear because of their poisonous rhetoric. If he had taken a shot at anyone from the right side of the aisle they’d have him strung up from the nearest tree whatever his mental state.
@Hugh: I hate to be “that guy” but…. if you are a LCSW then you should know better than to diagnose someone who you have never examined.
I would encourage non-professionals to refrain from diagnosing the shooter as well. There is still a big stigma to being treated for mental illness in this country and it doesn’t help real people suffering from schizophrenia to think that having it may lead to assassinating a public official. There are millions of people who have schizophrenia who don’t kill people. Please think about that before you add to the public confusion about this illness.
Absolutely 100% right.
I probably have as much, if not more, experience actually shooting at other people who are shooting at me and it’s fucking hard to do, even for a trained, practiced marksman with a dialed-in rifle. It’s bordering on fucking miraculous to do it with a pistol at any range greater than the inside of an elevator.
@JAHILL10: I also don’t think we would be having this conversation if he was Hispanic or a Muslim.
@stuckinred: Holding together. The VA is making me crazy, but what else is new? How are you doing?
I don’t think Loughner was affected by “violent rhetoric” from the right very much, if at all, although it does tell us some interesting things about the right.
In my opinion, this story has been all kinds of fucked up on all sides. The far right had no causal link at all with the attack, I’d guess, but the ease with which popular far-right views can be linked with the shooter demonstrates something else entirely, something that matters.
It’s that the right has fully embraced appeals to the ideas of its lunatic fringe, many of whom are, well, lunatics, of the David Wynn Miller variety.
When you entertain impossible ideas like returning to the gold standard, or talk about “investigating” FEMA concentration camps, or theorize that the President is nefariously foreign-born, you have to realize that a sizable chunk of your supporters will ALWAYS suffer from delusion and paranoia in the DSM sense of the words.
The lesson I’d draw from Loughner’s gold-standard anger is how Beck and Bachmann have made successful bids for unbalanced conspiracy theorists as part of their national fan base, and how people like Palin have hopped on the gravy train and defended these beliefs as mainstream.
I live in AZ and it’s horrible the way people are dying here…two people so far have passed away because the State stopped covering necessary organ transplants. But by golly, the Gov. has the money to fund a new museum to celebrate the state’s 100 year anniversary. It will take millions to create this new museum…..Plus the state is having to spend a ton of money defending itself against law suits re: SB1070. And now Russell Pearce, state rep who likes to attend neo-nazi rallies, is spearheading a new law that will deny citizenship to anyone who doesn’t have at least one parent as a legal citizen and give separate birth certificates to those who are born of illegal immigrants. It’s going to be unconstitutional, of course, and then we’ll have to spend millions defending suits re: it. Add to that the 6 million spent fighting lawsuits between the Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County board of Supervisors…..
We have no money for really obvious life saving healthcare, much less for mental health issues. AZ is well and truly f*cked.
It doesn’t really matter what his political beliefs are.
In the end it didn’t matter for Byron Williams; Scott Roeder; Michael Griffin; Eric Rudolph; Richard Poplawski; Gordon Kahl; Joseph Stack; Tharin Gartrell, Nathan Johnson and Shawn Adolf; Charles Polk; Willie & Cecilia Lampley; Joseph Bailie & Ellis Hurst; Peter Langan; Troy Spain; Todd Vanbiber; Bradley Glover; Jack Grebe Jr & Johnnie Wise; James Kopp; Buford Furow; Benjamin Nathaniel Smith; Richard Baumhammer; Sean Gillespie; Wade and Christopher Lay; Daniel Cowart & Paul Schlesselman; Keith Luke; Joshua Cartwright; James Von Brunn; Shawna Forde; or Dennis and Daniel Mahon, either. They were all nuts and encouraged by a political climate of hate.
Their politics didn’t line up with mainstream parties either, but they are all fairly recent examples of disturbed individuals who killed specific people or members of groups that had been relentlessly attacked by media figures.
As Sam Kashner said recently about Lee Harvey Oswald:
…regardless of where he was on the political spectrum, he was more mentally ill than politically adept. Still, it was that over-heated climate of hate that kind of helped hatch his crazy plan.
Throwing up one’s hands and saying “Insane, whatcha gonna do?” is simply begging the question.
There are monsters who kill people for fun, like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, and then there are people whose brains are scrambled from chemical dysfunctions and they are desperately trying to make sense of the bad signals they are getting.
There’s an endstage of alcoholic dementia called Korsakoff’s syndrome, where people lose their personal history and sense of themselves; and are also unaware that is the case. So they make up stories about themselves, because some still working part of their brain demands a coherent narrative to get through the day.
The man is question was getting incoherent and troubled thoughts because his brain wasn’t working right. His attempts to make sense of it… led to mass murder. One way of looking at it is that once you have tripped the “self-defense switch” it’s all over; people who are actually sane don’t always think that way when they are under that sort of pressure.
And if we can’t look at just one video from the man and call him “mentally ill” then we are abdicating all judgement and sense. Many of us aren’t qualified to parse his exact DSM, sure. But this is crazy, and calling it that does not require expertise.
@piratedan: I’m in Illinois where budget problems have resulted in the state being very late (or not paying at all) the money they owe to social services, education, etc. I know of at least one mental health clinic that had to close as a result and another that somehow managed to raise enough private funds to keep their doors open, at least a little longer.
The grammar controlling our minds is fairly standard far right wing nuttery. The idea seems to be that left-wing politically correct speech changes your thinking processes. Basically they are just pissed that they can’t call people faggots, niggers and spics.
Yeah, sure. Easy as pie.
@soonergrunt: Copied and pasted from another thread but it fits here as well: Shortly before Christmas 1996, I was mugged. One of my friends from the Army asked if it had caused me to change my mind about concealed carry. I said no. The mugging happened too fast; three people came around a corner and hit me, knocking me down, then they kicked me for a while as the said, “Give me your fucking wallet.” I was protecting my head from the kicks, so I couldn’t reach for it. Finally, one of them grabbed my pocket, ripped it open, and took the wallet. This happened too quickly for me to have reached for a pistol if I had been carrying one. It would not have stopped the crime. My muggers did not show any weapons, so my carrying one would have introduced a weapon to the scene. If they were carrying, but not showing, this would have escalated the situation. Finally, I ended up losing $50, a pair of pants, some blood, and some time. That is not worth someone’s life.
@RoonieRoo: I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. That fucking disease seems to just swamp someone you know and love.
When I was in my early twenties, I knew someone who was a very talented painter and sculptor, a little younger than me. He was always a quiet, gentle and stubborn eccentric, but he also had intense charisma. Despite not being very conventionally attractive (although I always thought he had beautiful eyes and hands), my best friend, then I, pursued and dated him in turn.
A few months after we had started seeing each other, he handed me a note painted blue that said “You had your chance but you it”. This was possibly the most oddly phrased breakup message I had ever received, and it hurt, but I couldn’t believe what I heard from friends several weeks later. He was in the psych ward of our local hospital after experiencing a psychotic break that had led to him driving from Toronto to the Manitoba woods before somehow arriving home again to be committed.
I saw him again a few months later, after he was released, and he seemed to be the same sweet, magnetic guy he always was. We started up again, but it didn’t last. When I met up with him again a few years later, he was on a downhill slide, having been committed a few more times. My friends and I finally lost touch with him.
A few years ago, I found out that he had died around the turn of the century. He had been found not guilty by reason of insanity after facing charges of attempted murder, but had been committed to a mental hospital associated with a prison. After several years of incarceration, he hung himself.
That disease fucked him over good, and could have led to the death of at least one other person, too. Fucking schizophrenia.
@soonergrunt: Fine, the whole northern part of Georgia is shut down by the storm but if the cable holds for the game tonight I’ll be good! Just saw where Gates may fiddle with Tri-Care because it’s busting the d-budget.
@The Grand Panjandrum: Well, if Shuler shoots, he’s guaranteed to miss his target. Just hope there are no bystanders.
As much as you want it to be true there is no serious coorelation between the tiller case and this one as of yet. You cheapen this tragedy by trying to score political points before you know what really what transpired.
@The Grand Panjandrum:
For what it’s worth, I’m not a huge fan of Shuler but I’d carry a weapon if I were any Democratic Congressman in NC right now.
@soonergrunt: Great to see you here! Just last week some of us were wondering where you have been and how you are doing.
I have some experience with these matters. It (schizophrenia) usually shows up 18-21, and, if treated successfully, usually slowly improves after the person reaches 30 or so. One of my best friends is now doing so well that I can spend almost all day with him without problems. But things were incredibly bad at one time. And terribly frightening and dangerous.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@The Grand Panjandrum: @soonergrunt:
Put these two comments together for Shuler not being about to hit anything else either.
Amateur diagnosis is a pet peeve of mine, but it seems he and his family were duly notified about questions concerning his mental state. Sad.
The entire panoply of conservative mythology is defined by the paranoia of its adherents. This has always been the case, and I wouldn’t exactly label it as “pseudo.”
I suspect there will be nothing said about this topic today that hasn’t already been said eleventy jillion times over the last two days.
But that won’t stop anyone, including me. Jussayinzall.
That is far different from the ideas espoused by David Wynn Miller, the likely source for the concepts in Loughner’s videos. Don’t conflate the two.
@Maude: I don’t pretend to be a expert on this, but my understanding is that a delusional person can still think, plan and act logically — to the extent that their particular set of delusions allows it.
As for trying to figure out Loughner’s politics from his ravings on Youtube and elsewhere, that strikes me as futile and pointless. He’s picked up some right-wing talking points from his environment and stirred them in, sure; but they are ravings, not the expression of any well-worked out set of ideas. Loughner seems to be in no mental state to develop a coherent political position.
As it is, he’s facing capital murder charges, and I expect The Moar You Know’s wishes for his fate will more or less come true. But killing Loughner won’t bring back any of his victims. He is probably seriously ill, and if so he really belongs in a psychiatric hospital.
Yes my narrative being you can’t predict what sets people off and yours being the right is responsible because they control crazy people.
I think this is much, much more important than precisely where he fell on the left/right spectrum. If you already think that the government is trying to control your mind, and you’re constantly told by people like Limbaugh and Palin and Hannity and Savage that the Democrats are trying to control your life by getting you health care, and then you’re told that your representative is one of the horrible, evil people who has forced health care and death panels on you … yeah, that’s not going to end well.
I said something different, for what it’s worth.
I don’t think “violent rhetoric” matters at all here, at least not the source of it when it’s read by someone who’s had a psychotic break, and I don’t think the right is to blame, directly or indirectly.
What’s important to me is what this event REVEALS: that the right has embraced ideas (not rhetoric) that are largely produced and entertained by people who are paranoid and deluded, like David Wynn Miller: gold-standard nonsense, anti-monetary madness, birtherism, FEMA camps, etc.
It’s not the bullseyes and hunting metaphors (although those are pretty disgusting), nor is it any causal link between the right and the shooter. It’s that Loughner’s half-baked ideas are actually really close to what Michelle Bachmann shills to her constituents. None of that caused the shooting in any way, but it’s an important observation.
@sixers: predict absolutely? no. Tilt the playing field, more likely. But no, have no fear, every single utterance of the right is pure, correct and unimpeachable.
No problem about being “that guy”. Your point is well taken. I should have been less categorical. This guy’s youtube presentations however do present as highly delusional and the mounting evidence points to serious mental illness, most likely schizophrenia and most likely paranoid schizophrenia. I don’t mean to contribute to stigmatizing mental illness. If that’s what came through then I didn’t do a very good job in my comments (too quick to hit the post button). You are correct that by far most people who suffer from this disease are not violent. Having said that the dialogue as it has been playing out is not helpful. Like in the VA Tech shootings it seems pretty likely to me that we will need to look at the health system’s failure along with gun regulation failure to address what became a catastrophic problem. How these systems failed in detail has yet to emerge. It’s very important not get stuck in a dialogue that only looks at political speech and left vs. right.
please, please stop with the cow insults. I’m starting to get seriously creepy, bovine-Catherine the Great-esque vibes from your comments.
Nobody expects you to stop name-calling, but at least move on to another animal.
@Seamus: Thank you, Seamus, for pointing this out. I tried to do so rather inartfully in another comment. And based on his comments, Sheriff Dupnik totally gets it as well.
@eemom: That’s because you are cudlip. Obviously.
One word: Columbine.
MSBNC is talking over the moment of silence!
@Omnes Omnibus: And if you had a gun, you’d have lost that too.
Guns are tools. I don’t carry a gun for the same reason that I don’t walk around with a hammer all day.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@sixers: Do you remember that group of people that killed a cop – or was it attempted, I don’t quite remember that detail – in hopes of setting off road side bombs during the funeral procession? These people acted out entirely on the right ring rhetoric that the government was evil and had to be destroyed, and killing some cops was OK.
The thing is, while I am more than willing to believe this guy is schizophrenic and will need treatment and to be watched the rest of his life, I believe he could have been influenced by what he was seeing on TV, on the news and on the internet. Some of his statements follow very closely to right wing rhetoric.
But even if his actions are entirely due to his own illness, talk of using guns to solve political problems is wrong, period.
@Blue Neponset: I do agree with you on this. But I think we need to consider and understand what message we want to get out regarding this illness as the conversation is happening whether we like it or not.
You are not going to be able to stop the speculation but you can contribute to the conversation about the realities of the disease.
My husbands death was violent and it was 100% a result of the disease, whether I want to accept that or not. I’m not going to white wash it. The reality is that he was a lovely, brilliant man that was coping with a horrible disease.
Almost 11 years later, I can talk about it freely and I will take this opportunity to do what I can to educate on this disease and push back on the narrative that is forming.
So, I ask you to not just tell people to not speculate/not discuss/not have a conversation but to participate in sharing your expertise and knowledge of the reality of this disease.
@sixers: Nobody controls crazy people, but the right-wing loudmouths aren’t controlling what comes out of their mouths. They aren’t thinking, “Gosh, I’d better not advocate for those people I disagree with to be shot, or some nut might take me up on it.” And the fact that nuts have taken them up on it several times over during the last decade now causes me to think, “That noise of hooves I’m hearing suggests that right-wing horse has bagged another one,” whenever someone tries to murder a liberal or Democrat. It does not suggest there may be a blood-crazed zebra out to kill a politician in order to impress Jody Foster, or whatever.
ETA: Well, it doesn’t suggest it right off the bat.
Since I have a snow day, I was able to watch the moment of silence on TV. Was struck anew by how very grey the President’s hair is. But his sad face said it all. That, and his body language with Michelle. Just a thing of beauty.
If you were a staunch Democrat, you’d spell better in your narrative.
@stuckinred: Well, Tricare Retired Reserve is too expensive anyway–like $1100/month, so that won’t affect me, but I know that TRS is going to take a hit. My inlaws are rather concerned.
@soonergrunt: And that is why I don’t consider my guns protection. Trigger locks, unloaded and ammo in a separate place are not exactly the reaction force. My Louisville Slugger will have to do.
I’m going to need a few more words to understand the point you are trying to make.
Sometimes I have to take time off from this site. The hyper-emo and such around here can get a little wearing. I thought about resurrecting my own blog, but I realized that I don’t say enough to keep people interested. Then there was also the repairing of the major water damage in the master bath of my house after the shower stem broke inside the wall so I was gone anyway.
I don’t think violent rhetoric from the right can be blamed at all for what this guy did. He obviously, as they say, “went crazy”. He could have read anything, anywhere, in the suggestive state he was in, and it might have caused him to hurt others or himself. He could have listened to a Beatles song and shot up an airport, or watched 30 Rock and hung himself in the shower.
What’s sad to me is that it takes an act of political violence for the right to get called on its violent political rhetoric, which is a gigantic problem all on its own – and which has already inspired plenty of attempts at political violence from right-wingers who don’t display traits of paranoid schizophrenia.
But what it took was some lunatic killing a federal judge and a kid and four other people in broad daylight for anyone to question that rhetoric, which has been with us since the beginning and has always been some level of threat to democracy.
Article in WaPo:
Also the second guy police were looking for, turned out to be the cabdriver who had dropped him off.
@soonergrunt: Yep, I would have lost it, and the guys who mugged me would now be armed. Not a good situation. I tend to think of myself as reasonable competent and able to handle myself in a dangerous situation. In that situation, protecting myself from injury and not escalating the violence was the correct response.
I agree completely with the idea that guns are tools. They can be used or misused.
@stuckinred: Fucking idiots!
@stuckinred: I have an alarm system that came with the house and costs $12/month, and both my neighbors on either side are OKC Police Officers who park their cruisers in their driveways when off duty. I have a LOT of law enforcement in my neighborhood. Nothing says ‘go away bad guys’ like a bunch of black and white units scattered throughout the neighborhood coming and going at all hours of the day and night.
@Sly: I just meant pseudo as in it doesn’t necessarily meet the clinical, medical definition. A sane person can feel paranoid and act in paranoid ways but I wouldn’t equate the degree of that paranoia with the thoughts and behaviors of someone having a full schizo break.
@soonergrunt: Sounds good. Not a lot of heat here in trendy Athens funky town.
Heath Shuler announced that he’ll now be carrying a firearm when in his home district.
Cue the lede: “After shooting himself in the foot in a forgettable NFL career, Mr. Shuler……”
@eemom: but sub-sapient bovines are so perfectly descriptive, right down to the feedlot drenching metaphor.
Have you forgotten how thoroughly you and sooner and burns were spoofed by the feds into believin’ afghans died because of Wikileaks?
shut up and swallow.
you dumb cudlips were pwned by the propaganda machine.
they fucked you in the ass, wiped off and walked away laffin’.
watch the ellesberg video you stupid cow.
you were USED.
@soonergrunt: Water damage, fun times. But I’ll take the fact that you are doing physical repairs as an indication that your recovery is coming along nicely. (Unless you are over-seeing someone else doing the repairs, in which case the “fun” factor likely doubles.)
I took a BJ break for a month or more after the elections, it can really get to be too much. But I comment so infrequently that I am never missed when I go! :-)
Herbal Infusion Bagger
“I’ve read some places that he was about the age when a lot of people have their first schizophrenic break with reality. Anyone know more about this?”
No uncommon to have schizophrenia manifest at this age, but about 20% of schizophrenia is late-onset (>40 years).
I’d say that community mental health services in Arizona are probably cut down to giving the mentally ill a bus ticket out of state to SF or LA. It’s the first to get whacked in state budgets. There’s no powerful lobby for the mentally ill like there for police or prison officers, and the shame attached to mental illness means families don’t get out and lobby like they do for K-12 education. It’s not like Mental Health is a high priority even in insurance plans.
But I’m not sure that he’d have been picked up even by a community mental health plan – the Mother Jones article essentially boils down to him acting a bit weird, but not enough to get committed.
Too bad that’s all utterly wasted because people are in no possible way influenced by what they see and hear.
@soonergrunt: None taken. BTW, I TOTALLY second your comment about how hard it is to react and shoot accurately in real time with a real gun. The right always loves to talk about how safe we are in AZ because we can all carry guns. Truth is most people would shoot off their own foot rather than actually be able to respond in any meaningful way. It takes tons and tons of training to react properly in such a situation and even then, there is no guarantee. Heck, even most cops go their entire career without ever having to unholster their weapon in a show of force much less shoot the darn thing!
@Professor: Because he’s white. SATSQ.
@matoko_chan: Way to make friends and influence people.
@AAA Bonds: That rhetoric rises and falls, it has not been unchanging, and it’s increase lately has corresponded in an increase in unstable individuals acting out.
I find it very interesting to look at the levels of vitriol in Dallas and throughout Texas before the JFK shooting. In many ways much higher than now, and IMHO also responsible for encouraging, or justifying, the actions of a disturbed man.
I do want to tell you that you are really the blue-ribbon troll around here, and I non-sarcastically respect that on a site full of writers and commenters who like to posture as though they’re invincible MRAPs of sarcasm.
@AAA Bonds: merci pour te complimente. but im actually a chanese griefer if you wanna be accurate.
Im modellin’ Taibbi.
i need more sex metaphors and swearing tho.
im quite proud of the feedlot drench metaphor– perfect for the cudlips, right down to the recycled conservative shit causing mad cow disease.
that is why they will have to quit eventually.
@AAA Bonds: But what it took was some lunatic killing a federal judge and a kid and four other people in broad daylight for anyone to question that rhetoric
Plenty of people, including Giffords herself, denounced that kind of violent speech. Unfortunately, the rightards have been able to laugh it off as pansy-ass liberal whining until somebody got killed.
There are a couple of different age bands at which psychosis and/or schizophrenia are likely to occur — the first being mid to late teens, and the second being late 20s/early 30s. My sister was in the latter group, which, for a variety of reasons, has a better prognosis, either because the disease is less intense or because people at that age have managed to cross through the most important developmental milestones, and have a more stable life and career at the time they break down.
I would be careful not to characterize his “symptoms” as reported as having any particular diagnostic significance. A lot of major mental diseases (even including depression) can have similar components, e.g., paranoia, obsession with particular people, etc.
Nothing I read about Loughner indicates that he was engaging in what are usually the hallmarks of schizophrenia — hearing voices, or actually seeing things that aren’t there. Not to say he isn’t seriously disturbed, but he doesn’t really compare to the guy who drove from Montana to Washington D.C. and killed a few congressional security guards because he was convinced the federal government was spying on his farm with UFOs.
Thanks for the link!!!
Alright. I wish to contribute a few things. I am not schizophrenic, but let’s say I’m a bit more familiar with mental illness than the layman who reads about it on Wikipedia.
Amateur diagnoses are generally irresponsible, but this man could not have been more blatantly schizophrenic. I mean, it’s amazing. Every sentence shouts it. It’s not the weird delusions. Paranoid delusions among non-schizophrenics are not especially unknown. It’s the cognitive damage. Your first schizophrenic break causes permanent and irreversible brain damage (technically that word isn’t used because no physical source for this damage is known). From there the process is degenerative. There is no cure, and medicines may or may not slow it down. As a result, schizophrenics don’t just make complaints that are weird or obviously wrong. They make complaints that make no sense whatsoever, like the comment about grammar, or sentences that seem garbled with words thrown together – he spits out some of those, as well. Seriously, a psychiatrist would make him go through cognitive tests, go through the DSM-IV, but it would be going through the motions.
Also, let me make something clear: There are people who are crazy enough that they will kill, period. Particularly the ones with command hallucinations – voices telling them to do things. For some reason, those are almost universally bad, bad news. However, schizophrenics are very suggestible. Like, you don’t mention religion around them, ever. If you increase the ‘noise’ encouraging violence in their environment, they can and do latch onto it. High profile murders and suicides cause sharp jumps in murder and suicide figures until the buzz dies down. The airwaves have been blanketed lately with strong suggestions of violence and conspiracy theories, some of which you’ll notice this man absorbed along with the rest of his delusions.
I agree with you that the rhetoricians on the Right are not trying to encourage their followers to commit murder. They are encouraging their followers to fantasize about murder, and are entirely, perhaps even criminally, unconcerned with whether or not this may cause murder. Does that make sense to you?
Yes, actually. Completely capable. Even in this state. If anything, schizophrenics and serious paranoids are better at committing murder than other people because they don’t care if they survive. There are whole huge sections of planning that they can completely skip. They’re much more dangerous than conventional murderers.
Echoing a lot of previous comments, as someone with a diagnosed acquaintance whose illness contributed heavily to his own death, it’s very hard to ascribe any causal relationship between someone who breaks with reality and the things that set them off.
My friend became extremely agitated one time over the toppings on his takeout sandwich. That sounds like a joke, but no lie, he thought 1) there was something nefarious in there and 2) it directly related to a larger point he had previously tried to make to me about various people on television. He became very angry and very frustrated for hours; he wasn’t a violent guy, but if he had been, who knows.
I don’t think the rhetoric has had no effect, as I’ve already said. Right-wing attempts at violence from people who aren’t truly delusional have happened constantly since Obama’s election. They just haven’t been reported heavily outside of people who focus on this stuff like David Neiwert.
However, I think that even if Loughner’s browser history revealed that he did nothing but read right-wing sites all day, the causal relationship between what’s actually said on those sites and what he did would be minimal. My friend called himself a Communist quite often but also frequently read Stormfront. Truly paranoid people don’t have political views as much as they have ongoing “investigations”.
Paranoid people will find paranoid views wherever they can, hence the fabled popularity of Catcher in the Rye among would-be assassins. Is it important that the right has embraced paranoia and human-hunting metaphors wholeheartedly? Yes. Does this case give us a window into that? Yes. But did the paranoia of the right cause the paranoia of Jared Loughner in any real way? Probably not.
Would life in prison with no parole be too much to ask?
I don’t think people are saying that he only snapped because of the constant buzz of right-wing rhetoric. What we are saying is that his choice of targets was heavily influenced by right-wing rhetoric. If not for that, he probably would have killed his family and it would have just been another local tragedy.
Palin’s words didn’t “make” him do it, but those words (and many, many others by many other people) pointed him in a desired direction. For Republicans to now try to claim that it isn’t what they wanted is patently false, and that’s what they need to be called on.
@Earl Butz: we have been over this.
im not here to make friends.
im here venting my bewildered outrage over how stupid cudlips are.
and yes, they DO EXIST on both sides.
i dont wanna be part of some recipe-swap dogcat pet fetish “community”.
i work with colorado horse rescue 2 days a month and you guyz are clueless noobs about cruelty to animals in this economy.
besides your musik is awful.
and im still trying to work out how it is that Cole and i were once conservative.
it hurts my brain.
There is a certain karmic symmetry when a poster going by Earl Butz chastizes m_c for using the cudlip insult with a Dale Carnegie reference.
Thanks for the laugh Secretary Butz!
@IrishGirl: I know two full Colonels, one a Marine, one a Soldier who personally have fired more rounds into clearing barrels (and once into a pillow on his own bed) than they ever shot at the enemy.
To be fair, if the Colonel is capping rounds at the bad guys, conditions on the battlefield have really gone to shit.
From personal experience the laws for getting someone committed are pretty unknown to most people. I have an uncle, who was manic and my cousin didn’t realize he could call his local hospital to have someone come and evaluate him to get him committed and start getting treatment.
When you are mentally ill, you don’t realize you are sick. The part of your body that tells you things aren’t working right, your brain, is what is sick. Your stomach, heart, etc. aren’t going to tell your brain it ain’t working right, unlike your brain realizing chest pains are a reason for you to get tested for heart disease.
Also, there’s still a bunch of stigma around mental illness. I don’t think most people really understand that it is an illness, just like diabetes, which needs to be treated with medication and behavioral changes. People still think the mentally ill person needs to “suck it up” and not “feel sorry for himself”, like every one else does.
You know how some people panic instantly in a crisis? Don’t want one of them with a gun in a crisis.
I would suggest that it’s because you grab ideas that you like and run with them, committing yourself completely and refusing to back down or consider nuance or opposing reality. In particular you seem hugely drawn to ideas that ‘sound good’, like fancy jargon that only you use, or scientific models that are not actually scientific. This kind of simple and vehement idealism is one of the hallmarks of modern conservatism. It exists on the left, but it’s the foundation of the movement there (EDIT – on the right), and has been for at least 30 years – maybe longer.
EDIT – Oh, and other people’s feelings do not seem to mean much to you. You have a strong tendency to view them as abstracts and statistics and thus excuse any level of rudeness and contempt without consideration of if it’s appropriate. Again, very much in line with the tribalism and narcissism of conservatives.
@Xecky Gilchrist: Oh, they’ll keep laughing it off, only now they’re trying to play the victim, as in “how DARE you claim that my violent rhetoric and calls for violence towards Democrats have any possible correlation with unhinged persons who quote right-wing memes committing violence against Democrats?”
Or, he thought he had a relationship of some sort with Gifford, which seems more likely from accounts by his friends and family. His repeated contacts with her seem to have more to do with his delusion than with politics – bothering her at Q&A sessions, making a big deal to his friend about a polite response letter from her office, etc.
My friend considered himself to have personal beef with Oprah and said it was because she was trying to keep him from getting married, if that gives you an idea of the possibilities.
@soonergrunt: “Never fired a shot in anger”, the bellweather for my old man and most of us know it’s the case for about 90% of people who have worn the uniform including me.
@Uloborus: I don’t think we can make any conclusions until we find out if this guy is adopted. Having two first names and being adopted is a sure sign of a serial killer.
If you think one party is really-actually encouraging acts like this you are fucking delusional.
I agree. Most people don’t realize how bad untreated clinical depression can get.
Major clinical depression, if left untreated, can also lead to people becoming actively psychotic, i.e. hallucination – auditory and / or visual – feelings of paranoia, and other things that lead to totally irrational and harmful, often life threatening behavior, such as suicide.
The only appropriate response is to allow the military to promote religion more openly, cut all spending related to mental health and to remove all gun control laws.(Snark)
@Mnemosyne: Exactly. I don’t think right-wing memes caused his paranoia. But constant drumming of ‘second amendment remedies’ and the like can feed those paranoid fantasies and target them toward certain people.
And, AAA, I think it’s hard to say that those people that I listed were not delusional. I’d imagine that some of them may not have been, but after reading their stated beliefs, it’s hard not to see them that way.
@WyldPirate: True story. In the summers of 1979 and 1980, I worked this farm job where we got picked up in town around dawn and then brought back and dropped off. One of my town friends lived down the street from Earl Butz and would steal his Wall Street Journal every morning and bring it on the bus.
We never really read it but thought it was really funny. We were 14. Maybe it was just his name. We knew he was famous but weren’t intentionally committing a political act.
In hindsight it was the right thing to do.
@soonergrunt: Sadly, you’re right.
@Uloborus: Oh, shit. I thought all his posts were just thinly veiled cries for help.
Oh Matoko, rescue thyself!
The key takeaway from this for me is simple.
When this tragedy broke, Olbermann did a special comment, and in it, he admitted that maybe his tone and rhetoric needed to be damped down. This even though nothing he’s said has come to the level of an Ann Coulter wishing death on a SC justice or Glenn Beck fantasizing about murdering Michael Moore.
Sarah Palin had a controversial ad and Jesse Whatsisfuck had an event whereby you could shoot a gun TO TAKE OUT the Democrat who just got shot, and after she did get shot, what did they do?
They tried to hide the evidence. They tried scrubbing the internet. When the evidence was put in front of them, they changed their story, in Palin’s case to something a six year old would understand was a lie.
Never once did I hear them say that maybe their tone needed to come down. Never once did I hear them say ‘My bad’.
THAT’S my takeaway.
HA! Alright, alright. But I think you miss my point. A direct connection doesn’t HAVE to be drawn. The problem is not whether he felt specifically ordered by Sarah Palin to shoot Gifford. The problem isn’t even if he’s technically schizophrenic (he could theoretically be manic, but the truth is the lines are blurry all over mental illness and it can be hard to say ‘manic’ or ‘schizophrenic’ in the really batshit loonies). The problem is that violent right wing rhetoric can and does increase the chance of these people deciding to kill. Greatly increases it. And it doesn’t have to be a direct, obvious connection, it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Can we agree to disagree?
@stuckinred: Knowing what I know now, much rather join you on that side.
@NobodySpecial: This. Exactly. And if anything, you’re being generous to Palin and the others.
I really don’t understand the mentality of people who try to disconnect this murderous rampange from the RightWing Noise machine and the normalizing of violence that the right has been engaged in for a couple of decades now.
That is I can understand why rightwingers would try to disconnect their violent rhetoric from the acts of violence by crazy people that result. Responsibility avoidance is core to conservative behavior. And I can understand why corporate media talking heads who have been legitimizing right wing violent rhetoric as just rhetoric, no big deal, with he said/she said and false equivalencies, will try to create a disconnection–they have to to dodge their own responsibility for normalizing violence.
I do not understand why any progressive or liberal would try to disconnect the violent retoric from the vilent acts. Denial? Fear?
(Please–I am not accusing John or any non-wingnut here of trying to make a disconnect. I’m responding more globally to comments I’ve read in various places where some liberals and progressive are trying to make this look like it is no differennt that that nut who shot up a McDona;d’s).
Of course whatsisface is crazy. But he chose to shoot a locally promenent Democrat. He didn’t decide to shoot random people. He chose his target.
And where did he get the idea that he should shoot a Democrat?
@FormerSwingVoter: There’s that (though I would substitute “right” for “white” as left-wing white terrorists are quickly called terrorists). But it’s also not particularly clear what Loughner’s agenda is, or even that a coherent agenda was the primary motivator. Contrast the Giffords shooting with the Tiller assassination, who had been protested for years by anti-abortion activists.
Retract what I said above, to the extent that discussions about mental illness and gun control very much need to be had today and tomorrow and thereafter, and that that is really the only good thing that can come out of this tragedy.
(Except for ending the “career” of Sarah Palin and others like her, which would be a fucking awesome result, yes, EVEN IF the shooter never heard of her.)
The thing that upsets me about those discussions is that it will all be for naught in the ultrasick, ultratoxic mess of a country we live in. There is too much money and power behind the gun lobby to hope for effective gun control, and as others have pointed out above, health care for the mentally ill is even more hopelessly fucked than health care in general.
@NobodySpecial: This. A thousand times over, this.
I can’t believe how many people — not just right-wing politicians, but reporters — are saying, “Well, clearly the guy was crazy, and there’s nothing anyone could have done about that.”
Bullshit. For starters, we can all recognize that, yes, there are a lot of crazy people out there and, yes, as the economy implodes and health care budgets shrink — in, say, a state like Arizona — there are going to be a lot of untreated crazy people out there.
We can’t cure their insanity, no. But maybe we as a society could stop denouncing the people with whom we disagree politically as “traitors” engaged in “a massive conspiracy” to intentionally destroy the United States of America?
There are dangerous loonies out here looking to kill demons and expose the fevered conspiracies in their imagination. Politicians who demonize their opponents and media hacks offer their own fevered conspiracies are, in fact, pushing those loonies, giving concrete targets for their insane hatred.
The fact that the shooter is insane doesn’t make these people – Palin, Beck, and all the rest – any less to blame here. It makes them more to blame. They knew the crazies were listening, they were told – by Gabby herself – that someone would act on those words with violence, and they kept on doing it.
There’s blood on their hands. End of story.
I wasn’t referring to your earlier comment, and I’d have to look into all those names to respond.
However, the contrast between Jared Loughner and Eric Rudolph – a guy I do know something about – is pretty striking. It’s possible that Rudolph has mental problems; in fact, I’d say it’s likely, and his doctors sure say he does. But unless Loughner has pulled an impossibly convincing snow job with his online persona, his acts are well outside what I’d consider “right-wing violence” of Rudolph’s persuasion.
until someone asks him and his answer gets printed somewhere, we do not know.
If he is actually a paranoid schizophrenic, he may have gotten the idea because he believes Gifford was speaking to him on television, or that she was secretly communicating to him through newspaper articles, etc. Local and national celebrities are often points of fixation.
@Uloborus: sure, except im a liberal sufi hactivist instead of a creationist climate-change denying fetal personhood judeo-xian..
i think Hayek, Oakeshott, Burke and Hume are all fulla shit.
Dead White Guy Phailosophy. like how how i worked that joycean phallic reference in there?
Phall if you will but rise ye must.
And im a scientist in training.
Conservatives are universally older low IQ racist homophobic jesus-humpers.
My IQ gradient keeps me from being a conservative.
and i NEVAH exhibit backfire effect.
go ahead, prove one of my theories wrong.
i dont think you can.
for example…..show me a muslimah scientist that is a “conservative”.
@BGinCHI: derp? im grrlstyle.
im the mewling, rampalian wretch herself.
Context maters. This possible crazy guy decided to murder a Democrat who voted for health care reform in a district where the local hate talk radio is dominated by a guy who has been blathering about big government take over of this and that and how everyone victimaized by the horrible health care bill and immigrants etc for years and an opponenet who featured gun events in his campaign, used gun language in his rhetoric, and billed himslef as a warrior. The Congresswoman had been the target of hundreds of death thhreats before one crazy guy acted.
How couuld the link be any clearer?
@TR: It’s a version of scapegoating.
We describe someone who carries all the symptoms of our sick society as being “outside” it. He’s crazy and not like “the rest of us.” It’s a form of denial and societal self-protection.
These moments are always really interesting for a culture to see what it’s made of. I hope the “crosshairs into surveying lines” meme lasts forever.
@matoko_chan: You are one nasty piece of work.
? You mean the band? I haz a confuzzled.
@Uloborus: You’re preaching to the choir dude/dudette. Long before anyone had ever heard of Jared Lee Loghner the right wing hate machine was playing with fire.
My point is that we shouldn’t get too serious about diagnosing the shooter. As others have noted, his symptoms could lead to many different diagnosis. People with schizophrenia have enough to worry about without the public thinking they are going to assassinate a government official.
@AAA Bonds: he may have believed she kept him out of the army, or didnt do enough as his congresswoman to get him in. he may have believed she was a space alien taking over Arizona to use as a breeding hive.
he deliberately targetted and shot her BECAUSE SHE WAS HIS CONGRESSPERSON.
political assassination, w/e his political motivation was.
@matoko_chan: Stupid gendered pronouns.
Why is the government making me use this patriarchal grammar!!??
@Church Lady: yessss i am.
i glory in it.
it is the nature of griefers to cause maximum grief.
all that WEC jesus-humping bother you?
Joe Manchin is also implicated in this climate of violent rhetoric according to this ABC “analysis.” Good thing he’s a Democrat or it would be so much harder to achieve the illusion of equivalence.
Here’s the quote, which is on p. 4: “But after an election cycle in which Nevada’s GOP Senate candidate, Sharron Angle, spoke about “second amendment remedies” for defeating her opponent and others brandished weapons in their own campaign ads, including West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who used the climate change bill for target practice, as well as many more who simply channeled anti-government rage, the outcry is perhaps not surprising.”
I was mildly pleased to see, until I got to this run-on sentence, that the article was actually, tentatively, holding Republican feet to the fire.
So people are now finally paying some attention to the effects of violent rhetoric, which we know comes primarily from the right. One hopes that, also, there will be some focus on the importance of proper mental health care, which is no longer available to most people. And then we want to repeal health insurance reform. Yeh.
Well, the link would be clearer if you (or anyone else) established a connection between the shooter and:
a) Gifford’s party affiliation, or
b) Gifford’s views on health care, or
c) views on health care in any sense, or
d) the rhetoric of the talk-radio host you’ve mentioned, or
e) the rhetoric of Gifford’s opponent.
Until that happens, what we know about Loughner is that he seems highly deluded.
@BGinCHI: its not the government, its your sexist substrate.
i use BEEG WORDS and im aggro, therefore i cant be XX.
@eemom: No. From Wu Tang. Look it up in teh tags.
@Stephen1947: Does the ABC article even pretend to mention how many DEMOCRATS were horrified by that ad? I doubt it…
What you are matoko is a pre-conceptual scientist.
BTW I am convinced that the character Danae in Non Sequitur is exactly what you must have been like as a child. ;)
again: until he tells us, we don’t know why he decided to do what he did. you are speculating. maybe your speculation will turn out to be right (i wouldn’t be a bit surprised). but we don’t actually know.
@The Moar You Know:
I’m very sorry that you said those things.
The problem is that your argument is based on the notion that this guy thinks like us, and that the usual linear/causal relationships between provocation and action that hold for normal folks apply to him. From everything I’ve seen in the youtube, etc., stuff, he does not and they do not. For all we know, his Rice Krispies told him that it was time to act on the morning of the shootings.
How much this guy is a product of an insanely aggressive/violent culture in a larger sense is another question.
Not from the ones I’ve read, but, hey, you keep believing that the constant drumbeat by the right wing that liberals and Democrats are evil and need to be killed had absolutely nothing to do with Loughner’s actions and his actions are just as devoid of content as if he’d gone after Demi Lovato.
As I said, I’m not blaming a particular person or saying that a specific speech or appearance made him psychotic. I’m saying that having this constant drumbeat of violence against Democrats and liberals helped his sick brain choose a target.
@soonergrunt: I know it but driving through it wasn’t the same.
I don’t know if any of you saw this from the NYT over the weekend, but this blurb says it all:
In what civilized community is this OK? My g_d, no wonder the Sheriff was wondering who would go into public service.
And why can’t someone (uh, that would be you, McCain, Kyl , Brewer, etc) stand up and say this is just not OK.
Ashley Turton, director of congressional affairs for Progress Energy, was found dead in a burning car Monday morning in Washington, Politico reports. Turton’s husband is White House deputy director of House legislative affairs, Dan Turton.
You won’t hear any dispute from me – I already said this is political violence.
But, like you said, the problem is that the “politics” of any given deluded individual often has a lot to do with who’s sending them hidden gematria statements through radio soundbites.
They’re never really politically affiliated: usually they’re looking for whoever and whatever will criticize the people with whom they’ve become obsessed, whether that’s Snooki or Obama or Dora the Explorer. Hence my “Communist” friend who read Stormfront daily.
In this case, I’m guessing it has a lot to do with the shooter’s perceived mind-war against his local community college.
It would be nice if we could address that, but having people insist that schizophrenic people just develop violent ideas out of nowhere and the culture has no influence on that is not really helping.
@matoko_chan: To quote Repo Man, I blame society.
And stop looking at my substrate.
I can’t speak directly to Loughner, but Maude, delusional people can be capable of some planning and action. You can either accept the conclusions of science and medicine or not. A person in the clutches of a manic episode, for instance, can believe they are all-powerful, that they can read minds, or other false things.
If it isn’t tough to purchase a gun or ammo, which it wasn’t, not too much planning for that part. Call a taxi: ditto. Not much planning there, especially if you have been obsessively thinking about just this scenario for months.
I know it doesn’t make sense.
Any of us who have mentally ill people in our lives know that this can happen. We spend a fair part of our time trying to explain to unbelievers that mental illness exists. It doesn’t condone the violent actions of the ill person, but it explains how they happened to do such a terrible thing. The violence isn’t always in the moment.
How we handle the person who commits the violence in this country is a problem. Some people get medical attention, lots of people just get warehoused and increasingly delusional.
I can only make the comparison to people who suffer brain injuries or different kinds of dementia. They can obsess. They can believe things that aren’t real, see things that aren’t there. They can be extremely paranoid. We still have to try to love them and help them, even when they make us really upset.
This young man’s brain may be just as messed up as some old man with Alzheimer’s who murders his wife because he thinks she is a monster or poisoning his food or something.
None of this takes away from the terrible tragedy of Loughner’s actions, or excuses it. But trying to understand it may actually help to prevent more instances of it, some day.
@Uloborus: actually im aspergers positive.
that correlates with high IQ, and is definitely not the same as conservative style tribalism, factblocking, and backfire effect.
i literally do not understand why scientific truth bothers anyone.
an’ im just not wired to give a shit about anyones feefees.
Here’s a good meme: “Fine, the guy was crazy. Why do you still sound and act like him?”
I appreciate your valiant attempt at rhetoric by saying that I’m “believing” the right wing, as though I’m even listening to or reading anything right-wingers have to say about this, but unusually enough for an avid critical consumer of right-wing media such as myself, that’s not the case.
I don’t know why you would try to align me with the right, but I’d appreciate it even more if you’d tone down your own (mundane, non-clinical) paranoia.
It’s POSSIBLE that he was “helped” by right-wing rhetoric in choosing a target. That would likely be a very marginal sort of “help”, as in, he perhaps frequented a website that often mentioned her name. Drawing any causal relationship would be very difficult.
It’s also POSSIBLE (and from what we know, more likely) that he was “helped” by hallucinations or other symptoms to believe that he and Gifford were personally connected to each other somehow, regardless of her party affiliation or views.
Both could be the case at the same time. But only the latter seems likely from what we know so far.
I think that Loughner may well be much closer to the left than the right. The language he uses trends more existentially, his ideas of reality/non-reality, fixation on illusion, his use of dreams, and his dream journal — to live an alternate reality (and not as therapy), particularly this “what if words have no meaning” cry…
this is all far more the signal of despair than fear, and so yes likely this is a fractured individual, fragile and broken under stress — but the nature of the right is ingroup, it is exclusive and it is fear, fear as a function of objectivity that marks the darkside. Trending left is despair, the struggle over meaning, the subjective loss of self, the inability to integrate into a larger wholeness.
Note the irritation at the recruiter and the mini-bible, the “none” on the religion line that results…
The self-negation and damage that despair causes can be much greater than anything the fear of the right can produce. It happens less often because even in despair the tendency is to self-correct towards affirmation.
I was merely addressing the assumption/assertion that this guy was acting out of some sort of premeditated, politically-driven malice designed to take revenge on those whose beliefs he does not share. Apologies if I can’t solve the nature/nurture question about how he became as deranged as he appears to be.
@JAHILL10: he may be taking the 5th under the direction of his lawyer… any lawyer worth anything would be advising him to STFU as is his right.
@AAA Bonds: You’re trivializing by requiring a ridiculous “but-for” standard of causation and a linear view of the context (i.e., “if x then y, if not x, then not y). What is emerging is a troubled guy with schizophrenic tendencies, and a bunch of people who really didn’t know how sick he is and what a danger he represented. From what I understand, schizophrenics are generally paranoid and they are particularly vulnerable to things that reinforce and focus their paranoia. What you’ve had on the right over the last few years is a host of demagogues peddling various conspiracy theories. Examples include the “Jekyll Island” conspiracies of the gold/fiat money/Austrian economics variety, the “socialist” conspiracies of Beck, “death panels” of Sarah Palin and others, “second Amendment remedies” of the Sharron Angle ilk, “birtherism,” etc. A lot of mainstream Republicans and conservative media outlets have legitimized some of this stuff or, at the best, have failed to recognize a responsibility to discredit it. In sum, it contributes to an environment in which people’s worst paranoid tendencies are enabled. Sure, you’ve also had some conspiracy mongers on the left, e.g., the “truthers,” but there is no comparison in the volume, and these folks don’t tend to advocate violence against the government. This alone would be evidence of an effect from right wing rhetoric, even if Laughner were a Nancy Pelosi liberal on every other issue. Fringe wingers are far more likely to advocate violence against elected officials.
It doesn’t matter if Laughner swore allegiance to the gospel of Sarah Palin to a T (something he’s probably isn’t capable of in his mental state anyway), it’s whether there is some nexus to an environment that certain media figures and politicians have played a big role in fostering. There’s enough there, e.g., the currency conspiracy nonsense, that lends credibility to him being at least influenced by the current conspiracy-theory ridden environment and those around him being unable to really discern this. You can make a pretty strong argument that Second Amendment fetishism and cuts in social services by right-leaning politicians in places like Arizona makes it much easier for a nut like this to act out. Who the hell needs a 31-shot clip and why can you buy shit like that in a regular gun store? It’s fucking nonsense. Would anyone seriously argue that it would be better to monitor the mental health of 300 million people to decide who gets a gun, instead of banning the more lethal varieties?
Is this enough evidence to say the Sarah Palin and others on the right “caused” this? Of course not, but we’re not talking about indicting her as a co-conspirator. Events like this are legitimate opportunities to call people like Palin on their rhetoric because, in these times, people more concretely understand the possible consequences of this kind of craziness and begin to understand that it isn’t always harmless or a joke when people start advocating violent action and that some “theories” may be a symptom of mental illness. This is exactly the time that discussion should be occurring. What I’d like to see is the media actively taking on some of the current popular conspiracy theories in a non “he said/she said” way, instead of reporting Sarah Palin’s ( or Michael Moore’s) tweets or simply relying on self-proclaimed “experts” who have an axe to grind. That might save a few lives at least because, then, for example, associates of people like Laughner might be more alarmed when their friends start spouting paranoid nonsense. The current environment makes it harder to distinguish nonsense from fact because a lot people, predominantly on the right (and somewhat like Laughner, but less deadly), think they can make up their own facts in the service of some abstract “principle.”
I’m pretty sure trying to place the writings/statements of a guy with a formal thought disorder on a political spectrum is an exercise in futility.
As I siad, I really don’t understand the mentality of Deomcrats or independents (non-rightwingers, anyway) wh try tominimize this as theapolitical act of a nut.
Gabby Greifford had been the target of a relentless, public, pervasive attack fromthe local rightwing, much of it couched in violent metaphor or implied gun vilence in images. A crazy person acted on their message.
How many times does this have to happen befoe people are willing to connnect eht dots?
@Kath: Yeah, you’d be right if you had any fucking clue what “being on the left” means.
Peddle that shit elsewhere.
@matoko_chan: Proving a moron can have a high IQ’ once again.
Yup, and because his name isn’t El-Loughner. You can bet that Saturday, before the shooter’s ID was released, in Wingnut HQ there were endless entreaties to Jeebiz that he be Mooslum, like at Fort Hood.
Fit the narrative, damnit, fit the narrative. Sadly, no.
@stuckinred: Snowing in your neck of the woods?
Yes. This is the real story here – not that the right prompted Loughner in any way, but that the right has accepted views that come from sources similar to Loughner, and so thoroughly that they can’t help but look bad.
There’s a common ORIGIN for many current common right-wing views and Loughner’s actions: paranoia and delusion in specific individuals. The American right, always enamored with paranoid politics, has fallen in love with a particularly extreme brand of paranoia, and float trial balloons that start with people who might well be as crazed as Loughner.
A didn’t cause B; A and B were both caused by C, and when C is “motherfucking crazy”, that’s a problem.
I’d still like to know what the fuck Arizona was thinking in allowing 30-round clips to be sold for semi-automatic pistols. What reason does someone have to own that?
Then please stop mischaracterizing my argument as me saying that Loughner only had his psychotic break because of the constant drumbeat of right-wing paranoia. I have said several times that I am not saying that, and I would appreciate you addressing the argument I’m actually making.
I am saying that the violent atmosphere created by the Republicans may have influenced Loughner’s choice of targets and that I do not think his target choice was as completely random as you seem to believe it was.
Someone in the thread below linked to an article in Esquire about the atmosphere in Texas right before Kennedy’s assassination — that’s the point I’m making, not that Sarah Palin is directly responsible for this shooting.
you do not know that.
he acted in concert with their message – his goals may have coincided with those who demand 2nd amendment remedies (basically “fewer Dems, via the magic of Smith & Wesson”). but from what we know now, it is impossible to say if he acted on their message (or even because of it). what his actual reasons were, we do not know.
again: not saying it’s impossible he was acting on Palin’s map or whatever; only that it’s currently unknowable.
What you’re doing is connecting dots that may or may not form a picture. Can you grasp that? I’d hope so.
@BGinCHI: Hiawassee and Lenoir
I just came in from whacking the pines and myrtles trying to get the deep snow off the limbs before this ice comes in this afternoon. Nearly everything north of the gnat line is closed.
William Shockley? Ever hear of him?
I’m saying that, given what we know, there could be no causal relationship between Loughner’s acts and political rhetoric even if he sat and listened to the most offensive acts on talk radio all day long. I don’t believe this is mischaracterizing your argument.
I’m not sure what you mean by “random”, either. He was obviously obsessed with her. Why? Why was my friend obsessed with Oprah? It’s very hard to tell “why” with deluded individuals – they don’t “choose” their obsessions.
@stuckinred: WaPo says the car crashed into a garage and caught fire.
@Dave: Hunting, obviously.
Here’s another angle. The guy was crazy, so he was bad. All the OTHER death threats were not by crazy people because they did not act, therefore those ones are okay?
@BGinCHI: Go fuck yourself. To infinity and beyond.
@Dave: To guard the border from hordes of Messican drug runners and Ay-Rab spies infiltratin’, of course. Without the ability to go dual wielding yer pistols down Main Street, Arizona, they will certainly remove your government and institute Shania Law after they kill your dog.
@Kath: Good lord, and by the way, what is the weather really like on Mars? Are there any good restaurants?
@stuckinred: Holy shit!
6 inches? Looks like a lot, and sure as hell a lot for Athens.
Dogs like it though. Your vid needs a better soundtrack.
@BGinCHI: Thanks for the story, BGinCHI.
The name and identity of Earl Butz is seared into my memory from similar events. I was a 10 the year Nixon took office and I remember that summer of ’69 spending about 6 weeks on my grandparents farm that summer.
I thought being a farmer was the coolest thing ever. Getting up with my grandfather at Oh-dark thirty and drinking coffee with him while listening to the “Farm Report” on the radio. Hearing “Earl Butz, Sec. of Agriculture said..” from the commentator always cracked me up.
That was a memorable summer. First there was the moon landing and hearing all of the old codgers in their Sunday-go-to-meeting overalls at church services claiming the lunar landing was a hoax. Getting done with work early in the day when it was hot, I always watched “Uncle Walter” relate the day’s “body count” on the CBS Evening News with my grandparents. The grandparents would bitch about the war and then turn around and bitch about the hippies protesting. I was just a wide-eyed kid taking it all in and it had no meaning until I came home and found out an older neighbor kid—the brother of some of my playmates and the hero of all the little dudes in our neighborhood whose favorite play games were “Cowboys and Indians” or “war”–had been killed in ‘Nam while I was at my grandparents.
Us neighborhood kids never played “War” again after that summer.
@Poopyman: Wow! A bmw was trying to get up a hill in Atlanta this morning while local news was filming. The car burst into flames live and in living color.
I don’t think so, either. It’s more like — Loughner was a bomb, and the right wing pointed him in a particular direction. They normalized his delusions and made it more difficult for him to get or accept help, because he was just saying the same things that Limbaugh and Beck say every day.
The right wing has normalized the kind of thoughts that go through a paranoid schizophrenic’s head and brought them into the mainstream. When Michele Bachmann goes on TV, she doesn’t sound all that different than Loughner, but she’s a frickin’ congresswoman so her ideas are broadcast as normal and acceptable.
IIRC (but I can’t look it up because I’m at work), schizophrenics act differently in different cultures based on the cultural parameters. People in violent cultures are more likely to act out violently; people in less violent cultures are less likely to do so. It appears as though there is a cultural/social influence on the biologically-based disorder of schizophrenia.
Money. The gun lobby is mighty powerful.
@Kath: I have work to do later, but thanks for the suggestion.
Maybe see someone for that anger issue.
That’s a pretty fancy way of saying ‘Both sides do it!’
Or it’s a pretty fancy way of saying ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about!’
If only we could have a poll….
Is anyone actually arguing that?
Agreed. There is a real national story on the bad effects of right-wing rhetoric on people who DON’T seem to suffer from psychosis – people who seem to have developed political reasons to try to hurt and kill government officials.
I worry that may become lost in the focus on Loughner, who may or may not fall into that category.
@matoko_chan: Because he makes your argument about yer wonderful IQ into nonsense. Which it always was, by the way…IQ means exactly ZERO besides the ability to see patterns. But whatever makes you feel special, toots.
CNN reports: Democratic health care events canceled, due to the shooting / irony
Your words make about as much sense as the shooter’s.
@stuckinred: heh. at least im smart enuff to see that you cannon-fodder grunts got scammed into slaughtering brown people so Real Murricans could keep driving SUVs outside the HOV lane.
Proving a moron can
haveclaim a high IQ’ once again.
@WyldPirate: Whereabouts? Recovering rural Hoosier here.
I miss those old guys. Grew up with a bunch of them too. Politics aside, they sure as hell knew how to build things and take care of things.
Nostalgia is dangerous, but hard to resist sometimes.
Well, no, I think the point is that violent right-wing rhetoric is a severe problem whether it affected Loughner or not.
@soonergrunt: thank you!
@NobodySpecial: IQ is the psychometric measurement we use IN SCIENCE to measure cognitive ability.
no wonder i never heard of the guy– hes a crank.
@soonergrunt: ditto u sooner.
@WyldPirate: Ha, when I came home my best friends parents told me that I had no business protesting the war while, at the same time, telling me there was no way their sons were going!
@harlana: Remember when we were having national conversations about mental health care and how it was getting funding cuts and what the consequences for this are?
I wonder why we can’t have a national discussion about this anymore? Any idea who’s blocking us spending money on much-needed mental health care?
I’ll take my answer on the air.
Thank you for such a succinct summing up of the central issue. Part of what the right wing seeks is “normalizing the crazy.” So their pet issues, excuses, and rationalizations become “the new normal.”
@matoko_chan: Aspeberger’s does not really correlate with high IQ. But it does make for some unusually interesting people.
I have gotten old enough, I think, to realize that interesting people are more more valuable than those with raw IQ.
You need your own blog. I would read it, FWIW.
Not to mention, you give up your 30-round clips you give up your Freedom(tm).
Albeit a Nobel-Prize winning crank.
That still is a bridge too far. At some point we may know. Maybe he saw her on local TV a few years back. Maybe it was one of her own pieces of campaign media.
Right-wing rhetoric has been horrible for quite some time and I detest what they are doing. When you draw lines from the GOP to the shooting by what you are saying, you are guessing.
Except that I’m not saying that what he saw on TV gave him the idea. I’m saying that there is a general attitude and tone in politics that could very well direct a paranoid schizophrenic to attacking a political figure.
I have not seen the same evidence you have that he was specifically obsessed with Gabrielle Giffords. I will need to see some evidence that he didn’t know her political stances and was only personally obsessed with her before I can come to the conclusion that politics had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting of a congresswoman at a political event.
Let’s run a scenario, since neither of us really know what’s going on. Let’s say that Loughner was personally obsessed with Giffords, and that he was enraged by her vote for health care and decided to kill her for that betrayal. Would that make his attack political, in your view, or would it just be the result of his personal obsessions with no political content?
There’s not going to be a clear motive here because the guy is delusional. I think that it’s probably going to turn out to be a mix of political and personal motives given his reading list and his interest in politics, but it will be impossible to say that he did this because he saw Sarah Palin’s website or whatever. The human mind — even a broken one — is not that simple or direct.
Romney meets with Karzai. WTF?
Probably just wanted him to pass his resume on to his brother.
@BGinCHI: For the same reason that, although we are in a Depression, apparently the only way to improve this dire situation is to give tax cuts to the rich and cut spending (suddenly, and of all times, we care about the deficit) on social programs.
@BGinCHI: Mittens has a brother? What’s his name, Dimm?
@matoko_chan: Actually, since Shockley isn’t a psychiatrist, but rather a co-inventor of the transistor, all you’ve proven to me today is that your education, such as it was, is a shoddy piece of junk.
That’s from Binet….the man who invented the modern IQ test.
Of course, the IQ test in America has a long, wonderful history, starting with it’s use to prove that the Irish were subhumans and moving on from there.
What you’re championing from your stance here is the belief in your own superiority from a test that can’t measure what you claim it does, and you’re extrapolating results from it that do not hold water in reality (since Shockley was no ‘low IQ moron’.) Your entire belief structure in yourself because of an IQ test is a fantasy and a lie.
@stuckinred: I’m here to serve.
@trollhattan: Well sure, and thank your lobbyist for the pre-printed talking points!
@NobodySpecial:” Your entire belief structure in yourself because of an IQ test is a fantasy and a lie. ”
And those are her good points.
yes, it strikes me as really strange that someone who purports to be an expert on I.Q. would have never even heard of the man.
Maybe our little cudlip is a charlatan. A POSEUR.
@stuckinred: Yeah, I expect her to just explode all over her monitor as soon as she figures out what I meant. Same reason I never joined Mensa..IQ tests are bunk and junk.
Check out this Digby post – the shooter’s oddball rambling style is almost exactly like “language” developed by a bizarro right-winger named David Wynn Miller.
Not to discount the idea that the shooter is mentally unstable, but he does appear to be a right winger lunatic. Not a leftist.
Also, not too many leftists are for returning to a gold standard as mentioned in some of the shooter’s
@matoko_chan: Uhhhh, no. I think he was saying that he was slaughtering yella people, not brown.
And IIRC, there was the small matter of the Selective Service, negating the need for anyone to get “scammed”.
As the number of comments grows larger for any given post, the likelihood of one commenter’s obsessive and usually contextually offensive topics becoming the main subject of discussion increases dramatically.
Thus, the continual appearance of the IQ ‘debate’ here.
I’m starting to think it’s not so much the violent rhetoric (which is execrable for its own reasons) that creates a backdrop for an assassination, but the rhetoric that calls its opponents’ control of the federal government illegitimate, overreaching, and seeking at every step to eliminate individual freedom and liberty.
At the fringes that may manifest itself as a belief that all federal government, regardless of party or politician, is illegitimate.
But the language of illegitimacy comes hot and heavy from almost every voice on the right, be they elected members, insiders or pundits.
That’s the real fissure that threatens the social contract: calling your opponents and their actions illegitimate and dangerous to individual freedom.
Keep banging that drum against a backdrop of easy access to guns and what’re you gonna see? More things to add to that “Insurrection Timeline” at csgv.org.
@Barb (formerly Gex): Chomsky also has a lifelong obsession with grammar
@stuckinred: To Karzai’s brother, the “alleged” drug dealer. BG humor fail.
@BGinCHI: Apparently so did mine? :) UGA is closed again tomorrow, this place is in a trick bag. Foot of snow on the streets, ice covering it and zero snow removal capability.
@stuckinred: OK, get over to that hill coming into town and start filming.
Or better yet, go sledding.
@Michael D.: FTW, where would you like your internets delivered?
@Poopyman: That was me, Nam as opposed to Iraq/Afghan theater.
Tennessee. Tobacco/cattle/hog/corn farm.
Boy are you right about those farm folks. Talk about self-sufficient. They could basically fix/repair anything. The had to as they basically had few alternatives. My dad is nearly 80 and hates that he has to call for someone to repair anything now that he can’t do most of it himself. He never had to before about five years ago.
You’re right about the nostalgia. Got a good dose at home over Christmas. It’s easy to forget that underneath the extreme conservatism in many of “those people” that many of us grew apart from politically; that they are really decent, well-meaning people.
@BGinCHI: You didn’t watch my doggies in the snow vid??
@stuckinred: I did! I suggested it needed a better soundtrack. Maybe Van Halen or Gang of Four.
Can’t believe how much snow you guys got.
@stuckinred: D’oh! My bad. Just a product of my time, I guess.
When I was 20 years old, I had an episode of major depression. Never left my on-campus apartment, barely spoke to my suitemates or my family or anyone else, drifted away from my girlfriend who I’d been quite happy with for over a year, started failing classes after being a whiz kid all my life, couldn’t sleep, spent all my time obsessing over the Bush Administration. Eventually I saw a psychiatrist, was prescribed some antidepressants and did a lot better.
Still not sure whether I’m depressive or bipolar; when you’re down for so long it’s hard to tell the difference between manic and happy. But my grades were great and I stopped taking the pills after about a year.
Anyway, a few years later, I graduated and I started getting into psychedelics. I’d pretty much trip on one thing until I had a bad trip, and I finally moved onto the big kahuna, DMT. I started tripping more and more and there finally came a point where my brain was pretty much scrambled for a few days. Couldn’t sleep at all, started tying together random thoughts, had paranoid delusions, voices in my head, the works. (I think these were the side effect of an MAOI, but who knows.) I knew that I was losing it, which is a good sign, and I just kept reminding myself that it was some kind of flashback and would end. About 3 days later, after a terrible shift at my restaurant, I snapped back to normal. It was a biblical scales-falling-from-my-eyes moment and I went home and slept for like 14 hours. Haven’t had anything like that happen since, because I’m not taking drugs anymore.
I definitely wasn’t crazy enough to do anything violent, though. I was very much aware that something was wrong with me. Oddly, one of my neighbors had a similar breakdown (albeit completely biological as far as I know) about two weeks earlier, but she was committed and I don’t think she’s really recovered.
No moral of the story, just trying to give a little perspective on the classic early/mid-20s losing-of-one’s-shit.
@BGinCHI: Earl’s nephew was quite the d-tackle.
@WyldPirate: This is what’s so sad about the absolute lying shit that Fox peddles. I know it’s everyone’s responsibility to think for themselves, but the sheer amount of mendacious discourse flooding the air has colonized good peoples’ minds. Sad.
I love, for example, Wendell Berry’s work, but it’s so far out of a context of mixed races, faiths, cultures, that it’s hard to reconcile.
@BGinCHI: I put a lot of music to my vids, some make it and some get 86’d by youtube. This morning was on the fly. Here’s a still.
@stuckinred: He play at Purdue?
@BGinCHI: where do you teach? I know you told me once.
@stuckinred: Wow. Gotta be a record?
Bars will be full tonight…..
@stuckinred: oh my bad.
i was referrin to your co-vets meltdown t’other nite when i corrected Global War on Terror to Global War on Islam.
same fucking thing.
jeebus-humper democracy missionaries with guns.
“a soap and water common school american society extending from one corner of the globe to another.”
Butz played high school football at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Illinois, where he was two-time high school All-American. He also played basketball and was the Illinois High School discus champion, setting a state record. He then played college football at Purdue University, where he was a 1972 finalist for the Lombardi Award.
At the victory parade following the Redskins win in Super Bowl XXII, Butz famously shouted to the crowd, “We came, we saw, we kicked their butz.”
Butz was later named to Purdue’s All Time Football team.
@stuckinred: NEIU. Give it a lookup. At dot edu.
@matoko_chan: Fuckin A, wish I would have come across your narrow ass.
@eemom: sowwy, not in any of my textbooks. nevah heard of him.
is he a dead-white-guy?
like you and burns and sooner and agm and suzanne an the rest of the old harpy patrol.
@stuckinred: thanks. Didn’t put him together with old Earl.
Bunch of my students teach at Maine South.
@stuckinred: dude, ima white girl.
hereditary republican, guns, dogs and pony club.
Matoko is a tribute to Major Kusanagi.
chan is cuz ima grrl.
Whether or not any specific diagnosis is correct this is an essential part of the conversation we ought to be having.
Even if Loughner wasn’t influenced by the right hate-spew, the next assassin might be.
So it is time to chill methinks.
Turn down the crazy.
At the very least, consider him a warning of what kind of problems exist out there.
@The Moar You Know:
Unbelievable. I surely hope you have no role in the justice system. If he truly is suffering from severe schizophrenia, then it is likely he isn’t responsible for his actions. Apparently, you’ve never known or been around someone who is seriously mentally ill. I assume you think the correct approach to someone who is severely depressed and suicidal is to tell them to just suck it up quit whining.
It will be interesting (and probably very sad) to see how Arizona treats Loughner. When budgets get cut, mental health care is often one of the first things to go.
Hell, wouldn’t have mattered what color or gender you are.
You know the Jefferson Airplane
“Redwoods talk to me
Say it plainly
The human name
Doesn’t mean shit to a tree”
eskimo blue day
@Dave: it’s to protect us local citizenry from the headless illegal bodies that are so pervasive in our deserts.
@soonergrunt: LOL yeah, if a Colonel is shooting at the enemy, you’re pretty much being overrun!
No mah lobbyist.
But, since every anti-anti-gun argument starts with the camel’s-nose-under-the-tent defense, y’all can bet Freedoms(tm) will defended with zeal in Arizona should defenseless monster magazines come under commie attack.
Note: the previous is a prediction, not a position.
@Triassic Sands: Thankfully, AZ doesn’t have jurisdiction. He is being held in Phoenix, but under the care of the Feds. His charges are federal and that’s where he’ll be tried. He’ll get as a fair a trial as is possible in our media saturated country.
Besides the victims, I also feel sorry for Loughner’s parents. Who knows what they’ve been going through with him!
@IrishGirl: Except for bad ass motherfuckers like Col Allen West (ret) who want the president leading LRP’s.
@IrishGirl: But they’re great for breaking in clearing barrels!
@stuckinred: Considering that LTC West resigned in lieu of Court Martial, I wouldn’t take his opinion on anything.
Fixed that for ya. I can’t believe that nut carried a firearm without shooting himself.
@soonergrunt — hope your cardiologist is treating you right.
@IrishGirl: as a FYI, Pima County and Sheriff Dupnik are altogether unlike Joe Arpaio in Maricopa. The PCSO Sheriff is already on record as not enforcing that asinine SB 1070 law and if you tuned into his press conference post the shooting you can easily see the diference. Our two Congressional seats are held by Ms. Giffords and Mr. Grijalva as are the majority of the Democrats in the state house and senate from this polity. Politically speaking, Tucson is a tad more sane than the rest of the state
And so much for the absolutely abysmal ‘mental health system’ in Arizona, contracted out, and major problems with delivery of care. The is a conservative backward low tax state. With the current budget crisis they will go after more cuts in the ACHSS (Medicaid) system, K-12, and whatever else they can find) I can say this, I live here.
@AuldBlackJack: You could make a pretty compelling argument to add Bruce and Joshua Turnidge to that list as well.
What fits with Chronic Paranoid Schizophrenia, and what doesn’t
The age is well within the range for a first psychotic break. Late adolescence would be more center of mass, but 22 is quite compatible. That said, most 22 year olds obviously don’t have CPS. The age doesn’t support CPS, it merely doesn’t work against CPS, it just allows the diagnosis to be entertained.
The thinking as diplayed on the website is arguably disordered in ways characteristic of CPS. Ideas of influence are prominent, in the sense that he leaps from supposed violations of the Constitution to the idea that the violators thereby control society. But, frankly, I don’t find his ideas to be terribly unusual. He’s a Constitution in Exile believer. While I don’t think much of these people, I don’t think they’ve got CPS. If we’re not going to say that Ron Paul has CPS (and I certainly don’t), how are we going to say that Loughner has it based on similarly mad ideas about the legitimacy of our currency? There is a huge scope for political beliefs, some of them frankly much crazier, much more specifically paranoid a than anything Loughner writes (i.e., that Sharia law is about to be imposed on the US, that Azatlan is about to rise again, that there is a massive conpiracy to conceal Obama’s Kenyan birth), to be quite crazy, without the believers being thereby under the least suspicion of their sanity.
The reason we don’t apply the same loose standards of political sanity to Loughner is that he committed mass murder for beliefs no crazier than those of upwards of 20% of the electorate.
But that murder actually is a strong argument against Loughner having CPS. Schizophrenics are much, much more in danger from others than a danger to others, and that partly because of the stigma that a careless attribution of this crime to that illness is likely to worsen.
CPS sufferers tend, pretty strongly, to not seek the validation of others for their delusional content. They tend to guard their delusions, to be wary of sharing them, partly because of the suspixcion of others characteritic of the disease, but partly out of a proprietary sense that others do not have the insight and intuition necessary to see the separate truths that they see. They don’t tend to syllogism, as Loughner does on his website, they tend to believe what they do as an intuitive flash, not as carefully worked out ratiocination. They don’t tend to advertise their delusional content to the world by presenting it on websites. They don’t expect or want converts to their peculiar vision.
They mostly want to be left alone. Yes, CPS sufferers do sometimes become involved in public disturbancs such as Loughner is said to gave gotten into at his community college. But it is not characteristic for them to be the aggressor, to return five times to an seek out confrontation with the authorities at the same place. They would tend to cause a disturbance more out of an irrational sense of being cornered, and lash out in fear and terror at (incorrectly) perceived aggression, rather than return over and over again to the same place that caused them fear and terror before.
Loughner may indeed have a diagnosable mental health problem, but CPS seems unlikely based on what we know. I wouldn’t make any diagnioses in my practice based on the sorts of things we know, which really are superficial compared to what can be gathered from a careful interview of the patient, and family, and careful descriptions of the reported disturbances.
Even more to the point, I would be very reluctant to rush to the judgment that this episode should be blamed on any diagnosis. Again, “normal” people are infinitely more a danger to schizophrenics than they are to us. Let’s not add to that.
Disordered thought, even specifically paranoid disordered thought, is not the sole possession of schizophrenics. It’s not even most commonly found among them. We should only think someone has CPS if such thinking is global in them, if they think and act this way in all apsects of their lives, not just politically, where paranoid thinking is endemic in this country.
We normal people are made understandably uncomfortable at the thought that a fellow normal person could do such a thing as this mass murder, that ideas that would reasonably prompt one to murder are accepted as normal in our political discourse. We should not ignore the evidence that Loughner’s relation to his paranoid political delusions was not characteristic of CPS, whose sufferers are intensely private in their beliefs, but that it was characterized instead by adherence to a public ideology of the Constitution in Exile that is shared by far too many people whom we give credence to by electing them to public office. The sane response to our discomfort is not to scapegoat the sick, but to keep paranoid ideas out of our political discourse.
I guess this is my question, and I’m not sure if there’s an answer: what do CPS patients do when they interact with people who share their beliefs, or have very similar beliefs? Do they continue to hide their beliefs, or do they share them?
@stuckinred: Fuckin A, wish I would have come across your narrow ass.
WTF dude? Does that mean what I think it means? Really?
@Dave: I’d still like to know what the fuck Arizona was thinking in allowing 30-round clips to be sold for semi-automatic pistols. What reason does someone have to own that?
Only a liberal wouldn’t unnerstand this concept. Having 30 round clips is a God given right, protected by the Constitushun. It’s a basic truth. Like Jesus controlling the tides.
LOL! Perfect place to ask this question John. Lots of people here with personal experience! I’m thinking more and more that you’re just toying with the nuts that post here.
@JCT: Yeah. She is doing a great job. I love my Cardiologist.
Yay! You called me “old”! Clearly an indicator of a tremendous intellect. Can you call me fat again now?
I am in hysterics over the idea that you’re emulating Taibbi. Seriously.
I’m canceling my Netflix subscription. You’re all the entertainment I need.
@The Moar You Know:
Beat me to it.
Fuck him and fuck his diagnosis. Pop a cap in his dome, see how he likes it.
Motherfucker, tell me you’re not serious.
Thank you. Everyone’s so fucking quick to excuse this piece of shit by saying he’s mentally ill.
Fuck. That. Noise.
This motherfucker was lucid enough to purchase a gun two months ago, wait until Rep. Giffords had her meet-and-greet with her constituents, unload on her and many others, try to reload, and when in custody plead the 5th.
could not agree more with your final point. this poor young man is clearly deeply disturbed and deserves our pity and compassion, NOT more inflammatory comments (i’m talking to YOU, axel whoever you are).
however, glen, your description of cps conforms to those who’ve shown symptoms for a while. from what i’ve read, loughner was doing “ok” according to a friend about 3 years ago, and in the past year or so took a turn. the fact that he and his parents are all loners suggests none of them would do any reality testing with each other, and might not notice symptoms as odd if they’re not noticing anything by not engaging.
having read his website posts, it was not the content so much that struck me (whether or not he talked about this or that conspiracy), but the complete lack of coherence, the attribution of meaning where there was none, the lack of awareness that no one else would grasp his meaning, the ideas of influence (as you point out), the paranoia, the leaps of logic, all these confirm thought disorder. this has nothing to do with the thrust of the content; he could be talking about cooking or baseball, but none of the thoughts hang together. moreover, the delusional quality is very difficult to miss. the asserted meanings in all those numbers, the authoritarian conspiracy (granted, lots of folks entertain these) that he has the key to control, that he knows how minds are controlled and that he can himself control minds – all this is highly delusional.
so that’s two symptoms, add to that the disorganized behaviors that have been reported, the social disturbances, and the likelihood that we’ll find these behaviors have been going on for at least six months, and i’d have to say the poor boy hit the jackpot.
to my mind, the key is not in the political content so much as in the way he attempts to hang it all together, how he fails so miserably. it’s like swiss cheese. many conspiracy nuts out there can still present their nutso ideas in a coherent way; this guy, not so much.
there is gathering evidence in the literature – in fact, a fairly heated debate – regarding the prodromal phase leading up to a psychotic break. in my professional experience, i have seen a few youngsters in that phase, prior to any medication, who have been anything but antisocial or withdrawn. at least two of them showed quite aggressive behaviors regarding protecting themselves from the dreaded diagnosis (family members had it, as is so often the case). they were scared but determined to knit a reality together that would not mean they were losing their minds, and they were damn cagey and resourceful in accomplishing their goal. in most of those cases, they fell over the edge after indulging in heavy drugs, one after being brutally rejected by a girl.
we don’t know enough about the course of the disease to really assert what might have been going on in this young man. contrary to what many believe, being schizophrenic does not necessarily mean you cannot brush your teeth or wipe yourself, much less carry out the necessary steps to apply for the army or a gun license. there is reason to believe that, at least for one sub-population with this diagnosis, the symptoms come on gradually around this age of 22, give or take, and the person is actually quite aware that something is not quite right. that is key; they know their thoughts are not knitting together and that they don’t seem to be able to pull the threads back into pattern. once the threshold is crossed into full blown florid psychosis, though, they believe what they believe without question or hesitation, they are completely delusional. (ran across a quite good article about this in harper’s in the last month or two, but the professional literature is out there (tom macglashon and ian falloon). interesting stuff, and helps me understand those kids i saw. not all schizophrenics start out looking like them from the time they’re kids, as it turns out.
ultimately, though, there will be a psych eval and i’d bet good money on schizophrenia. insanity defense. i’m also very curious to know more about that withdrawn family.
thanks for you input; thoughtful stuff.
Awesome. I’m reading the Mother Jones article, and what ad do they serve me in the middle of an article about a violent paranoid schizophrenic?
One asking whether I’m being secretly poisoned by my food, of course. “ARE YOU DRINKING POISON?” in giant red letters, with a skull and crossbones.
also, just read jim’s candid description of his experience with depression (thanks, dude; hang in there), and remembered another thing, the sleep factor. loughner mentioned a lot about sleep problems or some such. can’t recall the exact wording. but this is key. sleep disruption occurs in many various psych disorders, but when you start losing sleep, it becomes a snowball; the processes just compound wildly.
and the drugs. it’s like the thing that comes along and just pushes you over the edge. back before i finished college, many years ago, i was with a guy who completely lost it on some very bad acid (orange barrels, as i recall). it took several of us hours of driving him around before he came round. that episode pushed him over; he’s never recovered and been through some very hard times.
he was not the perfect specimen of a human prior to that, but no one would have said he was off or weird. actually a sweet but devilish guy. he tells me now that he had had some episodes prior to that night when he really was not sure he was in control of his mind. it scared him but not terribly. then, after the acid, he couldn’t pull anything together.
apologies for being longwinded; john asked! but thanks, jim, for your candor. sounds like you have a good grip on things now; best to ya.
More anonymous than usual
Chomsky is a Linguist – not a grammarian. Being concerned with language, and meta-languages, is his field of study.
Anyone who calmly states over and over again that we can’t assume that right wing nuttery isn’t responsible for this horrific mass murder is (1) denial is not a river! (2) right wing nut their own self (3) too stupid to tie their own shoes or (4) malicious monster trying to conceal their deliberate seeding of hate and violence. Or all of the above.
While it is obvious that this guy is certifiable on some levels, he has enough sense to remain silent, so he knows he did something wrong. Something people want to convict him for.
And Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and their ilk are guilty of creating an environment where people can believe that members of the Democratic party are bent upon the destruction of the USA. As a card-carrying member of the Democratic party, I’m legally carrying a gun so that I can fight back if a right-wing nut goes off near me.
They won’t be carrying me off without a fight!
@Vlad: Well, I’ve been seeing all sorts of ads for marksmanship training and buying guns and concealed-carry classes and such things that are just classy as hell to see with respect to the subjects at hand.
So, go Google Adsense!
Herbal Infusion Bagger
“he tells me now that he had had some episodes prior to that night when he really was not sure he was in control of his mind. it scared him but not terribly. then, after the acid, he couldn’t pull anything together.”
Unfortunately, you don’t get to know whether you have delicate brain chemistry that street drugs can mess with until too late.
If you’ve got epilepsy, history of mental disorders in your family, you should probably stay away from street drugs.
Meth obviously alters brain chemistry radically by causing the brain to permanently decrease dopamine receptors, as well as a medium-term depletion of dopamine. MDMA likewise is strongly associated with depression. And that’s just what the intended compounds do, never mind the side-products that might be made and not removed in a crappy batch. Sorry to go all Nancy Reagan n’ stuff here, but thought it needed to be said.
excuse me, maude, but the fact is that being delusional does not necessarily mean you cannot put your name on a form or respond to simple commands (e.g., get in that line).
there is not doubt that he planned this, but there is also no doubt that he is seriously thought disordered and delusional.
all that said, i’ve always felt that anyone who might pull off such a cold-blooded act must be deranged. that holds for the big dick cheney. now that man is delusional, not to mention paranoid. and he managed to run the country for 8 years (into the ground, but… just sayin’).
please take a step back and recognize that expressing hostility, even toward this man who did this dreadful thing, contradicts what we’re trying to say here. hostile rhetoric, no matter how justified you might feel it is, only begets hostility.
ps. not to be all snotty or anything, but the phd in my name, i earned it and i use it. i know of what i speak wrt some of this stuff about the guy’s diagnosis, etc.
@Herbal Infusion Bagger:
i agree; in fact, lots of folks who’ve had head injuries, sports concussions, etc., don’t realize that they should NEVER drink again, much less do any drugs. the brain is a delicate organ, and once injured, the next injury is harder to recover from, etc. substances only add to the complications, and in a very big way.
so, not so much nancy reagan as street smart; thx.
@More anonymous than usual:
wow. just… wow.
do you actually hear yourself? you are sounding just. like. THEM.
please, take a breath. and put the damn gun away. really; you’re sounding just like them.
and by the by, this guy is not likely remaining silent because he’s “smart enough to,” but because his head is so scrambled he cannot put two words together.
again, the last thing we need is for a tragedy like this to reduce us to the rhetoric that got us here. we have to show these folks by example the way to deal with disagreement, not mimic their behavior.
then, as they say so tritely, they have truly won.
@More anonymous than usual:
That’s the tricky part, though — he could do something that he knows larger society considers to be “wrong” and still be convinced in his own mind that he’s absolutely right.
This, by the way, was the same reasoning the prosecution used in the Andrea Yates case — they argued that she must have been sane when she drowned her 5 children to save them from Satan because she called 911 to turn herself in afterward, so clearly that meant she knew she did something wrong and was not insane. That verdict was eventually overturned and she was sent to a secure mental hospital instead, almost certainly for the rest of her life.
Yes, he’s in the typical age of onset for schizophrenia. The window tends to be from around ages 18 to early 30’s, there are exceptions to this though. Most commonly, early adulthood and the stresses it seem to combine with genetic predisposition and symptoms of schizophrenia often show up in the early 20’s.
For the non-clinicians in the group, here’s the criteria he’d have to meet to be diagnosed as schizophrenic. Thought you might be interested. Based on what I’ve read about him it sounds like a possibility, unlike the Ft. Hood shooter who is just trying to weasel his way out of punishment since he won’t get his heavenly virgins any time soon.
You put this so much better than I did in my way-too-casual and woefully broad first comment. The loose associations (really, it’s hard to get through his writing), what is described as a personality change in what appears to be his late teens, the grandiosity plus the paranoid delusional content all suggest to me paranoid schizophrenia. Drug use certainly would explain a marked change in behavior and anti-social interactions but the full constellation of symptoms as I understand them make him seem more like a mentally ill chemical abuser than pure addict. I’ve done a lot of work with adolescents and adults struggling with addiction and this really doesn’t have that feel.
Having said all this it really isn’t so important. What’s most important is that he looks to have serious mental health impairment of some kind and everyone saw it for a good amount of time but the system couldn’t/didn’t kick in in any meaningful way. It’s an issue it looks like with Arizona but really it’s an issue nation-wide. And he got a gun.
No, nothing like that happened at all- I know, because I happened to be reading wingnut sites when the story broke. And I can honestly say, not one person speculated that the shooter was Muslim.
Because, obviously, it was the work of a dirty messican drug lord. Any fool could see that.
wrt privacy issues:
first, there is no indication as yet that loughner was under mental health care of any kind. his college sent a letter to his parents saying he would need a psych eval to clear him for return after suspension.
second, since we don’t know if he did or not, no way to know if he sought that help himself.
third, not sure what motivates your third question, but it seems like you might be misinformed here. mental health records are never made public, not even in the cases where those records have to be admitted to court proceedings. such information making it out into the general public is just exceedingly rare, and most often when it does, it’s leaked illegally and unethically. the second part of that query, though,… most people who are suffering mental distress will most often seek help precisely because they know their privacy is protected. however, in cases of thought disorder and paranoia, all bets are off because trust and logic are out the window.
finally, it is NEVER the case that records are not kept for mental health admissions, whether or not these are voluntarily. think about it; whether for mental or physical incidents, your treating doctors need to have full access to your entire medical history. this is most crucial. so it will just never happen that if you check yourself in there will be no record of it. not sure where you might have run across such information, but it is simply not the case.
all that said, your points about gun control are key; AZ appears – like a lot of the NRA folks out there – determined to return to the wild west days when everything was settled by shootout. what a mess we’re in when the media is too spineless and greedy to call these maniacs to the carpet for their caveman behaviors.
hope this was helpful.
hugh, your comments were spot on, actually. i felt the need to prattle on partly because there were other comments that seemed misguided, some that were not quite capturing the picture, and some that were missing some important pieces. and of course, it’s my bailywick, so i can prattle like there’s no tomorrow.
your bottom line on this comment, tho, is exactly right; this represents yet again failure of our healthcare policy and failure of inadequate gun control laws. in addition of course to the inflammatory rhetoric. good grief, what a mess, eh?
glad you’re out there in the profession; keep it up.
@Mnemosyne: They tend to be withdrawn, especially after their initial break rubs in their faces that the conventional world really looks down on them, and thinks that what they imagine are their special insights, are just pathetic delusions.
The idea that CPS sufferers would naturally club together against the wider world, at least in the sense of sharing delusional content, is a misconception brought on by analogy to folks we are so much more used to dealing with, the True Believers of mass psychosis political movements. We understand these people very well from the recent efflorescence of the Right in this country, and we unfortunatley tend to project much better justified fears of them onto CPS sufferers.
Even with the more recent revelations of his confrontations with Pima CC, which admittedly make him seem to have something diagnosable, Loughner’s murder spree still fits better into that category, the True Believer, than into that of the very rare CPS sufferer who kills another person.
That said, CPS is not impossible here. Sometimes on the first break, the schizophrenic is more assertive, as Loughner seems to have been, persisting five times in causing disruptions at the CC. That agressiveness would be unusual the deeper one sinks into the disease.
That said, I still think there’s more of McVeigh than Hinckley in Loughner.
@lllphd: I think that it is quite clear that we simply cannot consider any political content whatosever towards determining the disordered thought criteria of CPS. Polls tell us that over 20% of the US electorate believes that Obama was not born in the US, and an even higher number think there is some doubt on that point. Birtherism is simply delusional, paranoid. And the idea that the elites are covering it up, which would have been necessary for Obama to have been allowed by the courts, state govts, and Congress, all of which are riddled with Republicans, to even be on the ballot, involves complete surrender to an impossible idea of influence. So, do we put anti-psychotics in the drinking water?
I don’t think anyone would say “Yes”, anyone thinks that these frequent eruptions of what is loosely and metaphorically called “mass psychosis” mean that the individuals who believe these absurdities (e.g., that there are witches, that the Jews control the world), and then, as Voltaire puts it, commit the atrocities that flow naturally from believing these absurdities (e.g., witch burnings, pogroms and the Holocaust), have CPS. I think we just have to accept as an empiricly undeniable fact, that ordinary people en masse are quite capable of the exact same distortions of thought that are diagnostic of CPS when they occur only in individuals who create their own merely private delusions, rather than participate in the common madness of society as a whole.
So, sure, the content of Loughner’s website it quite mad. But he never comes out with anything as flat out provably untrue, as delusional, as the Birtherism believed by millions. Sure, loosened associations abound. Ever listen to Glenn Beck? He gets decent market share for his logorrhea. Ideas of influence, check. But Loughner didn’t invent the Constitution in Exile theory, surely the ultimate idea of influence, that he follows to go from supposedly illegitimate, unconstitutional, derivation of our currency and the federal police power to his personal woes from these two institutions of our society. Who exactly is holding the Constitution in Exile is never explained by any of these people, of whom there are millions in this country. Sure his ideas on “currency” and the police power are nuts. So, he’s a Paulite and he subscribes to the Posse Comitatus line. Search the websites of these people who purvey this stuff, and you will perhaps find presentations more glib than Loughner’s, but none that make any sense, none that don’t meet all of the disordered thought criteria. And you will find far too many just as incoherently expressed, just as non-glib, as Loughner, for all of these people to have CPS.
As to his literary stylings, have you ever corrected freshman English essays? Sweet Jesus. I use that example of often hopelessly, globally disorganized written product emanating from people who are nevertheless quite sane, to make the point that I’m not sure you can read disorganization in written communication as indicative of anything except inexperience and lack of facility in written communication, not a problem with the underlying thought processes. Everybody has to learn to speak fluently, so problems with speaking coherently, inability to get a point across in conversation, can give useful information. But most of us, CPS or normal, never get beyond a fourth grade reading comprehension level, and as for writing… Like I said, still quaking with terror remembering my time tutoring remedial English at LSU — Sweet Jesus save us from the writing of normal people.
That said, I have absolutely no experience getting at CPS via the patient’s writing, I just talk to them. Perhaps they do have characteristic patterns of written expression that I have missed by just talking to them. But within that limitation, from just talking to them, I do not get a flavor of their thinking as being much like Loughner’s website.
Most fundamentally, I don’t see that they have much tendency to want to share their delusional content, so I have trouble envisioning someone with CPS even wanting to produce a website to display that content so as to, what, gain converts? The schizophrenics I have talked to tend strongly to a sense of their specialness, the special and personal nature of their particular insights, that would make the agreement of anyone else with their content almost de-validating rather than validating.
Again, maybe this is a limitation of never reading any CPS writings, but I also have not found that they favor the sort of syllogism that Loughner likes to use, or any worked out process of reasoning. Their special insights come to them as intuition or gestalt, something ineffable that they can’t really explain and give reasons for. Most of my experience with CPS patients was in Louisiana, so perhaps for that reason their delusional content was predominantly religious. Religious, but strikingly devoid of any theology.
I have to admit that your point about his history of disruptions at Pima CC does push me somewhat towards the dx. My experience has been mostly with patients some time after their psychotic break, when aggressive behavior would be most unusual except when “cornered”. Sure, it’s not that unusual at the break, when the patient still has the habits of a more “normal” outgoing, engaged, person, and hasn’t learned to avoid confrontation in particular and social situations in general.
But the disruptions are basicly all we have towards the dx. I would, of course, as I’m sure you would, want to know much more about them before deciding if they actually tend to support or refute the dx.
If I were making the dx, I would just throw out the political content from any consideration as proving disordered thought. I would want to see evidence that globally, not just politically, where even grossly paranoid and otherwise distorted thought is so common as to have no probative value, he displays disordered thought processes. Perhaps the material on his website would be of some use as I talked to him about “currency”, which he perhaps understands in a very global sense that reaches well beyond its politics.
Lastly, the fact of the murders, while not ruling out CPS, would definitely lower the pre-test probability of that dx in my mind. The murders are the only reason that most people think to label this person as crazy, specifically CPS crazy, yet they actually argue against the dx. I don’t find his political views the least bit unusual, sadly. And I think it much more characteristic of a True Believer, a McVeigh, to act on the basis of political paranoid ideas and assassinate a politician, than it is of a CPS patient.
I have never spoken with a CPS patient whose delusional content was political. Maybe I’m just behind the times, as most of my experience with the disease was decades ago, so my sense that a political orientation is fundamentally at odds with the turning inward that I associate with CPS sufferers may just be outdated.
glenn, first off, wrote this evidently while you were writing your response to mine to yours. ;-) please forgive any obvious ignorance of what you wrote; i’ll check it now.
ok. here’s what i wrote: agree that the notion of schizophrenics banding together in any way is not possible. far more laughable than herding cats. and though the rightwingnuts do exhibit some aspects of pathological behaviors – projection, narcissism, paranoia, loose associations, etc. – this is not to say that the individuals participating in these group thinks exhibit those same behaviors on a daily basis in their everyday lives. likely each one or two such behaviors to some degree, but not to a certifiable degree.
that said, i can’t agree on the likely diagnosis. loughner simply fits the pattern for first emerging symptoms; his actions likely constitute his first real psychotic break with reality. as i noted in an earlier comment, he fully fits the criteria. the chronic part of cps is not met because, by definition, this appears to be his first florid break.
in contrast, mcveigh’s conspiratorial ideas were out there, but his thought process hung together. that is simply not the case with loughner. mcveigh, as a ‘true believer’ as you call him, was extremely calculated, planning a huge action with others, setting out to make a well-defined political statement. loughner, on the other hand, had exhibited an obsession with a personal slight he felt from giffords, and his murder seems more calculated to settle that score than make any political statement. i think his somewhat political leanings provided context for ever having encountered her in the first place, but he hardly pulls off enough coherence to count as a true believer of anything. in fact, his political rantings could be understood best as a vehicle for his idea (albeit disjointed) that language could be a means for mind control. according to his best buddy, this seemed to be his core fascination. and, also according to his best buddy, this is the topic of the question he posed to giffords when he felt she slighted him (see the mother jones interview with tierney).
and then of course, there was his obsession with lucid dreams, which evolved into grandiose delusions of the power he achieved through them. the evidence is just abundant that he suffered a psychotic break and will be diagnosed with schizophrenia. it’s possible he might be bipolar, manic with psychotic episode, but his thought disorder seems too far gone for that.
not sure if the differences in our opinions stem from having read different descriptions of his behaviors, but to read his website rantings and find them comparable to mcveigh mystifies me, professionally. again, as i noted in my previous comment, though there are overlaps in the content items, it’s the thought process that is clearly pathological. as indicative of thought disorder as i have ever seen. and i’ve seen a good many.
the key is to compare loughner to patients you might have seen prior to their ever being medicated. remember, the medication is designed to keep these patients extremely dampened and deadened, which is the way you’re describing cps, and the medication is wicked powerful. wicked powerful. it’s true of the chronic cases, especially those who’ve been medicated so long they show signs of tardive dyskinesia, they are so sluggish they can hardly move, and often don’t, appearing fully catatonic. those antipsychotics really mess with the pyramidal functions. but if they’re off their meds for any length of time, they often have episodes of serious agitation and combativeness, which is why the meds are so important.
finally, take a look at that mug shot. by comparison, mcveigh is deadpan, serious, there. loughner truly looks crazed, disjointed, completely out of touch with the gravity of what he’s done.
i recognize that diagnosing an individual without actually having any face time with them is not entirely ethical, though i have been called upon to make expert legal opinions of other professionals’ assessments. i am not issuing here a professional diagnosis, but i am contributing my professional opinion of the evidence before us, replete with reasoning. i think it’s important for the public to know more about what occurs with these illnesses and what to look for so that they will not be as mysterious and frightening, and so we each can begin to recognize these behaviors and alert caregivers to intervene whenever possible. had more folks been pro-active here (and facilities been more available) and in other similar tragedies in recent years, some of the senseless harm might have been averted. let’s hope we all learn many things from this so the odds it happens again are diminished.
glenn, hope we’re not talking past each other. but just a few quick comments.
first, loughner’s writing shows distinct evidence of thought disorder that i don’t even see in beck. whereas beck and his ilk can make leaps of logic and will be consequently full of holes, loughner engages in purely magical thinking, giving those numbers magical powers, the grandiosity of the mind control and lucid dreaming. the differences are quite clear.
and yes, i have had to suffer the disturbing task of grading freshman english papers, and yes it is maddening, but those are not mad. though they lack proper grammatical skills and could not pull a logical argument together if their lives depended on it, you can still sort of make out what they’re trying to get at. kinda. without even judging loughner’s similarly poor grammar, he in contrast exhibits in ideas of reference, incoherence, paranoia, all those things i listed in the last comment. i never saw those things in those dreadful essays i graded; i just had to make them shove the ideas around to fit a structure that conveyed what they were trying to say. loughner shows pretty clearly he would not be able to give you a coherent structure; it is not there.
your reference to cps patients suggests to me – forgive me if i’m assuming too much – that your exposure was mostly the standard crop of poor neglected and often homeless rejects who are indeed chronic. however, a 22 yr old can’t be chronic. moreover, that cps description is the largest portion of the population, but there are sadly highly educated kids who have breaks, as well. and the content of their word salads reflects their education. whereas the poor, homeless, neglected folks most often have only religion to try to frame their delusions, the educated will couch theirs on philosophical, mathematical, and/or theological content. think a beautiful mind.
aggression and even murders prior to the initial break are sadly not unheard of at all. think of all the young mothers (even the portuguese model who murdered his lover this week) who murder their children because they believe they are demons. schizophrenics are frighteningly capable of murder for any number of reasons, especially at the initial break. first of all, this is prior to the medication, and second of all, they are still fighting the disease, still trying to hold their worlds together. second, wrt loughlin, this was decidedly not a political assassination; it was a murder to settle the score on a personal slight.
my sense is that your exposure may have been more of the standard cps patients, but that is not the extent of how schizophrenia can present. first of all, chronic means they’ve been diagnosed for a while, and therefore likely heavily medicated, not to mention rejected and homeless and nonproductive and nonsocial, etc. second, witnessing pre-medicated schizophrenia is quite the eye-opener; they’re young, still fairly well put together, often articulate and personable, and you only realize they’re off after a good bit of in depth conversation, as in a clinical interview where the questions you ask are part of the package and not intrusive. then give them a rorschach, and they simply cannot manage all that ambiguous stimuli, their thinking just falls apart. and they don’t even see it, that’s the sad part.
this is why i feel there is something to the push to start educating the professions on the prodromal symptoms, so we can possible arrest and perhaps avert full breaks.
anyway, that’s my sense of this, from a professional standpoint, with what i’ve read about loughner and his history and the website. fwiw. fascinating exchange; thx.
Herbal Infusion Bagger
“i agree; in fact, lots of folks who’ve had head injuries, sports concussions, etc., don’t realize that they should NEVER drink again, much less do any drugs.”
I didn’t realise that. I have [controlled] epilepsy, and suffered head trauma (caused by the epilepsy). I’ve stayed away from drink and drugs because of seeing relatives wrecked by substance abuse, and also ‘cos of the epilepsy and not wanting to fuck around with my brain chemistry. But I never realized that there would be a particular susceptibility from the head trauma. Thanks for the heads (pardon the pun) up.
Enjoying the conversation between you and Glen- you sound like solid professionals.
Herbal Infusion Bagger
IIIphd, Glen –
The wife of a friend of mine recently had a psychotic break, and was diagnosed not with schizophrenia, but with having a fixed (paranoid) delusion, which I understand is less tractable to treatment than schizophrenia. I’ve had relatives with schizophrenia, so my friend is coming to me for advice, but I don’t want to mislead him given the different nature of her disease. Are there resources/books on fixed delusions and how they differ from more well-known types of psychosis?
@Herbal Infusion Bagger:
HIB, you’re kind; i always feel weird when i carry on about these things in such an odd setting. so nice to know someone found it readable.
sorry to hear about your friend’s wife. this will be a very rough row for him to hoe; the medications that work so well for schizophrenia act more on the agitation and intrusive thoughts, hallucinations, etc.. but delusional disorders just involve the delusion. it’s a bit like an obsession, but one that cannot be verified, and is in fact contra-verified; all the evidence points against it. the patient does not fully trust her mind to believe the evidence, just as the obsessive patient does not fully trust her hand washing truly cleans or her light checking truly means they’re off. also similar to the superstitions of some ocd rituals, like knocking three times before unlocking the door to make sure there are no burglars. freud felt these obsessive behaviors were precursors to schizophrenia, and tho it doesn’t fully capture it, i think they are related in important ways.
there are no meds that really get at this mechanism, sadly. but your friend might find a book by al munro (i think it’s titled just ‘delusional disorders’) helpful. more for the lay person is marty kantor’s ‘understanding paranoia.’
fwiw, he might try to engage his wife in some activity that frees her obsessive mind, anything artful like painting or dance or swimming or such as that. sublimation is a good thing. transferring her obsessive energies to something outside her delusion can only be good. if her delusion involves her husband, they might try one of these activities together.
i wish them luck. and i like your name; what a great thing, bagging herbal infusions!
You’re very generous. You too.
If there’s anybody still reading this thread here’s an interesting interview I heard this morning on NYC’s public radio station:
Dr. Stone has some interesting things to say about drug use. Unfortunately the interview is too brief.
The block quote is a link though it doesn’t look like it.
Herbal Infusion Bagger
“fwiw, he might try to engage his wife in some activity that frees her obsessive mind, anything artful like painting or dance or swimming or such as that.”
That’s good advice, and thanks for the book recommendations. She has shown the OCD-type ritualized behavior you describe. I’m dismayed that the problem isn’t as amenable to pharmaceutical treatment as some schizophrenias.
My friend’s retiring early to look after her. His devotion is, well, inspiring.