That guy must be crazy

New York Times columnist David Brooks wants to explain away the actions of Jared Loughner, the gunman that shot 20 people at a political event as the isolated actions of a deranged psycho:

All of this evidence, which is easily accessible on the Internet, points to the possibility that Loughner may be suffering from a mental illness like schizophrenia. The vast majority of schizophrenics are not violent, and those that receive treatment are not violent. But as Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, a research psychiatrist, writes in his book, “The Insanity Offense,” about 1 percent of the seriously mentally ill (or about 40,000 individuals) are violent. They account for about half the rampage murders in the United States[…]

Yet the early coverage and commentary of the Tucson massacre suppressed this evidence. The coverage and commentary shifted to an entirely different explanation: Loughner unleashed his rampage because he was incited by the violent rhetoric of the Tea Party, the anti-immigrant movement and Sarah Palin.

Seriously guys, it couldn’t be that polarizing political lanscape or the incitements to violence, the REAL lesson says Brooks, is that we need a better mental health policy:

If the evidence continues as it has, the obvious questions are these: How can we more aggressively treat mentally ill people who are becoming increasingly disruptive? How can we prevent them from getting guns? Do we need to make involuntary treatment easier for authorities to invoke?

Never mind that there’s not actually any evidence that Loughner was schizophrenic, and folks in the media like Brooks are woefully unqualified to make such claims based on a book list and a couple of youtube clips. It’s easy to be convinced that Saturday’s shooting spree was just the actions of a crazy person – it would be nice to be able to explain it away, and delude ourselves into thinking that if only we could lock schizophrenics up more easily, we’d all be safer.

But Vaughan Bell has a devastating critique of this sort of thinking in Slate, noting that the most complete scientific research on the effects of mental illness show very little increase in risk of violent behavior:

If that doesn’t make sense to you, here’s an analogy: Soccer hooligans are much more likely to be violent when they attend a match, but if you tell me that your friend has gone to a soccer match, I’ll know nothing about how violent a person he is. Similarly, if you tell me your friend punched someone, the fact that he goes to soccer matches tells me nothing about what caused the confrontation. This puts recent speculation about the Arizona suspect in a distinctly different light: If you found evidence on the Web that Jared Lee Loughner or some other suspected killer was obsessed with soccer or football or hockey and suggested it might be an explanation for his crime, you’d be laughed at. But do the same with “schizophrenia” and people nod in solemn agreement.

He ends by noting that violence by the mentally ill is often over reported, and presented with a false perception of risk (seems like a recipe for a robust positive feedback loop).

We may never know what caused this young man to walk into a crowd and start shooting. But we should use it to have a serious conversation about violent political rhetoric. We should use it to have a serious conversation about gun control. We should even use it to have a serious conversation about mental illness. What we should not do is say, “Oh, he was crazy,” and move on.

Comments

  1. #1 Rosie Redfield
    January 11, 2011

    I think we need to separate the questions:

    1. Why did he want to shoot anyone?

    2. if this was a psychiatric problem, why didn’t he get medical intervention?

    3. Why was it easy for him to get a gun?

    4. Why did he choose to shoot Giffords?

    5. Why did he choose to shoot the other people?

    6. Why was it easy for him to get a gun suitable for killing lots of people fast?

    Some of the answers might include violent political rhetoric, but others probably won’t.

  2. #2 Knightly
    January 11, 2011

    While I do think that the combative rhetoric in this country is anathema to what we claim to stand for, Loughner pulled the trigger. It wasn’t Sarah Palin with her “surveyor’s marks,” or Rush Limbaugh with his… well, just about everything. It was Loughner.

    Would there be any harm in a return to more civil, honest discourse (on BOTH sides)? Absolutely not. Was Loughner motivated by politicians and pundits? Maybe. He’s still accountable for his own actions.

    In the meantime, when people like Limbaugh and Beck passionately claim that they had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting, I hear a pang of guilt. They do not think it’s their fault, but part of them wonders, what if it was? What if they contributed to this horrible thing in any way? It’s a sobering thought. If it gives them pause even just for a moment, then maybe something good has come of this mess. Either that or I’m projecting again.

  3. #3 CandaceVan
    January 11, 2011

    Schizophrenia has been with us a long time, but what fascinates me is that the particular delusions or manifestations have changed over time. Once upon a time, catatonic schizophrenia was much more commonly seen than today. The idea that one was secretly some famous personage was much more common when we had psychiatric institution officials who enjoyed showing off “their” Napoleon Bonaparte, etc. The disease is clearly a biochemical or neurological disorder, but its manifestations have been influenced by the culture in which it appears. Saying that a “toxic” political environment encourages such delusions is not the same as saying that it “caused” this tragedy. But it certainly didn’t make it any less likely.

  4. #4 Matt W.
    January 11, 2011

    From what I have read elsewhere, many of his behaviors sound fitting for schizophrenia or possibly a drug-induced psychosis. I agree with CandaceVan, though, that his interaction with a toxic political environment may have set a dangerous delusional system in motion.

  5. #5 abb3w
    January 11, 2011

    Well, there is some evidence. However, YouTube videos are not enough to pin a solid and incontrovertible clinical diagnosis on, especially based on amateur analysis. (The curious can watch for themselves.)

    That said, yes, a claim of schizophrenia is not a reason to close the discussion.

  6. #6 Kevin
    January 11, 2011

    @ Rosie – Excellent point. Unfortunately, I’d put money on this event being hyper politicized, and milked for all it’s worth until the next big thing, and then forgotten without any of those questions being adequately answered.

    @ Knightly – I can’t watch Beck for more than 30 sec without wanting to claw my own eyes out, but I hope what you say is true. I don’t think he or anyone else is directly responsible or even criminally responsible for Laughner’s actions, but I think there is blame to be laid at the feet of an entire media establishment that ginned up the hatred to a fever pitch. No direct causal line will ever or could ever be drawn, but I hope they feel a little responsible, and I hope they think about this the next time they go on the air.

    @ Candace – I know nothing about the history of schizophrenia, that’s pretty interesting. Can we be sure it’s actually a difference in manifestation and not just a difference in diagnosis?

    @ Matt – my response would not be appreciably different from abb3w’s

  7. #7 rodrigo
    January 11, 2011

    @Knightly, re “… more civil, honest discourse (on BOTH sides)?”:

    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2011/01/lets-get-this-straight.html

  8. #8 I. Snarlalot
    January 11, 2011

    Yeah I think delusions tend to be expressed in the context of culture. A mentally ill Hindu would be more likely to hallucinate Shiva than the Virgin Mary, for instance.

    Anyway it’s ridiculous to try to separate biology, from psychology, from culture and politics. That winger pundits are trying to diminish the behavior as strictly psychotic is a sign that they’re worried about the possibility of having to accept responsibility for their nonsense. It’s just monocausal sophistry; smoke and mirrors.

    Seriously, do you think the people who spout off about watering the tree of liberty with blood would bother to say this stuff if they didn’t expect it to have an effect? They are serious about the efficacy of violence for solving problems and getting things done, serious about the culture WAR, serious about all things military and particularly its cornerstone of lethality, and serious about who their enemies are.

    That they can call for violence with a enough rhetorically plausible deniability to fool the media and their emot-o-matic audience, makes it no less virulent. A big shout out to the media by they way, who are now balancing their coverage by giving wingnuts every opportunity possible to obscure their culpability.

  9. #9 Kevin
    January 11, 2011

    @ Rodrigo – Thanks for the link. That’s an amazing post.

    @ Snarlalot – Yeah :-(

  10. #10 Mike Olson
    January 11, 2011

    1. I’m old. What I find disturbing is that the very thing you are doing, when you blame right wing pundits, is the same sort of thing the right wing(predominately) used to say about rock music. I would point out, this also included, as a “point person” Tipper Gore. Al’s wife. In my life, I’ve listened to “concerned parents” claim albums had backward masking which was leading kids to commit various atrocities. Then it was simply horrifying lyrics, that led kids to kill themselves. Of course the most greatly censored Song of all times was performed by a man who now earns his money playing a cop on TV, “Cop Killer,” by Ice-T.

    Basically, people are responsible for their own actions. Censoring songs, lyrics, poetry, books, because of a fear someone might read it and become violent is a bit ridiculous. “Helter Skelter,” was a song about falling in love. It didn’t stop Charley Manson’s followers from using it as a rallying point. Oddly, the Beatles tune, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” is a very up beat tune about a psychopathic killer. No one has used that one yet, as an excuse to kill people. Nor have they used the Talking Heads Tune, “Psycho Killer,” although it is what Ice-T claimed as inspiration.

    Personally, I think that people will get tired of being incited by vitriol. You can only take it for so long, even if you agree. Sooner or later the idiocy comes through. Kind of like with heavy metal music.

    2. I own guns. I am a liberal. I know. Hard to believe a liberal would own guns. Having said that. I do think we need gun control. However, what form? Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But, they can do it a lot faster with guns. So, what do you recommend? If I’ve been treated for depression should I ever be allowed to own a gun? In Illinois, you can get a gun, if you have, but it has to be over five years ago. Personally, I think that is a good start. Most of these killers have no history of mental illness, and even at NIU, the gunman was able to legally buy a gun. Which leads me to this:

    3) I think folks should have a clean bill of mental health, no domestic issues, and a clean arrest record…for five years. Obviously, that doesn’t mean traffic tickets or minor issues. Further, for the concerns most folks address when discussing why they need guns three big issues come up a) hunting. b) home defense. c) sport. (trap shooting, target shooting.) In these pursuits, there is no need for a semi-automatic weapon or a weapon with a detachable magazine. Pump action, lever action and bolt action long guns would severely limit any ability to harm in great numbers and weapons legally available to the public would be less lethal than those available to the police. Without a magazine large numbers of rounds can’t be easily loaded and a person can only fire as fast as they can work a mechanism. Again, making it easier to stop them quicker and I’d point out probably less likely to risk it.

  11. #11 I. Snarlalot
    January 11, 2011

    I’m old too. I think comparing hysteria over random rock and roll to the campaigns of malignant pundits is odd. For instance, I don’t recall any songs calling for watering the tree of liberty with blood. However I think that there are now white supremacist rock bands. I suppose you think they’re harmless? And rap songs glamorizing violence against women, is that ok?

    You seem to be saying that nothing anybody says is ever incitement. Where do you draw the line if anywhere?

    If media, music, doesn’t have any effect, then it didn’t help unite a generation against the Viet Nam war? Or do you think messages can only be beneficial?

    The sixties have come and gone. It’s a different world now, my friend. If I’m not mistaken, rock and roll is even being used as an adjunct to enhanced interrogations.

  12. #12 I. Snarlalot
    January 11, 2011

    Just a further note on personal responsibility. How you see your responsibilities is partly defined by society. If you’re immersed in a culture (or subculture) which incrementally makes it OK and even your duty to commit, say, certain violent acts, then you may not see your responsibilities the same way you would if you had more perspective. People still in their formative years are particularly vulnerable.

    To the extent that we’re responsible for our own actions, then we’re also responsible for what we say. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” And that’s not always because the pen is rational. WORDS HAVE POWER. If you don’t think they can influence, then why even bother to deposit them in blog comment sections?

    I see Gov. Brewer (R., AZ) has also raised the personal responsibility argument regarding the shooter in this context, thus ironically absolving the right wing from any responsibility for the culture they’ve helped create. It’s a potent meme that will no doubt help kill any useful discussion of this issue– no less because it has an appealing and preachy righteousness about it. Of course if he’s as crazy as they’d like you to believe, then how responsible can he really be?

    About what you’d expect from a party of denialists…

  13. #13 Kevin
    January 11, 2011

    @ Mike – 1) I’m not that old, but I think there’s a real difference in scope and effect of messages coming from music (or books, or video games etc) and those coming from political leaders. And messages amplified by trusted news anchors. Yes, people can use all kinds of wacky justifications for their actions, and often due, but that give people in authority license to say whatever crazy shit they want to.

    2/3) Not that weird – my uber crunchy hippy room mate owns guns and hunts. What would I recommend? I don’t feel qualified to make any recommendations, though yours sound eminently reasonable.

    @ I. Snarlalot – agree totally with your point in 12. I was thinking that the question of music was harder, as I’m generally opposed to censorship. But I realized that the question of censorship is different – no one is arguing that this sort of speech be outlawed. This might also go back to my response to Mike’s point – it’s not about this sort of rhetoric being out there, it’s about the institutional support and propagation of these ideas at the highest levels of our society.

  14. #14 Mike Olson
    January 11, 2011

    To be frank, I’m not sure what your argument is. Meaning, you seem to be really upset that there are “malignant pundits,” creating harm but music is not so bad or not as bad. My question is, what are you really trying to say? Censorship is wrong until someone says something hateful or something you disagree with politically?

    Cop Killer was banned and removed from records because it was thought it would inspire cop killing in the wake of the LA riots. So much for music not having an effect.

    Uncle Tom’s cabin created political change. Huck Finn made legitimate comment.

    Again, you seem to think that censorship is something that should be used if the message is something you disagree with. Johnny Cash sang, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.”

    George Thorogood sang, “Early one morning while makin’ my rounds, I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my baby down.”

    Malcolm X said, “By any means necessary.” And you can buy t-shirts with him at a window with a sniper scoped rifle.

    These things should not be censored.

    If Adolf Hitler ran for office today, should he be allowed to make a speech?

    Or should we silence him?

    Words do have an effect. Charley Manson killed no one. His followers did. He incited them to do so.

    But, isn’t that a bit different than the bad old Fox commenters saying something you don’t like…and then someone taking a shot at a moderate democrat?

    If you are truly educated, how you can argue that voices be quieted is beyond me. If they speak, their ignorance is heard.

    Similarly, I’m in a discussion with a gentleman on another thread in which I pointed out, that claiming a civil liberties violation because you have to pay taxes while ignoring gitmo, enhanced interrogation techniques and a denial of due process seems more than a bit hypocritical.

    He claimed that those violations of civil liberties were unfortunate but necessary.

    Right now, you are arguing the same argument as that right winger in favor of censorship.

    You would sacrifice our liberties for a false sense of security.

  15. #15 scidog
    January 12, 2011

    remember the term “spin doctor”?.to see him at work on the public TV evening news is to see a real pro in action,right down to the friendly smile.

  16. #16 TTT
    January 12, 2011

    I don’t think Palin, Limbaugh, the TP, whatever, caused this event at all.

    However, I do think this event is what they wanted to happen, and they aren’t sorry it happened.

    When you gunsight-target your opponent by name and say “reload,” what do you think it actually means? When you say “join me to shoot an M16 so we can take down my opponent”, by name, what do you think it actually means? When you call for “Second Amendment remedies” to losing an election to a named opponent, what do you think it actually means?

    Right wing political speech, from the highest party leaders and opinion-setters, is saturated with the language and imagery of violence, intimidation, gunplay, and murder. And the assassination of Rep. Giffords is what all of their statements and wishes actually look like when put into practice.

    They didn’t cause the shooting, it just perfectly matches everything they ever talk about. That way every normal American feels right now? That’s the way their speech should always make you feel, because it says the exact same thing. Now is the perfect time to highlight their reckless deathwishing and excommunicate them from civilized society as surely as we have done with the Ku Klux Klan.

    Don’t get mired down in blame and causation–talk about IDEAS. Killing your opponent is their internally popular and well-accepted idea. And I, for one, have a problem with that.

  17. #17 Kevin
    January 12, 2011

    @ Mike – Not censorship. Look again at my comment, I said “no one is arguing that this sort of speech should be outlawed.”

    We don’t censor Johnny Cash, but if the ranking Republican on the house judiciary committee said “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die,” there would (and should) be outrage. I don’t think Cop Killer should have been censored, but if a candidate for president said the same things as that song, we should (rightly) do everything possible to keep that person out of office. If Hitler ran, we should let him make speeches, but do everything possible to convince people not to attend.

    It’s also not about people just “saying something I don’t like.” I saw Ron Paul on the News Hour last week going on and on about getting back to the gold standard. I didn’t like it – I think it’s stupid and my roommate and I ridiculed his arguments. It never entered into my mind that I should prevent him from speaking, or even that he should stop talking about it. He’s making arguments, trying to convince people, and that’s what we do in a democracy. But there’s a difference between passioned debate (which is good) and debate which demonizes your opponents, casts them as traitors and criminals and uses violent and inciting rhetoric.

    People who do so should be shunned, stripped of their power (peacefully, via elections), and ignored.

  18. #18 Gerard Harbison
    January 12, 2011

    Funny, actual, y’know, experts on schizophrenia seem to have no problem diagnosing him as schizophrenic.

    He’s a textbook case. Most psychiatrists will tell you they need to examine a patient before diagnosing him, but this guy has all of the symptoms. He has the right age of onset. He has a deteriorating social course, as they say in the [DSM], social and occupational dysfunction. He has delusions, and they’re pretty strange. It’s common for schizophrenics to think people are trying to control their mind, but thinking the government is trying to control your grammar — I’ve never heard that before. The real tip-off is the markedly disorganized speech, which you see in the rambling videos. This is the kind of disorganized speech that you virtually never get in any other condition. It’s what we call pathognomonic of schizophrenia. That is, when you hear that symptom, it’s “schizophrenia until proven otherwise.” He’s also got the affective flattening of emotion, which you see in that mug shot.

    Stick to immunology.

  19. #19 Kevin
    January 12, 2011

    If you could do a blood test and determine this guy is schizophrenic, I don’t think it changes the thrust of this post at all. I’d be the first to tell you that I’m totally unqualified to call it one way or the other, but calling Laughner a schizophrenic is not a causal explanation of why he did what he did. And it’s no reason to say case closed.

  20. #20 I. Snarlalot
    January 12, 2011

    I have to admit my comment at #11 isn’t clear. There’s a lesson in that: don’t post before you’re awake. Not helpful. Sorry. My other points stand well enough, I guess.

    Anyway, to bottom line it, what kind of society do you want to live in? This has nothing to do with censorship whatsoever; just making people own up to the crap that comes out of their mouths. Otherwise you’re off down a very dangerous path. Remember the role of hate radio in Rwanda. And before anyone tries to put words in my mouth, no that’s not where we are right now. The lesson is however very clear and too important to be turned aside with glib talk about how great sex, drugs, and rock and roll are, for pity’s sake. It’s worth thinking about long and hard is all I’m saying. That and maybe undoing media consolidation.

    As for the connection of hate speech to the shooting, perhaps an imperfect analogy to climate change would help. You can’t necessarily connect an extreme weather event to global warming, but that doesn’t mean global warming isn’t a problem or that it won’t cause extreme events.

    That analogy will be wasted on denialists, of course. Speaking of which, “Most psychiatrists will tell you they need to examine a patient before diagnosing him…” Gee. I wonder why. Hey, maybe it’s sunspot activity!

  21. #21 Gerard Harbison
    January 12, 2011

    Let me quote you

    Never mind that there’s not actually any evidence that Loughner was schizophrenic

    There is plenty of evidence, and the expert quoted by Salon lists it.

    What there is absolutely no evidence for is that there’s any connection between this tragedy and Sarah Palin, or the Tea Party, or indeed anyone’s political rhetoric whatsoever, except perhaps Nietsche’s (Loughner liked Nietsche). Nonetheless, a large part of the Left made an immediate rush to judgement on this issue, and used it to pillory conservatives.

    No, we’re not interested in a discussion based on false premises.

  22. #22 Kevin
    January 12, 2011

    As we’ve already established, I’m not qualified to make assessments of mental state, so I read some opinions (and linked to one there), but I also said “never mind,” because the question of whether he’s schizophrenic or not does not actually affect the point. Did you read the piece by Vaughan Bell? Schizophrenia does not increase propensity to violence, and Laughner’s mental state does not constitute a motive or a causal explanation.

    No one, not even the mentally ill, acts in a vacuum. Even if we found transcripts of all of Sarah Palin’s speeches and that gunsight map in Laughner’s apartment, it wouldn’t make her directly responsible. But words matter, and the amount of attention paid to people that would poison our political discourse with hate and violent rhetoric shapes our societal landscape.

  23. #23 Jamie
    January 13, 2011

    I’m not an expert on schizophrenia ready to diagnose people I haven’t seen, but I am a certified schizophrenic, diagnosed in 1977 in my early twenties (typical “age of onset”), and was incarcerated on a locked mental ward of a major hospital in a large mid-western city. I didn’t like being there so I changed the way I spoke and was allowed to go home. At home I stopped taking pills (my parents were told that I was “very sick” and would be taking psychiatric drugs the rest of my life). Consequently I have lived, for over 30 years, a moderately productive and ordinary life without therapy or psychiatric drugs, completely in the closet. In the ’80s I completed a B.S. in Psychology with high marks and completed a graduate degree in a different field in the ’90s. I have a house, a family, including child and pet, a stable job…

    I may have been mis-diagnosed, but either way I conclude that “the experts” don’t really know what the hell they’re talking about. I don’t think the modern medical model of so-called “mental illness” is adequate—to say the least. I think that people behave violently when they have been treated violently as they grew up. (Exposure to violent images counts as being treated violently, but is hardly the whole story.) I think questioning the rhetoric of politicians is appropriate, but what really needs to be examined for causal explanations of mental dysfunction in our society (including such shootings) is the way we treat our children. I believe that accident and culture, not germs and not genes, causes the aberrant behaviors we label schizophrenia. I have been watching, more or less in vain, for 30 years for some insight from genetics, pharmacy, neuroscience etc to shed light on whether I am correct or not. We have become adept at applying chemical straight-jackets and designing new drugs to mask symptoms. We have made very little progress (if any) in all that time actually understanding the condition.

  24. #24 Bill Bradshaw
    January 14, 2011

    If anybody here is really interested in another point of view on ‘mental health’ they should read “Anatomy of an epidemic” or if they want to know why DSM is nonsense then read “Madness explained”. Be warned they are more than a couple of pages long. I will stop there because the kind of ignorance displayed by Gerard and his ilk makes me furious and nauseous in equal proportions.

  25. #25 oceanblue
    January 15, 2011

    What we’re doing here is searching for an easy, singular thing to blame. Something we already dislike personally.

    It’s possible that right-wing rhetoric was an influence on this Loughner kid, but from what I’ve read, he was more influenced by video games and other aspects of pop culture, and he had little exposure to Palin/Beck/etc.

    But the causes of these sorts of rampages are not so easy to determine.

    Rampage mentality probably takes a combination of many influences working over a fairly long period on a particular sort of troubled psyche.

    And the influences that are most important are probably not rock songs, video games, or Sarah Palin speeches, but events that touch the troubled individual personally, like badly ended relationships or being rejected by peers.

    And the fact is that rock music, violent video games, and right-wing rhetoric are all a part of our culture, here to stay, and whining about them seems to have zero impact.

    I worked in a clubhouse for mentally ill people for a bit. And Loughner’s YouTube videos reminded me of a member who was not schizophrenic, but who had something called a thought disorder. He was a very sweet soul, and he wanted badly to communicate, but when he tried to express thoughts what came out was utter nonsense. The vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent, and in fact are statistically more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it. And even when mentally ill people do become violent, the violence is not always a direct result of the illness. I’m willing to bet money that Loughner has a clinical mental illness. But even so, his rampage is probably not due solely to that.

    The bottom line is that there are no easy answers for why people go on rampages.

    We should focus our energy on solving the problem of guns being WAY too easy to get. We should classify guns based upon their lethality like we classify vehicles based upon their size. To purchase or use guns of a certain lethality, you should need an appropriate license. The license should be like a driver’s license. Anyone can get one, but you need to pass a test. Guns should be registered just like cars.

    This would be a more sane system. It would still allow gun enthusiasts and hunters to buy their favorite toys — as many as they want, whatever kind they want. And I believe it would be constitutional.

    But realistically such a system would never be accepted in America, because we’re totally bonkers about our guns.

    And so realistically these kinds of rampages are going to keep on happening in our country for a long time to come.

  26. #26 scidog
    January 16, 2011

    i see all the spin Dr’s showed up here in force.i would like someone with the time and computer talent to search the web for the last few years and post ALL the right wing hate and threats in one place so we can all have a look and then say that this murder was not inspired by the rights hate mongers.
    include bumper sticker,billboards and tee shirts…

  27. #27 Adam O
    January 16, 2011

    What Vaughan Bell’s column emphasized was that there is a difference between a mentally ill person, often stigmatized, and rarely violent, and a person who must take responsibility for making choices that put one in a deranged state of mind – drinking, drug abuse. We do, in fact know, that Loughner’s ex-girlfriend called him a really nice guy. Evidence, not yet conclusive, points to abuse of salvia divinorum and pot “changing” Louoghner’s personality. I don’t have stats handy to show what percentage of mentally ill folks who are violent also are substance abusers. But, at this point, I’d be more inclined to blame Loughner’s poor choices than I would be to blame “the crazy”.

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