Jared Lee Loughner, who murdered six people and wounded 19 more over the weekend in his attempt to murder Rep. Gabrielle Giffords this weekend, was, I think, very, very crazy.
That’s not a technical term, obviously, and I’m not qualified to diagnose anything, but a lot of people have been using the term “schizophrenic” to describe Loughner’s writing and his series of bizarre, incoherent and ranting videos.
BoingBoing has done an excellent job rounding up the primary sources about Loughner. Here is information about his social media activities. Here are his YouTube videos, along with complete transcripts. (These are what said “schizophrenic” to me, by the way.) Here’s a summary of the beliefs of one of the groups that Loughner may have been influenced by.
The New York Times cautiously left just “hints of alienation” in its headline, but its summary of Loughner’s beliefs is disturbing and as far as I can tell, accurate. The Atlantic’s James Fallows had an interesting piece about “the cloudy logic of ‘political’ shootings.”
There’s plenty of talk about how the toxic political atmosphere may have led to the shooting, but I’m not so sure. There were a lot of violent and scary threats when Bush was president as well; I am surprised so many people seem to have forgotten about that already, given how short a period of time it’s been since then.
I tend to be cautious about drawing those sorts of conclusions. One thing I’ve noticed while studying history is that everyone thinks the times they’re living in are especially violent, that the children of their era are especially disrespectful, that their lives are faster-paced — than ever. Everyone in every era believes this.
I don’t know. What do you think?