Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Slouching Toward Tucson: New Details Emerge on Political Views of AZ Shooter

As a political scientist, I never felt comfortable with the suggestion that the AZ shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was influenced by rightwing rhetoric. The tip off, for me, is that he shot multiple victims and cited, as one of his favorite books, The Communist Manifesto. I don't see how anyone influenced by free market, constitutional principles would ever admire the work of Karl Marx.

Now, however, we have new evidence of the thinking of Mr. Loughner through posts he made - under the name erad3 - at a UFO/conspiracy website called Above Top Secret (ATS).

There is a treasure trove of information at this site and I have no doubt that publication of this material will have a profound influence on how Loughner's behavior is interpreted by the MSM and Blogosphere.

One of the most touching moments, ironically, is when a fellow member of ATS correctly identifies Loughner's paranoid schizophrenia and urges him to get help:

I have maybe made a mistake is my assessment of your avatar, because for that to be the case, you'd have to be at least somewhat rational, but I think youre frankly schizophrenic, and no that's not an amateur opinion and not intended as an uninformed or insulting remark, you clearly make no sense and are unable to communicate. I really do care. Seek help before you hurt yourself or others or start taking your medications again, please. Maybe, it'd be better for some there be an infinite source of haldol or cogentin then fiat currency.
As far as I can tell, the other members at the ATS site are pretty quick at catching up with Loughner's games and adept at mirroring back to him his nonsensical syllogisms. Loughner's philosophy is apparent in comments where he writes: "Wouldn't be hilarious to make fun of your boss?" He also writes briefly in a manner that hints at the alienation caused by the capitalist system:

The majority of our world is dedicated to a workplace.
The workplace could have a effect on the belief system.
This not possible for the majority of the world to preach that fact.
Loughner also launches some standard material that looks typical for an anti-Bush, anti-war, the U.S. is committing war crimes under the Geneva Convention perspective. Loughner writes:

Look into what a war crime is from the Geneva Convention.
This could shed some light on the current situations of the world.
Could this be effecting the experience and circumstances of life?
In another post, Lougher writes:

There was help with cleaning the uranium from the Iran and Iraq war in the 1980's?
Article 33 of the Geneva Convention is the prohibit of pillage.
All military invasions with armed forces into a foreign country are war crimes in the Geneva Convention articles of 1949.
The Iraq and Afghanistan war of 2010 is a military invasion with armed forces into a foreign country.
Therefore, Iraq and Afghanistan war of 2010 is a war crime from the Geneva Convention articles of 1949.
Ouch! For the thoughts of war.
Loughner also expresses disbelief and hostility to the Christian faith in a manner that more closely matches the views of the left than the views of either Glenn Beck or Gov. Sarah Palin. Here's a sample of one of Loughner's rants:

philosophy is non-fiction writing then there's a author for the literature
There's no author for the literature.
Therefore, Christianity philosophy is not non-fiction writing.
Crap on anyone who is believing Christianity without evidence of a writer!

He also displays a cynicism toward the market system and basic materialistic ends. It is another surprise to read Loughner's comments when they seem more aligned with those of the left than the right as follows:

If the children and teenagers that attend schools are able to buy products at their breaks then they're able to purchase the items out of school.
The children and teenagers that attend schools are able to buy products at their breaks.
Therefore, they're able to purchase the items out of school.
The majority of the population will buy main brands.
If you don't buy from a main brand then be considered a cheap low class citizen.
Unfortunately, I think Loughner's actions make more sense - from his perspective - if you see Rep. Giffords as part of an evil government plot, tied to her Space Shuttle Commander husband, to rip off people who don't understand that space travel is a myth created by the government.

The best article I've seen, based on this new information, comes from Jim Lindgren at The Volokh Conspiracy website. Lindgren focuses on illustrating Loughner's anti-war views.

As I understand it, from Wikipedia, Lindgren is a professor of law at Northwestern University. He graduated from Yale College (1974, cum laude) and the University of Chicago Law School (1977), where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 2009. He's done a great job of sorting through Loughner's posts. I have no doubt that this new information will gain substantial media coverage over the coming days.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.


  1. He also liked Mein Kampf and Animal Farm - an anti-communist book and he ranted against our federal currency system being backed by gold. He didn't vote in the last election, and he's a registered independent. I don't think it's right that we are putting a political judgement on such a sick individual. This is why people are fed up with politics - that everything has to be politicized...and I say this as a person who once wanted to study political science.

  2. Hi Dave:

    Here's a couple of points for you to consider. 1) Hitler's party was actually a socialist party...the word socialism is in the title. 2) In China, they don't necessarily see Animal Farm as anti-communist. Orwell, for example, doesn't critize the animals for making the wrong choice in throwing out the humans initially. 3) Loughner's use of the word currency is more complex than you suppose. He means this word to stand for an entire system of social control...not simply a return to the gold standard. Finally, Loughner refers to the U.S. as a terrorist nation - as do many on the left - and features flag-burning on his YouTube website. Taking all these issues into consideration, I think it is fair to classify him as a leftwing, anti-government type. I urge you to read through his website posts yourself and make up your own mind based on the actual evidence.

    Regards, John

  3. Interesting post, thanks for sharing.

  4. It is a sad day when we will turn vector-less insanity into a ideological blame game.
    My father is a viet vet, atheist, anti-war, and anti-government. That doesn't make him a lefty.
    I believe in the death penalty and deficit reduction and he still thinks I'm too liberal.

    This is an attempt at intellectual deflection. The only need for blame lies in the proliferation of hate speech from either side.
    Stop demonizing your opponent and debate on the issues.
    Stop putting gun sites on peoples faces.
    When you say 9/11 was an inside job they call you a conspiracy nut, when Glenn Beck writes nonsense on a chalk they call it incite.
    You are confusing those that are already confused. Gasoline burns. Get it?


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