Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Not surprisingly, Stan Goff had an interesting take on the recent shootings in Tucson, as well as the kinds of responses they elicited:

Let’s start with the premise that Jared Loughner is crazy, not coherently political. [...]

I’ll leave the DSM-IV acolytes to put labels on what kind of crazy Loughner is. The fact is he wasn’t crazy on Mars or in a time warp.

He was crazy in Tucson, Arizona, United States of America, in January 2011. Jared Loughner could read and write in English. He watched television, listened to the radio, saw movies, and read newspapers. He knew how to buy a gun and call a cab. When he couldn’t get his ammo at one Wal-Mart, he had the wherewithal to head to the next one and try again.

Jared Loughner may have some problems with dissociation, however that is being defined, but he didn’t learn to load and fire a Glock 19 via some synaptic disruption in his cerebral cortex; he learned it from a culture. Last I checked, there is no evidence of a Glock 19 gene, though I expect the DSM-IV people to come up with a Glock 19 Disorder soon enough, and Searle will invent a drug to control it.

This may sound like I’m trying to make the US case against him, given the narrow legal definition of insanity; but I’m not. The legal definition of anything is always inadequate, because law can never anticipate the complexity of context.

The case I’m making is that Loughner – in his own mentally fractured way – was behaving exactly the way his culture demonstrated he was supposed to behave.