Just Your Typical Would-Be Assassin

Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner fits the profile of a killer. But not in the way you might think.

“Students of assassination in the U.S. have generally seen assassins and attackers of political leaders either as possessing ‘political’ motives or as being ‘deranged,’” notes a 1999 comprehensive study [PDF] of the 83 known and would-be attackers in modern American history. “This is a narrow and inaccurate view of assassination."

“There is no profile of an American assassin,” forensic psychologist Robert Fein and his co-author Bryan Vossekuil, former head of the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center, emphasize. But the Tucson attacker, Jared Loughner, is pretty typical. Of the 83 attackers analyzed, 71 were male, 63 were white, 41 had never married, 47 had no children, about half had some college education, and about half were unemployed at the time of their attacks. “Almost all subjects had histories of grievances and resentments,” note Fein and Vossekuil.

Politics apparently plays very little role in most attacks and would-be attacks against public officials. The researchers found that “fewer than a tenth of subjects who acted alone were involved with militant or radical organizations at the time of their attack or near-lethal approach.” Instead, they seek notoriety, revenge for perceived wrongs, death at the hands of law enforcement, to bring attention to a perceived problem, to save the country or the world, to achieve a special relationship with the target, to make money, or to bring about political change. Less than a quarter of the attackers developed escape plans. In fact, more than a third wished or expected to die during their attack.

However, “more than a fourth had a history of interest in militant or radical organizations and beliefs.” For example, radical leftwing ideology motivated presidential attackers like Lee Harvey Oswald and Sara Jane Moore, while rightwing views inspired members of The Order to kill liberal radio talk show host Alan Berg. Though Loughner has a digital trail of a weird assortment of fringey views, none of them seems to have motivated the attack.

Moreover, diagnosed mental illness is not a good indicator of who might become an assassin. Fein and Vossekuil find that “fewer than half of American assassins, attackers, and near-lethal approachers since 1949 who chose public officials or figures as their primary targets exhibited symptoms of mental illness at the time of their attacks or near-lethal approaches.” Not surprisingly, the more mentally disorganized an attacker, the less likely their attack was to succeed.

The researchers note that 46 of the attackers and would-be attackers in their study had been evaluated by a mental health professional at some point in their lives, but only 16 had been treated for mental health problems in the year prior to their attacks. They acknowledge that a greater percentage of attackers have been mentally ill than have been members of the general public, but warn that “it is a mistake to automatically assume...that focus on the presence or absence of mental illness is critical to determining the risk of violence to a public official or figure that a given individual may pose.”

Fein and Vossekuil report that 31 of the attackers had experienced an episode of serious depression and 29 had threatened to commit suicide at some point in their lives. In addition, in the year before their attacks, half of them had experienced a major loss or life change including marital problems, personal illness, death of a family member, or failure at school or work.

Recent news reports strongly suggest that Loughner was experiencing some form of mental illness, but he was sufficiently organized to plan and carry out the attack. Loughner’s defense lawyer may well attempt to argue mental illness as a defense. Fein and Vossekuil, however, observe that of the previous attackers who went to trial only John Hinckley, would-be assassin of President Ronald Reagan, was found to lack criminal responsibility by reason of mental illness. (Hinckley was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster.) To the extent the public gets to hear from Loughner it will likely turn out that he was chiefly seeking notoriety and possibly death, rather than reacting to supposedly vitriolic political rhetoric.

Most interestingly, the researchers found that “no assassin or attacker communicated a direct threat about their target to the target or to a law enforcement agency before their attack or near-lethal approach (emphasis theirs).” Consequently, they assert, “The idea that the persons who pose the greatest risks to public officials and public figures are those who make explicit threats is a myth.” On the other hand, those who do attack often hint to associates or family members about their plans. In addition, perpetrators frequently keep diaries or notes outlining their intentions.

A 2004 review article [PDF] of studies dealing with threats and attacks reported that research evaluating a selection of threatening letters sent to members of Congress found that “the presence of any threat in a letter was associated with a lower risk of approach.” In other words: Big talk means no action. In addition, the review found that people who made contact with and later approached members of Congress were predominantly engaged in “help seeking” that “involved personal issues, rather than ideological ones.”

In light of these findings, Jared Loughner, perpetrator of the horrific Tucson massacre and would-be assassin of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), is pretty much the usual suspect when it comes to attacks on public officials. He is an unmarried, childless, unemployed white male with no readily discernible political motivations who just experienced a major life failure when he was kicked out of community college. At this point Loughner does not appear to have been associated with any political organization. Investigators have apparently found an envelope in a safe at Loughner’s house inscribed with the words, “my assassination.” While Loughner had previous contact with Giffords at a public meeting in 2007, as far as is currently known, he made no direct threats against the congresswoman.

Fein and Vossekuil report that there were only five attacks against members of Congress between 1949 and 1996. (Presumably this includes the 1954 incident in which a group of Puerto Rican nationalists shot five congressmen from the House gallery, all of whom lived.) The attack on Giffords increases the number of incidents to six. In the modern era, only two members of Congress have been assassinated, Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.) when he was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, and Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.) in 1978 when he was visiting the Jonestown religious cult in Guyana. Fein and Vossekuil report that there were only four attacks against federal judges between 1949 and 1996. Only one federal judge was killed between 1789 and 1979, while three were killed between 1979 and 1989. Now the murder of Judge John Roll during the Tucson massacre must be added to the list. The attack on Giffords increases the number of incidents to six.

Finally, attacking any innocent person is abhorrent and the perpetrators must be severely punished. In my opinion, the relatively few attacks on public officials (fewer than 80 in 60 years with about a third of those aimed at the president) provide no real justification for erecting the modern massive security infrastructure in which government officials and buildings are being increasingly closed off to citizens. I admire Rep. Giffords' willingness to meet and talk with citizens where they live. I hope for her speedy recovery.

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • hmm||

    For instance he has three names.

    (will admit to not reading article first to see if this was a part of it)

  • JPC||

    Yes, but his three names have a total of sixteen letters, not fifteen as in John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Therefore, he could not possibly have done it.

    :-)

  • AlmightyJB||

    Check out the picture of the grassy knoll.

  • Realist||

    But where in the hell is Tuscon???

  • JB||

    Just like schools shootings, the media is to blame.

    And yes, they are to blame because they specifically publicize these shootings for higher ratings.

    The NFL doesn't show streakers...why can't the retarded media do the same for fame-seeking media whores?

  • Paul||

    I mean, come on, you gotta be a little crazy to fly planes into buildings and shit like that...

  • Sleeping Dog||

    ...and that is why you fail!

    It is foolish to assume that the reason a person opposes you is because they're insane. Few people can be genuinely labeled as deranged and even fewer called evil.

    The incident you refer to was an act of war. We like to call 9/11 a terrorist attack but it was war plain and simple.

    And in war there is no such thing as crazy, evil, or even going to far. War is simply differences of opinion with the outcome determined by who is the most motivated to win. Who gets labeled as the "good" guys and "bad" guys is up to whoever won.

    Most so called assassins, including our latest one, simply see themselves as participants in a war even if it's one that only exists inside their skull!

  • ||

    The WTC attack was a crime, not an opening battle to a war.

    Otherwise, I agree with you on the rest of your opinion.

  • ||

    considering that al qaeda had already declared war on the US and the attack was coordinated by them... that's debatable.

    note also, that crime and act of war are not mutually exclusive.

  • disagree||

    I think war is being conveniently redefined to suit 9/11.

    We don't even call the cold war a 'war' even though it fits that better than it fits 9/11.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Isn't "war" a state of belligerency between two states? If Al Quida isn't a state then Mongo is correct that it's a crime not an act of war.

    ... Hobbit

  • DK||

    I don't think that's necessarily the case. For instance, during the Civil War, the CSA possessed sovereignty only in the eyes of a few nations. Surely you wouldn't say that a 4 year long conflict claiming hundreds of thousands of lives was not a war?

  • Bucky||

    since al qaeda declared war what you think about redefining war to suit 9/11 is mute...

  • Bucky||

    moot too!

  • ||

    Well, this isn't a full-out conventional declared war (since the primary belligerent party is not a legitimate state but a multinational entity) but it's also not a "cold" war either.

    The USSR never ordered any attacks on the US or NATO countries, that I recall.

  • DK||

    I'm sure I'll get flamed for quoting Wikipedia, but here it is:

    "War is a phenomenon of organized violent conflict, typified by extreme aggression, societal disruption and adaptation, and high mortality. There is some debate about other characteristics, but in general there is agreement that war involves at least two organized groups, is a premeditated activity at least on the part of one side, and at least one of the groups uses violence against the other."

    9/11 seems to fit this definition as an act of war.

  • ||

    Interesting. In that case, we can try them in a military tribunal and hang them for war crimes.

  • TheCheeseStandsAlone||

    His action consummated
    what a lot of Americans
    discuss, and rant about...

    Is that insanity?

  • V||

    Not crazy at all if you believe you'll get 72 virgins in heaven. Perfectly rational and logical train of thought - the premises, however, are ludicruous.

  • 72 Virgils||

    Yew got a purty mouth, Ahmed...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A 2004 review article [PDF] of studies dealing with threats and attacks reported that research evaluating a selection of threatening letters sent to members of Congress found that “the presence of any threat in a letter was associated with a lower risk of approach.”

    I call for legislation to protect elected leaders from constituents who do not indicate an intent to do harm to members of Congress.

    Heavier penalties for unannounced attacks should do the trick. What lunatic gunman is going to try to pull off an attempt after the voices in his head remind him that he could face a stiffer sentence if he doesn't send a threatening letter first?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    These statistics are staggering. I think it should be obvious to all that we need an affirmative action program for potential assassins.

  • Skip||

    Like Japanese soldiers fighting decades after the war ended, the Lefty blogosphere, minus a few lefties with brains and/or honesty, will never concede that Sarah Palin's Map O' Targets had zero to do with this d-bag killing people.

  • Ragnar||

    Nor will they concede that other politicians - including lieberals - had used similar imagery or language in their campaigns.

  • ||

    Did he watch Taxi Driver? A lot?

  • ||

    Are you talkin' to ME???

  • ||

    It is pathetic. I was flipping channels yesterday and stumbled on a report about this guy. And it was really good. They talked to people who had known him throughout his life. It showed a guy who went from being kind of an awkward loner in middle school and high school to a dangerous psychotic by the time he was in college. The story was both scary and tragic and very well told. The show was "Inside Edition". How fucking pathetic is our mainstream political media when tabloid entertainment reporters do a better job reporting the facts and the news than they do?

    But hey, Inside Edition is just trying to tell a story someone wants to hear. I doubt they really give a shit about scoring political points against Sarah Palin. Meanwhile, the NYT runs a "what have you done since you stopped beating your wife" story about this story and Palin. It pulls the old slander of repeating rediculous unsourced crticism by writing a perportedly straight news story about her response to all of this "criticism", which is of course wispered and given in ineundo so that it appears credible without actually saying it is credible.

  • Sarah Palin||

    I'm not gonna have sex with you.

  • reality||

    Well you will in his dreams!

  • Max||

    You know what's really perportedly rediculous?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Your spelling and comprehension skills?

  • ||

    How come in the artist's rendering of his court appearance he had hair but in his mug shot he had his head shaved. I believe it is a conspiracy to shield the true identity of this atheistic nihilist.

  • ||

    I believe you just might be retarded.

  • ||

    The mug shot currently up on MSNBC is nuts. Go see it; he looks crazier than Shemp when he needed cheese. I guess him being bald would make him look more like Curly, but I get the Shemp vibe off of him.

  • ||

    u sur know lots bout 3 stoges r u 1 lol

  • You Still Suck||

    ...badly kid.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    More of a young Uncle Fester, imo.

  • Old Man with Candy||

    "Moe, Larry, the cheese!" was a line uttered by the late, great Jerome Horwitz, not the late, lame Sam Horwitz.

  • ||

    A young "uncle Fester"?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Um, Epi... the cheese bit was always Curly. That, or smelling wild hyacinth or earing "Pop Goes the Weasel".

    Shemp, while entertaining, didn't have Curly's chops for manicness.

  • ||

    Oh sorry, I forgot to put a question mark after the word shaved. My bad.

  • ||

    the local comunity college expelled him for strange behavior.

  • hmm||

    Actually from what I read they expelled him for disruptions and threats or veiled threats to himself and others.

    At least the first part was stated by people who knew him within the year and one teacher.

  • Bucky||

    see what algebra can do to some people...
    hey, didn't algebra come from Persia...
    hmmm...

  • hmm||

    If colleges expelled people for strange behavior I would have been booted pretty quick.

  • ||

    mayb u r kill durr nxt lol

  • hmm||

    Pretty sure I'm not. But you never know. Retarded texting might drive me over the edge.

  • pancakes||

    OhioOrrin, don't be his Palin!

  • You Still Suck||

    At least fake having something intelligent to say. Seriously kid, you're just fucking dumb, and it just oozes all over the monitor. I know your mom told you that you're special and you can be whatever you want when you grow up, but McDonald's offers steady work (in the back, of course, they wouldn't want a dumbass like you speaking with customers).

  • ||

    actually, iirc they told him he couldn't come back until he got a mental clearance. iow, he was conditionally suspended.

  • hmm||

    Oh you semantic genius.

  • ||

    hey, i'm used to you being carefree with facts.

    expelled and suspended are quite different.

    the point is they didn't kick him out, they said that (iirc) "we want you to get a mental clearance or you can't be on campus"

    it is hardly a distinction w/o a difference.

  • cynical||

    Yes, on the condition that a mental health professional assured them that his psycho ass wasn't going to murder everyone.

  • ||

    well not really. no MHP can assure them of that. they can say that they see no indications he will murder somebody, and that's essentially what they wanted. i have to clear mental cases all the time where i can't say a person won't hurt themself or others, i just don't have sufficient indicia that they will, that i can DO something about it. human beings aren't that predictable. that's what makes us fun.

    well, that and genitalia.

  • ||

    Maybe most aren't clinically insane, but they sure as hell are nuts.

  • Almanian||

    That's just crazy talk!

  • ||

    Fein and Vossekuil report that there were only five attacks against members of Congress between 1949 and 1996. (Presumably this includes the 1954 incident in which a group of Puerto Rican nationalists shot five congressmen from the House gallery, all of whom lived.)

    I wonder if this includes the mugging of Sen. John Stennis (D-Miss.) in 1973, when he got perforated by two slugs from a "youth" who presumably was just trying to rob him (but who was prosecuted under one of the same federal statutes (the one about assault on a Member of Congress) that Loughner has been charged under).

  • ||

    also note that this doesn't necessarily include inchoate stuff. iow, these were attacks. many, if not most, planned attacks are intercepted.

  • Daniel||

    I'm not worried. I'm sure there's still a way to blame my political opponents.

  • Janet Napolitano||

    “Almost all subjects had histories of grievances and resentments”

    Ah, HAA!!

  • ||

    I'm wondering if there is a member of the human species over age 2 without a "history of grievances and resentments."

    Hmmm....on second thought, reviewing the behaviour of my 2-year-old, scratch that lower age limit.

  • ||

    Legal pedant alert:

    The incident you refer to was an act of war.

  • ||

    Pff. Not worth retyping after the HTML fail.

  • ||

    It BLOWS MY MIND that for a supposed smart and compassionate bunch who are loyal to the rule of law, how liberals can be so utterly intellectually and morally bankrupted and depraved in their prevailing belief and excuses for this unfortunate tragedy.

    From Krugman to Huffington and that majestic piece of stupdity in the NYT op-ed with Kanjorski, some of the most brain dead, pathetic, hypocritical, hyper, senseless and thoughtless opinions have been coming from the left.

    You can't possibly tell me rhetoric=Palin=Loughner has ANY merit on any level. It's slanderous, without legal merit and downright embarrassing.

    It's like they tune out and show no ability in critically assessing something that goes beyond politics.

    This TIME they really pissed me off with their ignorant, self-serving and irresponsible bull shit.

  • Tony||

    Then there are those of us who are absolutely sickened by the thought that Palin is being made a victim of this incident in any way.

  • sevo||

    Brain-dead strawman warning!
    "Then there are those of us who are absolutely sickened by the thought that Palin is being made a victim of this incident in any way."
    But, hey, it's Tony, so it's expected.

  • Tony||

    What strawman? The entire rightwing idiotsphere thinks the "attacks" on poor Sarah Palin is the most important aspect of this crisis.

  • JohnD||

    No Tony, the right thinks it is despicable that the left sees this as an excuse to score political points. Of course you are too dense to get that.

  • Tony||

    It's always the time to put politics aside when asshole conservatives are the ones with egg on their faces.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Will asshole liberals ever put politics aside?

  • CHONY||

    Tony sad. Tony narrative come crashing down. Tony want blame conservative, but stupid people not buying it.

    TONY SMASH! nyyuuuuurgh

  • ||

    Wonder Twin Powers, activate!!

    Form of, scare quotes!

    Shape of, an asshole!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I have no respect for Palin, but she did not cause NutSandwichGuy to go on that Tucson shooting spree. In light of that, I don't fault her for being defensive.

  • ||

    As has been the case for most of the last three years or so, the one and only thing I find easy to admire about Sarah Palin is the way she constantly riles up the people I most despise.

    I personally hope she never re-enters politics as a contender for high office, but spends the rest of her life threatening to do so, just because of the way her time in the spotlight continues to prematurely age the HuffPo/Kos/NYT crowd.

  • sevo||

    "As has been the case for most of the last three years or so, the one and only thing I find easy to admire about Sarah Palin is the way she constantly riles up the people I most despise."

    My theory is that the male (and some female) left is buggy about her the way a teen guy is buggy over, oh, Paris Hilton. And they can't stop obsessing, and they have the ink, so she's assured years of coverage.
    Look at it this way; compare her to that hag Pelosi. Which mental image would you prefer?

  • Bucky||

    ^^^^

  • Tony||

    I promise I am not obsessed with Sarah Palin and if I were, it wouldn't be because of her boobies.

    Nancy Pelosi is the first woman speaker of the house, one of the most successful speakers in history. Sarah Palin is a moron beauty queen propelled to stardom by a senile idiot. It's sexist cretins like you who descend into babbon-like hooting over woman politicians, not liberals.

  • JohnD||

    Keep drinking that Kool-Aid. Fool.

  • ||

    You funny. You make me laffy long time!!!

  • James Carville||

    Yeah, I'd pick Pelosi over Palin anyday!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Ahh, the old "if you criticize The First Female House Speaker, you're a sexist cretin" theory.

    Fuck, if I Had a dime for every time some liberafuck told me that, I'd have a shitload of dimes.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Oh, and fuck Palin, Tony. Just for the record, I'd sooner vote for a pile of ferret vomit.

  • seguin||

    So you voted for Waxman?

  • Tony||

    It's not the criticism that's sexist, it's the use of the term "hag" and the irrelevant daydreaming about which woman politician would be more fun to have sex with. Criticism of Pelosi's looks has been standard practice on the Right, because it substitutes for actual thinking.

    My criticism of Palin has nothing to do with her sex or her looks. It has to do with her comparing herself to Jews in the holocaust over the Tucson incident. She should really just shut her stupid face.

  • To be fair:||

    Criticism of Palin OR Pelosi should be equal, then. Right, Tony? Because they're both women, y'see.

  • ||

    Pelosi rode a majority into the ground with pure party-line votes. Nancy Pelosi was ineffective as opposition, along with Daschle and Reid in the Senate. Republicans got everything they wanted, half the votes were bipartisan even, with much slimmer majorities 2002-2006. Compared to Republican obstructionism, Nancy and Harry's roles in equivalent political positions is laughable. They walked on.

    And something else about Pelosi. Born as the Mayor's Kid, then a frickin millionaire's housewife for decades, then gets into politics once the kids flew the coop. Silver-spooner if there ever was one. Note to Dems: If you want to be populist, get someone who doesn't live in a fucking vineyard in Sonoma looking over all those funny brown people picking the grapes...it looks bad.

  • To be fair:||

    "those funny brown non-union people picking the grapes"

  • ||

    Nancy Pelosi is the first woman speaker of the house, one of the most successful speakers in history.

    Haven't got over your secret urge to do mom yet, huh?

  • ||

    I'm with Tara. It's hilarious to watch them lose their minds over her. They have blogs dedicated to smearing and "watching" her.

    Ugh.

    Yeah, they're soooo for freedom. They will relentlessly attack someone they loathe.

  • ||

    Another admirable Palin asset: she has made a shit load of cash since ditching her job in AK. I think she will just stay a gadfly-her pet candidates got trounced in November.

  • ||

    I'm not doing it, and no one with half a brain would either. But that's besides the point. Why is the left obsessed with her? It's abnormal. I think they're over estimating her influence. She's a populist not unlike past ones we've seen in American history.

  • JohnD||

    The left's obsession with her is precisely what is creating and amplifying her influence.

  • ||

    It's funny how blind the Left are to the fact that the only power Palin has over the Left is the power they allow her to have. She has become their self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Tony||

    Are you admitting you have half a brain?

  • JoshINHB||

    It BLOWS MY MIND that for a supposed smart and compassionate bunch who are loyal to the rule of law, how liberals can be so utterly intellectually and morally bankrupted and depraved in their prevailing belief and excuses for this unfortunate tragedy.

    FIFY

  • ||

    Thanks Josh. What was I thinking?

  • guy in the back row||

    Fein and Vossekuil report that there were only five attacks against members of Congress between 1949 and 1996. (Presumably this includes the 1954 incident in which a group of Puerto Rican nationalists shot five congressmen from the House gallery, all of whom lived.) The attack on Giffords increases the number of incidents to six. In the modern era, only two members of Congress have been assassinated, Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.) when he was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, and Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.) in 1978 when he was visiting the Jonestown religious cult in Guyana. Fein and Vossekuil report that there were only four attacks against federal judges between 1949 and 1996. Only one federal judge was killed between 1789 and 1979, while three were killed between 1979 and 1989. Now the murder of Judge John Roll during the Tucson massacre must be added to the list. The attack on Giffords increases the number of incidents to six.

    I'm not an editor or an English major, but to me this paragraph sounds awkward.

  • Bucky||

    GRAMMAR!
    ...could this be the new Somalia?

  • seguin||

    He's trading in his own currency, listener.

  • MattXIV||

    In this particular case, mental illness does appear to have been the primary driver of his behavior.

    Loughner seems to have very likely have been schizophrenic based on the interviews with people who knew him. He exhibited thought disorder, inappropriate affect, delusions of external control of thoughts, derealization, catatonic excitement, social withdrawl as the symptoms progressed, and onset of symptoms in late adolescence. Caution should be taken in applying psychiatric diagnoses to 3rd hand descriptions of behavior, but the descriptions of his personality are almost recitations of the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia.

    Given that the genesis of his grudge against Giffords appears to be that she didn't provide a satisfactory answer to an incoherent question related to his fixation on government and language that was central to his delusions and his symptoms steadily worsened in the run up to the shooting, he does appear to be a rarity among both assassins and the mentally ill, killing for reasons that are clearly rooted in a recognizable mental disorder.

  • jacob||

    was he schizophrenic or did he have schizoid personality disorder?

    Huge difference

  • cynical||

    Based on the random excerpts of his writings and the Mother Jones interview with his friend, it sounds a lot more like paranoid schizophrenia -- word salad, paranoid delusions, the works.

  • ||

    No one ever gives satisfactory answers to my incoherent questions.

  • ||

    Don't overlook the probability of comorbidity. Obviously he has substantial antisocial tendencies -- and these would no doubt have fed his paranoid delusion.

    Indeed, for the antisocial the world really is out to get him, to a nontrivial degree.

  • pete||

    Ron,
    I clicked on the link to the PDF Comprehensive Study but all I got was a google page.

  • no one||

    cares

  • pete||

    It was a simple request to the author who wrote the piece, asshole.

  • Rick||

    Of the 83 attackers analyzed, 71 were male, 63 were white, 41 had never married, 47 had no children, about half had some college education, and about half were unemployed at the time of their attacks. “Almost all subjects had histories of grievances and resentments,” note Fein and Vossekuil.

    Well, that narrows it down.

    Put another way... 20 weren't white, 42 were or had been married, 36 had children, about half had no college education, and about half were employed at the time of the attack.

    Thanks for nothing Ron.

  • Tman||

    I was wondering if I was alone in reading the statistics that way.

    So basically Would-Be Assassin Profile is most of America?

    This also further reinforces my view that a lot psychology is well, full of shit.

  • stuartl||

    The start of the second paragraph:

    “There is no profile of an American assassin,”

  • Rick||

    There is no profile of an American assassin... But the Tucson attacker, Jared Loughner, is pretty typical.

    You were saying?

  • ||

    Tell that to the BAU unit on Criminal Minds!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Each of those things describes about one fourth to one half of the people I know.

  • ||

    Rick & Tman: Yep. Loughner is pretty typical.

  • Rick||

    How can you possible say that Ron? Some ex-Secret Service guy choose to look at the data from that particular viewpoint and that closes the matter, "the science" is in?

    OK... so the "libertarian" Reason magazine is repeating data published by a ex-Federal agent and using it as irrefutable proof of something "typical". Interesting.

    About the only thing those numbers show is that most assassins are white males and "have a grievance". That describes "about half" the male population of Seattle, Portland, Boise, Salt Lake City, Reno, Dallas, Houston... really Ron, you're better than this.

  • Tman||

    Typical of what, Ron?

  • ||

    The guy went to the same synagogue as the Congresswoman, so he knew her.

    One of his classmates had blogged several times that she was afraid of the guy, that she would sit by the door so she could escape, if he tried a mass shooting.

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  • ||

    I see two links to google. Did you mean http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ntac_jfs.pdf ?

  • ||

    Can we please stop with the Oswald shot Kennedy bullshit?

    That stuff may wash at the NY Times, but we're adults here.

  • Rob Lowe||

    Who ever did it, I'm sure they had their reasons.

  • Tony inner voice reminder:||

    "Liberals simply don't like being lectured at"... they simply prefer to do the lecturing.

  • ||

    Rare is the crazy like this, who can organize and plot such a thing but is still stupid enough to do it. I think what saves us from a great deal of terrorism and mayhem is the amount of stupid it takes to want that is kind of a filter on capacities to carry it out. Like suicide bombers...it takes a dumbass to think running into Micky D's and lighting yourself up is somehow productive. No matter you're background.

    But the one connecting thread I see with these types of characters - McVeigh, Atta, this chump - they all had/have big-time Woman Problems. Not bad breakups, or custody fights, nothing like that. No, they couldn't even get to that point...they were jealous of people with those problems for it suggested they had at least loved and lost whereas these bums just lost. Struck-out, didn't even make third base.

    The anecdotes are interesting for these characters. When McVeigh actually went on his Journey of Doom leading to OKC, it was only after a girl he'd been infatuated with at a Kinko's turned him down one final time. Muhammad Atta's luggage was ironically lost by American Airlines on 9/11, enabling examination of his will. Very special instructions were in his will; about scrubbing his balls extra-clean in the Muslim funerary rituals, keeping those dirty, dirty bitches - even his own mother - from his grave. I am betting Mr. Atta died a virgin, or with but a pittance of sexual experience (and no emotional romantic experience) from some random hooker encounters that made him feel so dirty-dirty. It is why these people are dangerous...because they are rational people slowly crushed down by these kinds of things, and their delicate psychosis finally breaks under all that pressure. Once that state is achieved, whatever ideology comes along to animate such psychosis to violence is almost irrelevant.

    Now this guy. As more of his postings come out, it seems there was quite a misogynistic streak in him. Stuff like not being able to get a date, those bad girls keeping him down...that kinda bizarro crap. I'll go out on a limb here and wager that one of the animating things for Weirdo to do this was Gifford being not just a politician, but an attractive woman with power who didn't acknowledge him when he attempted to interact with her.

  • ||

    Of the 83 attackers analyzed, 71 were male, 63 were white, 41 had never married, 47 had no children, about half had some college education, and about half were unemployed at the time of their attacks. “Almost all subjects had histories of grievances and resentments,”

    Other than the male and the white part, the rest is statistically irrelevant. So I guess I fit the profile.

  • ReConUSMC||

    What are you smoking ?
    Of the 17,271 Murders in America in 2009 .
    68.9 % (12.9 % of the polulation )were Black Murders with 92.2 % Black on Black Murders .
    Philly ,Detroit and Chicago last year had more Getto murders than were killed in Iraq .

  • ReConUSMC||

    The VA Tech 31 murdered were by a South Korean , The 23 at the Army base were Murdered by a Muslim . As were Bobby Kennedy and the 3,100 9/11 Radical Moslems .
    There have been over 37,700 Moslem suicide Bombing and murders since 1971-80 High Jacking and 21 at German Olympics by Black Sept. including America , Turkey , France , England m Germany . Russia , Asia in 4 countries ... Israel , Iraq , Egypt , Pakistan , Iraq and Afghanistan .
    Spain rail Bombing ...321 died were Moslem inspired ... England 19 Bombing ... Moselms .
    Not to mention 37 Moslems outed high Jacking in 6 countries intended for America .
    6 here were by blacks who had converted to Molsem while in Prison all stopped .

  • ||

    Right on zeitgeist, I have a feeling you will be proven more right as time goes on.
    Tony, I get that you hate that SP is a victim here, but it is ENTIRELY your team's fault. It must really drive you nuts that all the clowns you respect so much look like automatons who horrendously fail the Turing test.
    Well I'm off to see what sort of mental gymnastics Andrew Sullivan is performing.

  • ReConUSMC||

    The truth is most shooters of Innocent Victims are Cowards .
    We use to laugh at Stone Bay NC where ReCon Marines are housed( Barracked ) with our Hugh load of weapons and Bomb Bomb toys .
    Never in Marine History has a deranged Bad Butt broke into ""our house " and Shot anyone !
    I wonder why ? Yea right !

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