Saturday, January 8, 2011

Looks Like Mental Illness Again

Initial reports are never terribly accurate.  Someone named Jared Loughner has been arrested for the mass murder in Tucson that killed a federal judge and a number of others, and shot Congresswoman Giffords (D-AZ) in the head.  This disjointed, rambling, confused YouTube item is by someone from Arizona named Jared Loughner and describes itself as "My Final Thoughts."  It does not take much effort from reading it to guess paranoid schizophrenia.

His video seems to indicate that he is (or was) a soldier at a military base in the area, and he seems upset that the Army gave him a "mini-Bible" before some tests at some Army base in Phoenix he calls MEPS (which would be the Military Entrance Processing Command).  This makes the claim in this news report that it was an automatic weapon a bit unnerving.  (Of course, a lot of these early accounts turn out to be wrong.)  This CNN report says a Glock 9mm pistol--a lot more likely.

UPDATE: This Fox News account reports:
According to the law enforcement official, the suspect began shouting something before shooting wildly with an automatic weapon. Shots then rang out from the crowd --  a security agent or someone else fired at the suspect who survived.
Being Arizona, it could have been one of the many armed civilians, too.  It is unclear now if this helped or hurt, although it does not appear that the shooter was hit.

UPDATE 2: Jim Lindgren over at Volokh Conspiracy points out that it looks like a mental illness problem--and his politics are not likely significant factors.  But so what?  What little evidence is available comes from someone who purports to have gone to school with him, and describes Loughner as a left-wing radical.  It does seem unlikely, however, that a left-wing radical is following Sarah Palin's site.  Oh yes, a pothead--and now, apparently, mentally ill (my guess: paranoid schizophrenic).  Wait--didn't I read something somewhere about the connection between marijuana use and mental illness--specifically schizophrenia?

UPDATE 3: Early reports about being in the Army seem to be wrong--the Army apparently rejected him in 2008.  This account confirms a history of violent threats, and behavior that fits the mental illness explanation.  Also, some drug charges several years back that confirm the friend's description of him as a pothead.


  1. NO, he was not, nor has he ever been, a Soldier. He tried to enlist, but was rejected. Don't try to blame this one on the military.

  2. His video weirdness indicated he had been in the Army. Some early news reports said he was a veteran. I was careful to say only that he seemed to make that claim.

    Why would I try to blame this on the military? I'm not a Democrat.

  3. According to the Twitter feed of someone who claims to have attended school with him, he was, however a pothead. Link

  4. Obviously it was reefer madness.

  5. It was obviously paranoid schizophrenia. Whether the marijuana caused it, or was coincidental, is impossible to say.

  6. "Whether the marijuana caused it, or was coincidental,is impossible to say." but gratuitously implied.

  7. There's a connection between the two: one seems to cause the other. Would it have happened either way? Hard to say. But the connection is real. Ask yourself: do you want to double your risk of mental illness or not?