January 10, 2011

"What is government if words have no meaning?" — the question Jared Loughner asked Gabrielle Giffords at a "Congress in Your Corner" event in 2007.

Mother Jones reports what he said to his friend Bryce Tierney: "Can you believe it, they wouldn't answer my question." Tierney says, "Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her." (By the way, 2007 is a year before Sarah Palin emerged on the national scene.)
Loughner would occasionally mention Giffords, according to Tierney: "It wasn't a day-in, day-out thing, but maybe once in a while, if Giffords did something that was ridiculous or passed some stupid law or did something stupid, he related that to people. But the thing I remember most is just that question. I don't remember him stalking her or anything." Tierney notes that Loughner did not display any specific political or ideological bent: "It wasn't like he was in a certain party or went to rallies... It's not like he'd go on political rants." But Loughner did, according to Tierney, believe that government is "fucking us over." He never heard Loughner vent about about the perils of "currency," as Loughner did on one YouTube video he created....
As Loughner and Tierney grew closer, Tierney got used to spending the first ten minutes or so of every day together arguing with Loughner's "nihilist" view of the world. "By the time he was 19 or 20, he was really fascinated with semantics and how the world is really nothing—illusion," Tierney says. Once, Tierney recalls, Loughner told him, "I'm pretty sure I've come to the conclusion that words mean nothing."...

Tierney believes that Loughner was very interested in pushing people's buttons—and that may have been why he listed Hitler's Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books on his YouTube page. (Loughner's mom is Jewish, according to Tierney.)...

Loughner believed that dreams could be a sort of alternative, Matrix-style reality, and "that when you realize you're dreaming, you can do anything, you can create anything," Tierney says....
There's a dream journal, which I'm sure we'll get to read.
... 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.....

Since hearing of the rampage, Tierney has been trying to figure out why Loughner did what he allegedly did. "More chaos, maybe," he says. "I think the reason he did it was mainly to just promote chaos. He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what's happening. He wants all of that." Tierney thinks that Loughner's mindset was like the Joker in the most recent Batman movie: "He fucks things up to fuck shit up, there's no rhyme or reason, he wants to watch the world burn. He probably wanted to take everyone out of their monotonous lives: 'Another Saturday, going to go get groceries'—to take people out of these norms that he thought society had trapped us in."
It sounds as though the movies were more a source of inspiration for his craziness than politics.

155 comments:

jr565 said...

The world is nothing and meaningless. That's nihilism and deconstructionism. Foucalt and Kafka are responsible for this heinous shooting.

peter hoh said...

I realize this is semantics, but his mental illness wasn't inspired by anything.

The expression of that mental illness may have been inspired by movies, conspiracy theories, pop culture, etc.

Leo Ladenson said...

Yeah, it's the Wachowski brothers' fault!

t-man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peter hoh said...

Or rather, the way he manifested his mental illness, channeled it, and developed it can be attributed to things outside himself.

Nothing I've read points to Tea Party stuff. Shame on those who jumped to that conclusion.

t-man said...

I blame:

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

wv: selsen - another word for blue

Gabriel Hanna said...

Count Korzybski lived in vain--you guys think this started with Foucault? Or the Matrix?

Loghner is talking about General Semantics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_semantics

Woo that won't die. We even had a General Semanticist Senator, S. I. Hayakawa.

I'm sure Sapir and Whorf share some of the blame.

edutcher said...

Sounds like Giffords wasn't so much an obsession, but a reference point of sorts.

In one way, this guy fits another sort of profile you don't hear of much anymore - the guy who would just "snap" one day and shoot up his housing development, except that, in those cases, there was no warning. - the shooter was the one who took it without an outward sign.

As I said, the more we get to know him, the more it's plain he inhabited his own special world.

carlbridges said...

"Words mean nothing." There's the self-contradiction of the nihilist shining like a lighthouse: If words mean nothing, do the words "words mean nothing" mean anything?

This discussion reminds me of my old philosophy professor. When someone told him there was no absolute truth, he would answer, "Is that absolutely true?"

Gabriel Hanna said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapir_Whorf_Hypothesis

Anyone who's been to college has run into this idea, though they might never have heard of Sapir or Whorf. It's the basis for criticisms of "sexist language", for example using "he" as the impersonal pronoun. The idea is, in a nutshell, that language constrains the way you think. I'm sure this is what Loughner got into. If it hadn't been that, it would've been something else.

edutcher said...

PS Given all the anti-Semitic rhetoric coming out of the Left the few decades, do they take the rap for Loughner's anti-Semitism?

Gabriel Hanna said...

For those who won't visit the link:

General semantics is an educational discipline created by Alfred Korzybski. Its basic assumption is that “language ‘enslaves’ us by conditioning our brains to perceive a false reality”.

I first encountered it through reading Robert Heinlein.

Henry said...

Urban legend has it that Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, replied: "Because that's where the money is."

Closer to the point is the Richard Pryor joke about the murderer doing triple life.

Richard Pryor: "Why did you kill all those people in the house?"
J-Bone: "They was all home."

Loughner appears to have targeted his congresswoman because that's where he lived.

DADvocate said...

Sounds a little like Charles Manson trying to get Helter Skelter started by having the Manson gang kill people.

Charlie Martin said...

As someone or other said today, what is the world coming to when Mother Jones is doing the moderate sensible reporting?

LarsPorsena said...

"The world is nothing and meaningless. That's nihilism and deconstructionism. Foucalt and Kafka are responsible for this heinous shooting."

I blame the MLA.

The Crack Emcee said...

"By the time he was 19 or 20, he was really fascinated with semantics and how the world is really nothing—illusion."

Now where'd he get that idea from? Maybe from The Beatles:

"We were talking about the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth, then it's far too late, when they pass away"


And where'd they get that idea from?

Go ahead and guess,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Just to be clear:

I'm not arguing with the General semantics theory, I'm just saying this guy, in this culture, had a LOT of help.

Revenant said...

Do we need to search for an inspiration? Can't people just be crazy anymore?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Crack Emcee:

Had you read up on General Semantics before this? As woo goes, it's probably the least harmful, but it shouldn't have been used to treat mentally ill people.

peter hoh said...

I know a guy with schizophrenia who is obsessed with mathematics. You're not going to be able to pin that obsession on anyone or anybody. It just is.

Trying to find deeper meanings in Loughner's obsession with grammar is about as fruitful as looking for meaning in his bag of potting soil.

KLDAVIS said...

"It sounds as though the movies were more a source of inspiration for his craziness than politics."

I wouldn't jump to that conclusion. The two movie references sound like the low-brow friend's attempt to fit the guys screeds into an intelligible framework

AlphaLiberal said...

Incendiary statements made from Republican leaders and pundits and not disavowed or condemned by Republicans, but embraced:

“I hope we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies.” - Sharron Angle

"Gather your armies."
- Rick Barber, a Republican Congressional candidate in Alabama

Dick Morris, Fox News guy: "Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over' -- well, they're beginning to have a case."

"At what point do the people ... march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp?" Erick Erickson, March 31, 2009.

Glenn Beck Beck portrays Obama and Democrats as vampires "going after the blood of our businesses." then he suggests "driving a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers"

Glenn Beck on his TV show jokes about putting poison into Nancy Pelosi's wine.

Glenn Beck: "To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter."

Beck pours gasoline on "average American," asks, "President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire?"

Michelle Bcahmann: "I Want People…Armed And Dangerous On This Issue’ Of Cap And Trade"

These are no obscure protestors, commentors or bloggers. There are many more.

A reasonable person would look at these and say "they are wrong." We do not hear any such reasonableness from the right. Instead, they defend it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Revenant:

Can't people just be crazy anymore?

Yeah, of course they can, but it's the form their craziness takes. Mind control is a common one, right? Mind control by aliens, by HAARP, the government, or in this case, through grammar.

I'm not blaming General Semantics, I just that that's where the kid got the government mind control through grammar. It's one of those ideas that's "out there" even though few people have heard of it since it's heyday in the 1940s.

Dudley Do-right said...

Nuts or not, he had a few things right. He may not have said it well, but someone has been playing with the language. Word meanings now depend on who is using the word.

When the nation's courts can interpret the Constitution to mean the exact opposite of what a casual reading would support, you begin to wonder if he didn't have a point. What we assume to be basic rights and freedoms are now found to have their foundation in little more than wordplay whose meaning can be cynically altered to suit whoever's in power.

If Babel was the original confusion of tongues, we may have arrived at Babel II.

Gabriel Hanna said...

Great, Alpha Liberal is crapping all over this thread now. Can we please just ignore him? Maybe he'll think he's a ghost, ala Eric Cartman.

AllenS said...

"Words mean nothing." Then there's this: "depends on the definition of 'is'". You know, Loughner might have a point.

Goju said...

Loughner also displayed some anti-semitism even though his mother is supposedly Jewish. Dude had a lot of issues znd I'm guessing it didn't start in 2007.

AllenS said...

Damnit! t-man beat me to it.

Comrade X said...

Is it possible Sheriff Dupnik is trying to dupe everyone to hide his own incompetence and cronyism? Was Loughner making terroristic threats and reported but wasn't arrested because his mom worked for the county?

Coketown said...

I think you'll find Carroll answered the lunatic's question long before Foucault or Korzybski in the chapter "Who stole the tarts?"

ricpic said...

So the patently obvious fact that the government is fucking us over will now be hate speech?

Henry said...

Something about Alpha Liberal reminds me of "Todd" in this clip (start at 7:51):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZmlBTgaLEI

"Friends and esteemed adversaries..."

"Time's up!"

"Friends and incompetents!"

...

"That's quite an aggressive boy you have there, Alex."

Henry said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZmlBTgaLEI

garage mahal said...

The real tragedy in all this is pointing out Sarah Palin put Giffords in rifle sights. Er, I mean surveyors symbols.

holdfast said...

No hat tip perfesser?

I am wounded.

Ann Althouse said...

@Alpha How come all the examples on your list are from conservatives?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

The real tragedy in all this is pointing out Sarah Palin put Giffords in rifle sights. Er, I mean surveyors symbols.

Right, Democrats have never published maps showing Republicans with bullseyes or crosshairs.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/01/028104.php

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee never did this, right?

Your selective and partisan outrage is disgusting, and you are an asshole.

Quayle said...

Remember what the left keeps telling us: fathers are optional, a stable marriage is immaterial to societies well being, marriage is a social construction that can be altered and revised at will.

Yet who would have been the most effective and efficient monitor and check on Jard Loughner's instability and its bitter fruit?

The President of the United States
The entire administration?
DHS?
The Governor of the State of Arizona?
The county sheriff's office?
His teachers, schoolmates, and friends?
His mother and father and siblings?

But remember, according to the left we don't really need to worry about marriages and families. We're so damn rich that we can utilize the less effective, more expensive methods to keep things under control.

Rather than "mothers and fathers, take care of and watch over your kids" we'll get H.R. 2332 or something, mandating a whole new list of government programs and administrators and money spent to make sure a Loughner-like rampage never happens again.

As I said, we're so rich we can afford to chop at the branches forever.

Ann Althouse said...

Loughner may have been all about meaninglessness, which would mean that the very idea of the political spectrum is irrelevant to him. I think he would think that the 2 sides trying to assign him to the other side are all stupid. About that, he would be right!

traditionalguy said...

The more that we read of Loughner's ideas, the more we see a full fledged disciple of Ludwig Wittgenstein. The genius of Wittgentein was a commitment to believing that Grammar limited the mind's use of words, but that our dreams that could not be put into the words used in languages were the more real. Wittgenstein also doubted mathematics because of its limitation under logic, or as he called it language structure. Both Wittgenstein and Freud were Austrian Jews who sought real answers about life in studying dreams. That lead them to a rejection of shared social conventions/life which to them seemed to be only a vast stupidity. That philosophy also expresses itself in Laughner's writings by circular reasoning that challenges meaning within linear reasoning expressed in logic. To sum up, to Wittgenstein our dreams are real events, but words cannot keep up with them because words are captive to rules of grammar, and our consciousness itself is a dream.

peter hoh said...

Holdfast, you'll never get a hat tip by asking for it.

And tags? Man, ain't nobody gettin' tags these days.

Triangle Man said...

So, he wasn't aligned with any political party, but believed that the "government is fucking us over".

deborah said...

lol Henry. That's a very young James Woods.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:

There's a lot more to Wittgenstein than that, and the idea you attribute to him is one that was developed and shared by many in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Jennifer said...

His friend sounds quite intelligent and I find myself surprised.

bgates said...

What is government if words have no meaning?

What is government if government can set and reset all words' meanings?

What is government if words become legally binding without anyone reading them to determine their meaning?

traditionalguy said...

The Professor's comment at 1:14, simutaneous with mine, describes what Loughner and Wittgestein tried to say, but in a more succinct way. That's why she is the professor. She can say things with such clarity that life becomes worth living again.

peter hoh said...

Quayle, I support marriage and fatherhood, but having a father in the home isn't the cure you make it out to be.

The Columbine shooters had married parents, didn't they? Same for the Virginia Tech shooter.

SPImmortal said...

"@Alpha How come all the examples on your list are from conservatives?"

Cause Alinsky told him too.

"An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth -- truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing.... To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations...."

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and 'frozen.'...

The left has been steeped in this sort of stuff for decades.

Comrade X said...

So, he wasn't aligned with any political party, but believed that the "government is fucking us over".

yep. in 2007. what did you think of the Bush admin in 2007?

Gabriel Hanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bgates said...

What is government if words have no meaning
-clearly the ravings of a diseased mind.

Government is whatever those in power want it to be, because the supposed alternative is to base it on words that are over 100 years old and can therefore no longer have meaning

-respected national columnist and graduate of one of the nation's top universities.

Revenant said...

Compare and contrast folks like AlphaLiberal and Garage Mahal with John Green, the father of Loughner's nine year old murder victim Christina Green:

"This shouldn't happen in this country, or anywhere else, but in a free society, we're going to be subject to people like this. I prefer this to the alternative."

I am proud to have a countryman such as that.

DADvocate said...

Alpha - you just dont' stop with the bullshit, do you?

Review this list. It's rather long.

You still get my vote for being a paranoid personalility type and most likely of any commenter here to go batshit crazy and start shooting up people.

SPImmortal said...

"yep. in 2007. what did you think of the Bush admin in 2007?"

He thought everything was fine and dandy and he never said things like "not MY president", "Take the country back!" and "Bush is a war criminal."

That would have been hate speech.

bgates said...

In case anybody gets the wrong idea about the meaning of my words, yes of course Jared Loughner was nuts, but not because of those eight words from 2007.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Still waiting for your denunciation of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who published this map showing Republicans with targets on them:

That denunciation, I already know, will never come. Your outrage was always fake and partisan.

Triangle Man said...

yep. in 2007. what did you think of the Bush admin in 2007?

On what topic? Economic policy, GWOT, pardoning turkeys on Thanksgiving?

The 2007 refers only to his meeting with Giffords.

garage mahal said...

Your selective and partisan outrage is disgusting, and you are an asshole.

Me outraged? What the fuck are you talking about?

traditionalguy said...

Gabriel...Thanks for pointing out that Wittgenstein's ideas are deeper than a comment here can capture. But how the heck did this young man get that Philosophy into his soul? My opinion is that Wittgenstein was only a bully who enjoyed the power to sabotage other's faiths, much like the God Is Dead philosophers such as Tom Altizer.

EDH said...

"Can you believe it, they wouldn't answer my question." Tierney says, "Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her."

I blame Dale Bozzio.

Words

Do you hear me?
Do you care?

My lips are moving and the sound's coming out
The words are audible but I have my doubts
That you realize what has been said
You look at me as if you're in a daze
It's like the feeling at the end of the page
when you realize you don't know what you just read

What are words for when no one listens anymore
What are words for when no one listens
What are words for when no one listens it's no use talkin at all

I might as well go up and talk to a wall
'cause all the words are having no effect at all
It's a funny thing am I all alone

Something has to happen to change the direction
What little filters through is giving you the wrong impression
It's a sorry state I say to myself

Let me get by
Over your dead body
Hope to see you soon
When will I know
Doors three feet wide with no locks open
Walking always backwards in the faces of strangers
Time could be my friend
But it's less than nowhere now
less than nowhere now
less than nowhere now
now
ow ow ow

Pursue it further and another thing you'll find
Not only are they deaf and dumb they could be going blind and no one notices
I think I'll dye my hair blue

Media overload bombarding you with action
It's getting near impossible to cause distraction
Someone answer me before I pull out the plug

Gabriel Hanna said...

@garage mahal:

Me outraged? What the fuck are you talking about?

I see you don't deny being partisan, or an asshole.

You came only to drop a turd on the thread and be a troll.

There isn't anyone here who thought "the real tragedy" is the attack on Sarah Palin or other conservatives, and you damn well know it. You're juts being a troll, and a partisan one.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:

I think your are making way too much stew out of a couple of oysters. If Loughner even knew the name "Wittgenstein" I'd be very surprised. I doubt he had any kind of coherent philosophy at all, just the usual semester-at-college smorgasbord of "deep thoughts."

As for Wittgenstein being a bully who hated God and people who believed in him, I don't know where you get stuff like that.

Coketown said...

Has anyone used Loughner's disjointed rants and incomprehensible syllogisms to fill out the Internet Politics Quiz?! Then we'll now without controversy where he stood not only on the left-right spectrum but also on the authoritarian-anarchist spectrum!!! OMG!!!!!!

I'm sure World Net Daily and the Daily Kos have already done this, but they didn't like the results so didn't post it. That's because batshit crazy has no ideological affiliation.

DADvocate said...

Crazy doesn't have an inspiration any more than normal does. Normal people are inspired to action by speechs, books, movies, incidents they witness, etc. Crazy people are inspired to action much the same way.

Since they are crazy, there is little rationality in their inspirations. Things that wouldn't inspire normal people inspire them. They are inspired to do things normal people don't and wouldn't do, sometimes with really bad consequences.

BTW - sometimes words have no meaning, especially when they're uttered or written by Alpha.

Rialby said...

Giffords is Jewish as well.

Goju said...

Insty has two links up. One is a DHS report that says there is no connection to any right wing groups. The second is a link to a report that the Pima Cty sheriff and his department haveknown about Loughner for several years and just swept it under the blanket because Loughner's mom also worked for Pima Cty.

Not that the truth will have any effect on AL.

AJ Lynch said...

Ricpic said:
"So the patently obvious fact that the government is fucking us over will now be hate speech?"

That is the crux Ricpic. Longtime pols of both parties have screwed the pooch for 20-30 years, bankrupted cities, states and the fed treasure so we are now broke yet these same pols are upset that the people realize what they have done and that the people are upset and vocal about it. So their response is to clamp down on free speech.

On Wall Street and in a business and even in a non-profit, longtime leaders who bankrupted & ruined an organization would be kicked out by now. Fortunately, their time will come sooner rather than later [can I still say stuff like that?]

Thoai Tran said...

Its his fault. Not the movies, not anything else. His fault

ricpic said...

Raising "the children" is far too vital to be left to parents!

--Michelle Obama


Okay, I'm paraphrasing but that's close to what she said re: the feeding of children.

Sigivald said...

The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar

Maybe he just read too much Burroughs?

"We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems"

dbp said...

"After Loughner apparently gave up drugs and booze, "his theories got worse," Tierney says."

AllenS said...

You know, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, unless it's used as a dildo.

djf said...

Unfortunately, it seems possible to me that this SOB will beat the death penalty, that he so richly deserves. Arizona has the death penalty and there is a death row in one of Arizona’s maximum security penitentiary. Arizona gives the condemned the option of choosing either lethal injection or poison gas. I wish we could go back to the days of the good old fashioned hangman’s noose. This jerk is obviously going to try and plead that he is not “mentally competent” to stand trial. Most likely, he will stand trial, be found guilty, and spend the next 10 years on death row exhausting his appeals, and then he will be wheeled into a room, a line placed into his vein, and a lethal does of Sodium Pentothal will enter his bloodstream. He will lose consciousness and then his heart will stop. He will feel no pain, other than whatever mental stress occurs in his thoughts during the months as the execution date comes closer. Again, this is totally insufficient. He should get the death penalty, and he should be hung by the neck until dead, preferably in public.

jr565 said...

So Alpha Liberal, and Garage. We now have the assassination map from 2004 (prior to Palin ever using crosshairs to target her opponents for asssassination) that I posted on a separate thread and which Gabriel just posed here.

Any comments? Were the libs and dems engaged in violent rhetoric that targeted the death of the opponents, or are your attacks simply parisan and hypocritical smears of Palin for political purposes.
Care to comment?

Freeman Hunt said...

Unfortunately, it seems possible to me that this SOB will beat the death penalty, that he so richly deserves.

You think he deserves that even if they find that he's schizophrenic?

HT said...

Yes, I think so. He deserves to be treated like anyone else. We are all accountable for our actions.

Freeman Hunt said...

You make no allowances for people who have no control over their minds? We make allowances for children and people with dementia. Why not the deranged?

djf said...

He may be schizophrenic, but he clearly knew the difference between right and wrong, and that what he was doing was wrong. He asked for a lawyer and his Miranda rights right after the shootings. He clearly meets the legal definition of sanity.

Pogo said...

I am aware of the adage that hard cases make bad law.

Is their some legal maxim by which some number of hard cases, very similar in kind, can make a good or even halfway decent law?

Or do they all suck?

We could call it the Reagan-Lennon Act to Improve the Case Management of the Insane.

HT said...

That's a big topic, mental illness and personal responsibility! I do not necessarily believe that his mental illness caused him to open fire and murder. I think that this might very well just be a violent person. Period.

Did he know right from wrong? I am betting yes, he did.

And also, there's just so much we do not know.

Pogo said...

"He clearly meets the legal definition of sanity."

Unless he thinks it's all not real, even the following of some rules.

Being organized and nuts is still nuts.

HT said...

Distressed or not, he is a part of our world. He must understand, as everyone who comes after him, that the rules apply to him. There is no special category.

And, he can understand these things, as can people who come after him.

Freeman Hunt said...

He must understand, as everyone who comes after him, that the rules apply to him. There is no special category.

I don't agree with you. I already named two special categories we recognize in our societal dealings.

Alex said...

Homework assignment for the left:

* define what is a right-wing group
* connect the dots from Sarah Palin to Loughner, every single step of the way.

MadisonMan said...

I am proud to have a countryman such as that.

Same.

traditionalguy said...

Gabriel...I did not make up these oysters. My point is that doctrines such as Wittgenstein's can just pop up into peoples minds without human teachers. How do you think Wittgenstein got them? In that sense Loughner is channeling a carefully created thought system. Who was he worshiping in his back-yard Tabernacle anyway?

The Crack Emcee said...

Garage,

Me outraged? What the fuck are you talking about?

Nice diversion - answer the question about the map.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Pogo:

Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

If we have to give up a free society because otherwise nuts can kill eleven-year-old girls, then yes, dead little girls is the price we pay. Freedom isn't free.

You phrased that to be as emotional as possible, so I'm going to call you on it. Yes, dead little girls are one of the prices we pay to live in a free society. Another commenter noted that dead little girls are the price we pay for letting everyone drive cars. And you made the jump those who trivilaize 9/11, for the same reason: to inovke emotion rather than reason.

I'm not going to jump on you about that. Dead little girls are a strong argument. But there are hundreds of decisions that we make daily, individually and collectively, that pay off in dead little girls. If you want to play that card you're just going to get it played on everything.

You're worried about a tiny fraction of crazy people, and ever few years one of them manages to kill some people in a spectacular way. One of these guys killed some people a few miles from me just two years ago--barricaded himself and shot his wife, some cops and others. You probably didn't hear about it because his victims weren't Congressmen.

Moscow shooter killed wife before rampage

Think of all the things that the government would've have needed to do to stop that guy. His own wife didn't figure what was wrong until it was too late.

There's just no way to do it and still have free people. There's always someone who's going to slip out of the net, and then there will be calls to make the net bigger with finer holes.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@tradguy:

Could it be... SATAN????!!??!??!?

Look, if we're going to get theological about this, then Satan has got to be dragged into every evil thing anyone does and we'll never get anywhere. Satan, of course, cannot act without God's permission...

Come on, he was a crazy kid. I didn't know Satan was traditionally associated with dried oranges, or that Satan passed notes from Wittgenstein to crazy people.

AJ Lynch said...

Yeah I doubt, if I were John Green, that I would be so reasoned at this point in the grieving cycle. It would be expected if he lashed out at something or someone. He's a better man than me.

Jay said...

Ann Althouse said...
@Alpha How come all the examples on your list are from conservatives?


Also note some of they aren't really "exmaples" of anything.

Pogo said...

"There's just no way to do it and still have free people. There's always someone who's going to slip out of the net, and..."

I have my doubts that stepping up mental health outreach so that people on the downward spiral are followed up more aggressively will reduce freedom.

Moreover, it makes me and my family and other citizens less free when I have to tolerate the insane going on a killing rampage.

Jay said...

I love this.

Note how this:
Michelle Bcahmann: "I Want People…Armed And Dangerous On This Issue’ Of Cap And Trade"


Is supposed to be somehow alarming, or a call to violence or something. But this,

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl.

Ignored completely.

Pogo said...

I also don't see how allowing the homeless insane to crap in parks and be beaten and raped makes us more free.

I heartily disagree; random mass murders by the violent insane are not the price we pay to live free.

I do not believe I have ever come across such a definition.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Pogo:

I have my doubts that stepping up mental health outreach so that people on the downward spiral are followed up more aggressively will reduce freedom.


Well, it will definitely raise your taxes. Armies of social workers with expanded powers. The number of violent crazy people is very small, but we have to watch ALL the crazy people in case one of them turns out to be one.

I know, I know, who cares how taxes are we've GOT to think of the children.

Moreover, it makes me and my family and other citizens less free when I have to tolerate the insane going on a killing rampage.

You're also less free when you're hit by a car driven by a stupid person. Thousands and thousands of times less free, because stupid people killing with their cars happens thousands and thousands of times more often--33,000 people in 2009.

Jay said...

The Sheriff in question is a Democrat and trying to shift blame.

why?

Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County...
Every victim of his threats previously must also be wondering if this tragedy could have been prevented if they had been more aggressive in pursuing charges against Mr. Loughner. Perhaps with a felony conviction he would never have been able to lawfully by the Glock 9mm Model 19 that he used to strike down the lives of six people and decimate 14 more..,,

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department was aware of his violent nature and they failed to act appropriately. This tragedy leads right back to Sherriff Dupnik and all the spin in the world is not going to change that fact.


It looks like we can see why this dipstick Sheriff is trying to blame Palin...

Calypso Facto said...

Pogo said: I also don't see how allowing the homeless insane to crap in parks and be beaten and raped makes us more free.

And in previous thread: Any other straw men you care to use?

Right back atcha. Jared wasn't homeless, or crapping in parks, or beaten, or raped that we know of. Maybe more can be done to assist the people you're talking about, but it wouldn't have stopped Loughner. If the reports about the Sheriff are true, following the procedures and laws already in place would have, though.

Pogo said...

"Maybe more can be done to assist the people you're talking about, but it wouldn't have stopped Loughner."
A psychiatric evaluation and then mandatory follow-up review might have allowed a timely hospitalization.

"Jared wasn't homeless, or crapping in parks, or beaten, or raped "
Didn't say he was, only mentioning that among the homeless, insanity is rampant. And I don't see how our freedom is guaranteed only by keeping them that way.

TWM said...

Alpha and the other leftists are not going to stop as long as their is one iota of a chance they can somehow hurt Palin, the Tea Partiers, and Republicans by saying it's all their fault this nutcase did what he did. It's all they have left since the majority of Americans see through their bullshit now and are turning away from them.

The thing is they just cannot accept that by doing so they only turn more and more people off.

Let em whine, they can't win.

The Crack Emcee said...

@Pogo,

Don't make me go thread to thread with this:

Teaching critical thinking - nationally - would be a better solution.

I'd also step up mental healthcare, somewhat, as well.

Pogo said...

"Armies of social workers

Oh, bullshit.
Just re-task the army we have right now in public schools and "community health".

Pogo said...

"Teaching critical thinking - nationally - would be a better solution.
I'd also step up mental healthcare, somewhat, as well.
"

Good enough for me.

Revenant said...

You make no allowances for people who have no control over their minds?

You assume that schizophrenics have no control over their minds and non-schizophrenics do. That's not a scientifically supportable statement. In reality, nobody has complete control over their minds. Free will may well exist, but (a) it isn't absolute and (b) it isn't a given that schizophrenics lack it. We do not, for example, CHOOSE to feel rage and hatred. We just choose what to do about it.

Anita said...

Unfortunately, it seems possible to me that this SOB will beat the death penalty,

I don't know if he will beat it. He is currently useful to the left and even though he is pretty obviously, IMHO, schizophrenic, there will be little sympathy for him from anyone in the future.

Most of the activist death penalty types are lefties, and it's in their interest politically to see a "teabagger" (even a made up one who has no demonstrated linkage to the tea party) executed. It will serve as a very nice warning. And you never know what he's going to say if he's allowed to live and undergo treatment for his mental illness.

Seeing as he was described as a "left wing pothead" by HS friends before the schizophrenia completely robbed him of the capacity to articulate a coherent political ideology, the left isn't going to want him under treatment. They've gotten their political use out of him. Now it's time for him to "exit".

Don't expect any candlelight vigils by the professional left when it's this guy's turn to die.

Alex said...

Dems Pretty excited for Obama to have an Oklahoma City Moment

Leftists are disgusting, vile creatures.

Alex said...

Anita - I always knew that the left only support the death penalty when they could apply to to their enemies. The evidence abounds in North Korea, USSR, China, Venezuela, anywhere there has been a Commie dictator.

holdfast said...

So what about the parents? Yes, he was of legal majority, but he was clearly still living at home. Nobody has mentioned his job, so I am assuming he did not have one.

By the account of his high school classmates, he used to spend a good chunk of the school day either drunk or stoned, to the point of hospitalization in the middle of a school day. We understand that his mom worked for the county, so she was presumably a functional adult.

What about their responsibility for letting him fry his brain before graduation (if he did graduate), and live at home while stewing in his poisonous, psychotic conspiracy juices?

Anita said...

Loughner's behaviour was noted by one of his classmates at Pima CC in a series of emails. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2011/01/jared-loughners-behavior-recor.html .


Funny, she doesn't say anything about his politcs.

Obviously this woman sensed that he was dangerous. He was reported to college authorities and eventually barred from the classroom, but nothing more was done about him by law enforcement.

I'm thinking that the reports that he was reported to the authorites in the Pima County Sheriff's office after making threats to staff of Pima Community College amongst others and they assured those who reported him that he was being taken care of and there was nothing to worry about may have some merit. We'll see.

JAL said...

@ Jay and Althouse --

Did AL ever respond to the clearly martial and violent language of POTUS's guru Alinsky?

Maybe the DSM-V needs a category for metaphor deficiency. But it appears many on the Left also suffer from a variation of tunnel vision. Or something.

Cedarford said...

edutcher said...
PS Given all the anti-Semitic rhetoric coming out of the Left the few decades, do they take the rap for Loughner's anti-Semitism?

================
Loughner is an ethnic Jew. As was Columbine shooter Dylan Kleibold. Ironically, in that mix as a victim ..Gabriella Giffords comes from a wealthy Jewish family....

As for Edutchers confusions...saying the Bible is a favorite book doesn't make you saved, liking Harry Potter doesn't make you a dabbler like Christine O'Donnell, saying Mein Kampf was a powerful widely read book ( in it's day) doesn't make the reader a Nazi, nor does reading and having appreciation for Das Kapital make that person a communist.

HT said...

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't agree with you. I already named two special categories we recognize in our societal dealings.

____

I am not convinced that his mental state is the cause of these murders. He knew what he was doing. He had planned ahead. He knew right from wrong.

How is he different from Natalie Holloway's murderer, Joran van der Sloot?

If you want to argue that it's about what putting someone in mental distress to death does to US, fine. Say so.

I do not believe in the medical model of mental illness. Especially since recovery has shown to be quite possible.

Jay said...

@ Jay and Althouse --

Did AL ever respond to the clearly martial and violent language


Surely you jest...

Dudley Do-right said...

What to do with the insane? What did we used to do in the nasty old '50s? Didn't we lock them up in asylums for their own good and the good of society? What was wrong with that??

They had warm places to sleep, food to eat and clean clothes to wear. They didn't have to steal to stay alive. They weren't raping or abducting unsuspecting children. They also weren't buying guns or shooting people. That some asylums were poorly run wasn't cause to eliminate asylums altogether.

The policy of letting the insane run free in society, being subject only to 'monitoring', has failed both the insane and the sane. Isn't it time to admit this?

We're no longer rich enough to afford this type of nonsense.

Pogo said...

Exactly, Dudley.

I was trying to say exactly that, but not as well.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What did we used to do in the nasty old '50s? Didn't we lock them up in asylums for their own good and the good of society? What was wrong with that??

Asylums were mostly underfunded warehousing facilities and did little to cure or treat the patients. They were more like prisons. Lumping together the seriously insane with those who were just mildly neurotic. They brought us such lovely things as ice baths, shock treatments frying the brain, lobotomies, icepicks scrambling the brains, extreme drug therapies that left people zombie like and drooling, insulin shock therapy......things you wouldn't do to a dog or cat.....yet it is ok with you do do these things to humans because they are classified as insane??

Inconvenient people were sent against their will by families who wanted them out of sight, by heirs who wanted the money. Committed by husbands who wanted a convenient divorce or wives who were tired of their husband's drinking.

People were committed to insane asylums for being homosexual or lesbians. For mild phobias. Mentally deficient people were classified as insane. Those with what we know know as Aspbergers syndrome were committed to the horrors of an insane asylum.

Once you start classifying some people as 'insane' and allow them to be involuntarily committed to a prison full of people in various states of sanity or insanity, what is to stop you from choosing to incarcerate those who are not mentally ill but who only disagree with your political views.

Who is going to determine who goes to a life behind bars when no criminal act being committed.

The dangers of abuse are horrific and REAL.

Do we need more mental counseling, help for those who are truly ill. Of course. We should have better care and CLEARER channels to bring help to those who need it.

Do we want to start on the path of involuntarily committing people into institutions because we "think" they may be ill or we don't like the way that they think.

The past history of use of mental hospitals/insane asylums as an arm of a repressive political regime to eliminate undesirables is well documented.

If you don't think it can happen here, you might be insane yourself. Lets get the white coats and the straight jackets and take YOU away.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

DBQ - stop engaging in eliminationist rhetoric.

HT said...

I believe larger institutions had their uses and it is a shame that we could not make those work better for us. My understanding is that it was the funding that did them in. I believe there is a place for healing therein, but certainly not with the overuse of medications, lobotomies and shock therapy (though it's changed ... still, not a fan). I am anxious to read Goffman's book. Some interesting and not entirely worthless work was done in these large federal places. But involuntary? Nix. In most cases, nix.

Dudley Do-right said...

"Asylums were mostly underfunded warehousing facilities and did little to cure or treat the patients. They were more like prisons. Lumping together the seriously insane with those who were just mildly neurotic. They brought us such lovely things as ice baths, shock treatments frying the brain, lobotomies, icepicks scrambling the brains, extreme drug therapies that left people zombie like and drooling, insulin shock therapy......things you wouldn't do to a dog or cat.....yet it is ok with you do do these things to humans because they are classified as insane??"

No it isn't OK w/me DBQ, and I think you know that. I do know that, like exploding Pintos, your representation of insane asylums was quite common in the literature of the time. What I don't know is whether it was an accurate representation of all asylums.
If it was universally accurate, then apparently an asylum must be run that way and, no, I'm not in favor of that.

If it was not accurate, then it's at least possible to run an asylum in a way that's not degrading to the inmates. What's lacking is standards in how such a place should be run. I think many of your other arguments against asylums could be likewise addressed.

"If you don't think it can happen here, you might be insane yourself. Lets get the white coats and the straight jackets and take YOU away."

DBQ, I'd MUCH prefer that to having to spend a Syracuse, NY winter living under a bridge.

Carrying this a bit further, the VA hospitals now find themselves charged with caring for many vets with Alzheimers. Since my own Dad would be remanded to one of these wards from time-to-time to give the caregiver (me) a break, I have some first hand knowledge of at least one asylum environment. From all indications, he was treated with great care and respect as were the others incarcerated there. There was absolutely no evidence of the atrocities you mention. That alone should be enough to prove that asylums need not be governed with a reign of terror. The fact that there's potential for abuse in an asylum does not say that it's a requirement.

Exploding Pintos were a rarity. Do we know that asylums fitting your description weren't as well?

HT said...

I have a close relative who was in a psych ward last year, too. It was not really One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but hardly a model for anything. As for spending the night under a bridge, ok, in NY (yikes), I'd have to weigh that against mandatory drugging. I mean, there simply is no choice. None. No matter if their dry erase boards say pet therapy is tomorrow, it ain't . Ain't no pet therapy. Only thing there is is Abilify and more Risperdal, if necessary. Now, perhaps I still have scars from dealing with the docs there, and I will say that THANK GOD this happened in the south where there is, yes, incompetence and inefficiency but also unfailing courtesy and a decent level of caring, and somewhat a fear of God for not doing the right thing. All that helps, there is no doubt. But the place was no model for anything. It is better than it was, but still.

HT said...

The thing that institutions need is committed people (check that: smart, responsible, responsive people dedicated to the mission of healing). Once those people start dropping off, then it's a free for all, and that's when it becomes about profit, or efficiency, or anything else but the mission, and that's when the abuses happen. I am very very willing to give large institutions a chance, but only with dedicated personnel with a proven way of healing. I have no doubt that it can be done (without drugs).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'd MUCH prefer that (being involuntarily committed to an insane asylum) to having to spend a Syracuse, NY winter living under a bridge.

How about on the beach in Venice California? Maybe kicking it in Miami Florida? Hanging in Amarillo?

Voluntarily agreeing to have therapy IF you need it is NOT the same thing as having the government forcibly incarcerate you and drug you.

What guarantee is there if the government can round you up because you have crazy thoughts that they can't just round up ANYBODY with crazy thoughts.....like....oh...I don't know...crazy things like believing in the 2nd amendment. Objecting to paying taxes to fund wars. Disagreeing with Obamacare and not wanting to be forced to purchase insurance.

You know...Crazy things like attending a Tea Party event or voting Libertarian? Maybe even really really crazy stuff like being a Lutheran or Jew or Catholic?

Revenant said...

The reason why institutionalization is a bad idea is that psychiatry is not scientific. There are no objective criteria for saying which people are capable of functioning in society and which are not.

If you're going to deprive someone of their freedom without even convicting them of a criminal offense first, you'd better have rock-solid proof that it is absolutely necessary to do so. Right now, no such proof is available -- you can't know for certain that a person is a danger to others until he actually does something dangerous.

HT said...

Revenent there is the legal competence though. And there, there are certain markers. A judge, a court and some doctors may be involved.

Freeman Hunt said...

You assume that schizophrenics have no control over their minds and non-schizophrenics do. That's not a scientifically supportable statement. In reality, nobody has complete control over their minds. Free will may well exist, but (a) it isn't absolute and (b) it isn't a given that schizophrenics lack it. We do not, for example, CHOOSE to feel rage and hatred. We just choose what to do about it.

Cripes. I wasn't being that technical. I assume no such thing.

Freeman Hunt said...

Some mentally ill people, often schizophrenics, are irrational to the point of having limited culpability for their actions.

We will find out whether or not this was the case with Loughner.

HT said...

"Officials say Mr. Loughner had psychological problems but plotted his attack in a deliberate and orderly manner—buying a Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol in November and bullets the morning of the shooting. He wrote notes that suggested a grudge against Ms. Giffords over a perceived slight during a 2007 public event." -WSJ

Three years would be a record, I'm sure, for active psychosis.

Pogo said...

"There are no objective criteria for saying which people are capable of functioning in society and which are not."

Bullshit. You may disagree with the criteria, but that's a different issue.

By your lights, how can we deny drivers licenses to those with dementia?

Stevie said...

Pogo: The second time a dementia patient gets lost driving their car? My MIL had demetia and got lost several times in a one traffic light town. Once we heard about it from her concerned friends we took action. You can't equate dementia and schizoids as dementia has a definable trajectory and schizoids can go from lucid to not.

Dudley Do-right said...

We're not the only ones chewing this bone:

http://jerrypournelle.com/view/2011/Q1/view657.html#Monday

If juries informed by legal professionals are deemed competent to send criminals to prison...or their deaths, then why aren't juries informed by medical (& legal) professionals deemed competent to institutionalize the insane?

Revenant said...

Bullshit. You may disagree with the criteria, but that's a different issue.

No, I'm right. There are no objective criteria.

There are criteria; they are subjective. Until someone invents a machine for reading and analyzing the thoughts in the human brain, psychiatry will remain subjective.

Revenant said...

If juries informed by legal professionals are deemed competent to send criminals to prison...or their deaths, then why aren't juries informed by medical (& legal) professionals deemed competent to institutionalize the insane?

Substitute "Republicans" for "the insane" and re-ask the question.

As a society, we frown on imprisoning people who have not actually done anything bad yet. Insane people are "guilty" of thinking differently. If that alone is sufficient grounds for incarcerating someone, we're in big trouble. And as it turns out, back when that was sufficient grounds for incarcerating someone, politicians -- FDR and Woodrow Wilson, most famously -- did in fact have political enemies institutionalized.

Pogo said...

"As a society, we frown on imprisoning people who have not actually done anything bad yet. "

Who said "imprison"?

Who said they hadn't done anything bad?

Who said insane people were "guilty" of thinking differently, except you?

Pogo said...

Insty points this out, which I think captures the differences here:

"One man's mental health intervention is another's police state, or Department of Pre-Crime.

Freedom is not free. A free society has no choice but to put up with a great deal of bizarre behavior. I have not seen enough of this chap's public warning behavior, but what I have heard so far doesn't seem all that different from what I can read on a number of web sites. He doesn't seem to have been as passionate about whatever disturbed him as I have seen on bo th sides of a number of issues including Climate Change. Would you have forcibly intervened in his life prior to his pulling the trigger?
"

I would answer 'Yes', because he wasn't just 'passionate, but batshit insane, scared the bejeezus out of classmates, his teacher, a Wal Mart clerk who wouldn't sell him ammo, and he made death threats.

Freedom is not a free-for-all. Freedom does not demand a libertarian anarchy.

Pogo said...

And this:

Mental Illness and Mass Murder
"How many more tragedies like the Tucson shootings will we have to watch before we start facing the harsh truth?

Dudley Do-right said...

"Freedom is not a free-for-all. Freedom does not demand a libertarian anarchy."

Well said, Pogo.

Here's more on the subject from Dr. Helen. The responses are interesting:

http://drhelen.blogspot.com/2011/01/if-you-see-it-on-news-one-night-know.html

Sorry, I've forgotten the short link trick.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If juries informed by legal professionals are deemed competent to send criminals to prison...or their deaths, then why aren't juries informed by medical (& legal) professionals deemed competent to institutionalize the insane?

"Substitute "Republicans" for "the insane" and re-ask the question."

Substitute Tea Partier, Atheist, Catholic, Jew?? I know Godwinned the thread....sue me.....Who elects the juries? To whom are they responsible? Who compensates them? The same people who have devised the mandatory "death panel" annual euthenasia encourgement meetings? Do you REALLY trust the Government to be in charge of this?

Hell, why don't we just burn the mentally ill at the stake like we did witches in the 1600's. After all, they were acting weirdly and people were afraid. Running around turning people into newts and all.

Again.....I am NOT arguing that people do not need help and that some very ill people should be removed from society for their own safety as well as for the safety of society. There SHOULD be a mechanism for this and a safety net for families who are asking for help.

What I AM arguing against is this knee jerk-off reaction that because this one guy in AZ was a nut that we should start imprisioning just ANYBODY who the government or powers that be deem unstable. Who knows what people or what actions or what thoughts the latest powers in charge will decree as mentally ill and worthy of being locked up.

This is a very very very bad path to go down.

Pogo said...

"What I AM arguing against is this knee jerk-off reaction that because this one guy in AZ was a nut that we should start imprisioning just ANYBODY who the government or powers that be deem unstable."

DBQ, I don't see anyone arguing for that. Because of the risk to liberty, any intervention would need scrutiny and transparency, as well as punishment for abuses.

But the current situation is just intolerable, and violates the first demand for any state: protection of its citizens and their property.

There is a reasonable point between anarchy and the gulag. What we have is anarchy for the insane.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't see anyone arguing for that. Because of the risk to liberty, any intervention would need scrutiny and transparency, as well as punishment for abuses.

Agreed, but no one has presented answers to my questions/concerns or explanations of how such interventions would not morph into the 'dark side' of totalitarian governmental control in the guise of 'helping the mentally ill' and protecting society.

Once the camel's nose is under the tent....that's all she wrote.

Good intentions do not always play out into good results. As we can see: the good intentions of NOT interfering with the mentally ill have created this mess.

What new or worse mess will be created by the good intentions of the opposite condition of governmental control, forced drug treatments and incarcertaion.....for our own good of course. (/snark)

If there are abuses....how are you going to punish it if it is the Government?

If you or anyone else can be sure, positively sure, and can explain how it won't happen that the government can pervert a program of incarcerating the mentally ill....I'll listen.

Until then, I'm taking the pragmatic approach that the needs of the few do not outweigh the possible evil that can be done to the thousands or even millions.

Given the history of such programs, I think that I'm on firm ground.

Pogo said...

And as Tom Delay's prison term reveals, the political use of incarceration persists despite your concern, and the supposed safeguard of doing nothing about the insane.

Pogo said...

But why does the possible evil that can be done to the thousands or even millions outweigh the actual evil that occurs on a regular basis?

I am no longer willing to take one for the team.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But why does the possible evil that can be done to the thousands or even millions outweigh the actual evil that occurs on a regular basis?

I am no longer willing to take one for the team.




Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Kommunist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,
habe ich nicht protestiert;
ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten,
habe ich geschwiegen;
ich war ja kein Jude.

Als sie mich holten,
gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.


Now, I've done it. Totally Godwinned the thread. :-P

Pogo said...

I don't believe that the only two options are anarchy, which we have, and concentration camps.

HT said...

What does Godwinned mean?

I'm glad you've done it, whatever it is. We come at it from different perspectives. I tend to doubt that any US system is competent enough to be as evil against its own people as I think you fear, but I haven't spent too much time thinking about it, and that's not *my* point.

There is a decidedly flip and pat feeling to many posters' "solutions" when talking about mental health. There's no depth I've seen on this blog in people's understanding or willingness to understand mental illness. (For people who think I'm willing to forgive this guy, I'm not.)

Pogo said...

I've been dealing with the mentally ill as part of my work for over 20 years.

It's not flippancy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What does Godwinned mean?

Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies)[1][2] is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1989 which has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."[3][2] In other words, Godwin put forth the sarcastic observation that, given enough time, all online discussions—regardless of topic or scope—inevitably end up being about Hitler and the Nazis.

I don't think that Pogo or anyone else, other than the obvious trolls, are being flip about mental health and what to do to prevent future disasters.

It is a serious issue and I too have dealt with mentally ill people from a professional and personal standpoint. I have had a very close relative commit suicide by shooting himself in the head. Had we been better prepared to deal with his situation and had we some 'back up' we could have perhaps gotten help. My first husband was a functional manic depressive and refused to receive any treatment or acknowledge his condition.

Living in San Francisco for quite some time, I have seen obviously deranged homeless. Some of whom have become dangerous to others but many more who have become prey.

Nevertheless, I think that there is a danger in allowing the government or even families to forcibly and involuntarily incarcerate and treat the mentally ill without some very STRINGENT rules and oversight.

The slippery slope is just too dangerous to allow our corrupt government to be in charge.

I just do not trust the goodwill of the government.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Woah.

Pogo. your post is timed perfectly

1/11/11 11:11 AM

!!!

Cool.

Pogo said...

Weird.
Does that mean I'm automatically right, or wrong, or that I disapp

Jim S. said...

"I'm pretty sure I've come to the conclusion that words mean nothing."

If words mean nothing, why is he using words to express his meaning? He's presupposing that words have meaning in order to deny that words have meaning.

drj-lopez said...

As a psychoanalysis and therotican specializing in foucualt and deconstuction, I feel confident in saying that perhaps this isn't really a true case of "mental illness" in the true meaning of "mental illness". I believe that this is an action done by the introspective alineation and frustration of Loughner. In sociology there is a term that refers to this called "anomie". Emile Durkhiem coined this term in germany back in the day when studying suicide. Durkiem came to the conclussion that when someone commits suicide it is because the individual has lost connection with society at-hand (the use of "at-hand" is a refent to Martin Heidieggar's being at time, which I wont go into here). I believe that Loughner is a victom of the post-modern condition that modern society has become. Much like the suicide bomber, Loughner sought to make himself heard through extreme violence. One can theorize that the sucide bomber uses his/her body to communicate an extreme disenchantment with their world. We can come to this notion if we take the presupposition of "all behavior is communication". What is Loughner is communicating is a alienation of society. In what indirect information media (Like this blog) has given about Loughner is that he felt that his ideas were made invisiable and that society is being increasingly being made that way by government. That statement can be debated, BUT only if we accept that Loughner is sane and has articulable statements. However, many of us (especially media) wants to believe that Loughner is crazy, mentally ill, and psychopathic. The problem with this label is that is sweeps a problem that is symptomatic of US society under the rug. The debate of political rhetoric and political tensions minimized. I believe that we should take this unfortent and sad event and look at it critically so that we can understand what elements in our society is alienating, and how we can fix the deep underlining problems rather than placing the band-aid of "lunacy" over an possibly infected wood in the political domain of U.S. society.

Chad said...

Words have no meaning. Your question uses words, therefore your question has no meaning.

rybrei said...

@ Drj Lopez,
If you're really studying Foucault...then you'd realize that this is in fact a case of "true mental illness." You're failing to realize that "mental illness" is prescribed by those in power. Those people in power give that label its truth. There's no question that Loughner deviates from what is considered "normal." Further, the fact that his political and linguistic views are being written off as nonsense and insanity just point right at what Foucault described in the silencing of madness. One more thing, you have an uncanny amount of typos and mistakes. Slightly distracting.

undertakermat_49 said...

The man was clearly disturbed, and held the idea that the government did nothing. "If words have no meaning" implies that the government is all talk and no action.