The Shootings in Arizona: A Reading List

Some worthwhile reading on the Tucson murders:

* Nick Baumann has scored an interview with a longtime friend of the Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner. It's the most complete account I've seen of the killer's personality and worldview -- which, as you probably won't be surprised to hear, still shows no sign of having been formed by the "violent political rhetoric" the usual suspects have been talking about.

* Jack Shafer defends that rhetoric. Yes, Matt and Nick have already linked to this. But you really ought to read it.

* The "inflammatory speech" controversy is one of those debates where a lot of the left and the right have switched places. Check out this hysteria-mongering article from 2006, and meditate on how many of its arguments have migrated leftwards.

* Meanwhile, Vaughan Bell points out that "psychiatric diagnoses tell us next to nothing about someone's propensity or motive for violence." As the efforts to blame the shootings on speech grow more ridiculous, more people will offer the alternative explanation that Loughner is simply crazy. And he sure sounds crazy to me. But you shouldn't treat "crazy" as an all-purpose, black-box account of the crime.

* Last, but ultimately most important: profiles of the people Loughner killed.

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  • Abdul||

    What I'd really like to read is a profile of the woman who snatched his magazine away and the two men who tackled him?

    This story has 3 authentic heroes, and we've heard a lot more about Sarah Palin then any of them.

  • ||

    But you can't raise money for your pathetic internet troll land by talking about what actually happened.

    http://biggovernment.com/wthus.....undraiser/

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Abdul,

    I saw an interview this morning on FNC with one of the men that tackled the perp. He's a concealed gun carrier, and along with the other man and the woman, probably saved a few lives.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    I'm not trying to be snarky here, but did he mention why he didn't shoot the crazy guy?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    He might not have had a gun with him. Or didn't have time to get it out and get a clear line of fire or sight picture.

    Or just determined that under the circumstances (big crowd; lots of people around) it would just be quicker and safer to tackle the guy than try to engage him in a gun battle.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Follow - looks like he was indeed packing concealed and ran towards the sound of the shooting. He never drew his weapon, though - when he got there, two other people were taking the guy down, and he jumped in to assist keeping him down.

  • robc||

    Probably because tackling was easier.

    In a crowd, shooting would be the stupid and dangerous thing to do.

  • Jeffersonian||

    My bet: He knew he was going to an event where being armed would cause gasps of fear, therefore he left the hogleg at home.

  • ||

    Georgia's concealed carry doesn't allow carrying to political rallies, for what it's worth.

    CB

  • ||

    Shafer has also interviewed Loughner's philosophy professor:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2280653/

  • Jesse Walker||

    That's Beam, not Shafer. But yes, the article is worth a read.

  • ||

    Ah, apologies. Got it from Shafer's twitter stream and forgot to check the byline.

  • Mo||

    This has turned out to be one of the rare cases when everyone that knew the perpetrator didn't say, "I could never see this coming, he always seems like such a nice, if a little bit odd, young man". Everyone's reaction has been, "Yo, this cat is straight up crazy."

  • CatoTheElder||

    In 1980 and 1981, before and after Ronald Reagan was elected, he was viciously reviled in the press. Polite liberals would call him an “amiable dunce” or a advocate of “voodoo economics”, but more often was demonized as “a dangerous rightwing conservative” and “a war monger”, a hater of minorities, women, and the poor.

    On March 30, 1981, a lunatic named John Hinckley, Jr. shot President Reagan in an assassination attempt.

    I don’t recall any Republicans or conservatives blaming the assassination on the exercise of the free speech right to criticize political opponents, or calling out the leftwing media to tone down their rhetoric. Liberals, however, used the assassination attempt as a vehicle for gun control, even naming their centerpiece legislation the "Brady Bill" after one of Hinckley's victims.

    It is indeed ironic that Representative Giffords read the 1st Amendment on Thursday, the very amendment that guarantees the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. And it is a sad commentary on the state of American politics that conservatives support free speech and free press freedoms more than liberals.

    I suppose this is a variant of "never let a crisis go to waste", as in never let a tragedy go to waste if you can smear your opposition with blood libel.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Wait till you see Krugman's take.

    The man seriously needs to get back on his meds.

  • Mike in PA||

    Just when I thought Krugman couldn't get "stupider".

    At least he admits he's been salivating at the prospects of something like this happening. Sure, it doesn't exactly fit in like he would have wanted, but it's close enough. He probably just had to tweak the article that he's had written since 2008.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Krugman's a moral, as well as physical, pygmy.

  • JB||

    Seriously. The Left's reaction to this IS actually likely to spur more violence.

    People are pissed and now you won't even let them vent? What morons.

  • Jerry||

    The Motherjones article mentions Loughner's mother is Jewish; so Jared must be self-hating as well, next to being a extreme right-winger who reads American Renaissance.

  • Mo||

    Well, considering he listed Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books, it wouldn't be a stretch.

  • ||

    Yeah, you would almost think he as pyschotic or something.

  • ||

    Check out Jonah Goldberg's take on the Mein Kampf citation. I think he's probably right.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....h-goldberg

  • ||

    Check out Jonah Goldberg's take on the Mein Kampf citation. I think he's probably right.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....h-goldberg

  • Mike in PA||

    (posted below as well)

    Ok, I looked at this guy's reading list and damned if I haven't read nearly every book on it. (Never read Siddharta and never heard of the Phantom Toll Booth)

    Does this mean I have to go off and start shooting people? I mean I just read most of these to sate my curiosity...

    I don't think you can glean too much from his reading list because, like Jonah Goldberg said, I also don't think this kid spent too much time reading and if he did, I think he spent less time thinking rationally.

    The right wants to paint him as a lefty, the left wants to paint him as a Palin devotee. The truth is that this guy probably spent more time listening to the voices in his head than to any pundit.

  • Mo||

    Yeah. Not sure you can pin a coherent political ideology on a guy that lists Rand and Marx on their favorite books list.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I'm just surprised that Quotations from Chairman Mao failed to make the cut.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    The Phantom Tollbooth is a really good book. It contains a lot of very clever wordplay and having read about Loughner's obsession with grammar and the meaning of words I can definitely see why he would list it as a favorite.

  • Almanian||

    Jesse, thanks. You're right about the Shafer article - I'd bypassed it before, but read it as you suggested - very good. Posted a link to it myself.

    Thanks again!

  • Almanian||

    Jesse, thanks. You're right about the Shafer article - I'd bypassed it before, but read it as you suggested - very good. Posted a link to it myself.

    Thanks again!

  • Mike in PA||

    Yeah, great article! But did you read the comments? People are really dumb.

  • Almanian||

    People are really dumb.

    I had some of the dumb this morning and posted twice, for example.

  • Cyto||

    One of the more laughable connections from the pundit-sphere was the suggestion that pot made him do it. The Mother Jones interview with the shooter's friend suggests exactly the opposite. He says that the shooter quit drinking and smoking, and that his theories became much worse after that.

    Makes sense to me - many mentally ill people self-medicate with alcohol or pot or other substances. Kinda the opposite conclusion from the "pot makes you crazy" crowd, but probably more truth to it...

  • Mo||

    Any call to cool "inflammatory" speech is a call to police all speech, and I can't think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power. As Jonathan Rauch wrote brilliantly in Harper's in 1995, "The vocabulary of hate is potentially as rich as your dictionary, and all you do by banning language used by cretins is to let them decide what the rest of us may say." Rauch added, "Trap the racists and anti-Semites, and you lay a trap for me too. Hunt for them with eradication in your mind, and you have brought dissent itself within your sights."

    I don't buy this. Saying people shouldn't do X is not the same as saying the government should force people to not do X. I think Bill O'Reilly should STFU when discussing the nature of tides, but I would oppose any government intervention preventing him from his idiotic musings.

  • ||

    To say someone is stupid and needs to shut up is one thing. To say they are responsible for a murder is something else. It is the blood libel that is the problem.

  • Mo||

    But Shafer said, "Any call to cool 'inflammatory' speech," [emphasis added] not just the people saying the people saying that the inflammatory rhetoric is responsible for the murder. Last I checked, the No Labels folks aren't asking for government intervention. By Shafer's own logic, he is calling for the government to police all speech because he doesn't want people to say cool inflammatory speech.

    Brady's idiotic cross-hairs bill is an example of government intervention into speech, but I wouldn't equate that to the No Labels people saying chill out.

  • Jesse Walker||

    He also said "government, politics, business, or the press," so he's not just talking about state censorship. But you're right, the phrase "any call" is too broad.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I heard a soundbite from some shitstain on the radio saying that "unquestionably" all the violent and heated rhetoric was coming from the right. I don't know who this fucking idiot is, but he clearly has an extremely short memory and very narrow world view.

    Michelle Malkin, who yes, is a rabid right-winger (but pretty easy on the eyes) has compiled a whole bunch of specific and sometimes graphic examples of violent and hateful rhetoric from the left against the right and conservatives - including a guy pictured pointing a hunting rifle at the head of a life-size picture of Sarah Palin, standing next to her daughter.

    I'm sure MSNBC, CNN, CBS and all the others will thoroughly highlight these in addition to blaming Fox News, Glenn Buck, Rush Limbaugh, etc.

  • FTFY||

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Thanks. I think I forgot a close quote.

  • -||

    One thing is certain: MSNBC's Matthews, Schultz, Olbermann and Maddow shows will be in full-retard mode tonight.

  • Tonight?||

    n/t

  • -||

    Fuller retard mode?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    This morning, today, tonight, tomorrow, yesterday - y'know. IOW, tonight will be no different, except maybe just a bit moreso than usual.

  • ||

    My bet: He knew he was going to an event where being armed would cause gasps of fear, therefore he left the hogleg at home.

    This one.

  • ||

    I read an article in one of the Arizona papers which quoted his math teacher and a fellow student as saying the always feared he would come to class with a gun.

    Even with the benefit of crystal clear hindsight, I couldn't help thinking they were both paranoid idiots.

  • ||

    People kill people with guns in this country because they can.

  • Brett L||

    Exactly! In The Netherlands they hack them up with knives like that director.

  • ||

    Really?

    I can kill people (quite a lot of them, if I really put my back into it) with my guns , but I don't.

  • jtuf||

    Loughner is an immoral, unjust murderer, but I wouldn't call him crazy. Instead of seeing a psychiatrist, he bought a gun. Given how psychiatric survivors are denied due process in the USA, that is a rational choice. Killing innocent people with the gun was an irrational action, but skipping the shrink sessions makes sense.

  • Spoonman.||

    Did the Left blame Martin Luther when somebody tried to shoot the Pope?

  • jtuf||

    Nah, the left thinks it's fine to criticize the Pope. It's not like the Pope is Obama.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

  • Mike in PA||

    Ok, I looked at this guy's reading list and damned if I haven't read nearly every book on it. (Never read Siddharta and never heard of the Phantom Toll Booth)

    Does this mean I have to go off and start shooting people? I mean I just read most of these to sate my curiosity...

    I don't think you can glean too much from his reading list because, like Jonah Goldberg said, I also don't think this kid spent too much time reading and if he did, I think he spent less time thinking rationally.

    The right wants to paint him as a lefty, the left wants to paint him as a Palin devotee. The truth is that this guy probably spent more time listening to the voices in his head than to any pundit.

  • ||

    Most of the books on his reading list, including Phantom Tollbooth, feature restless young men who are frustrated with the world around them and refuse to lower themselves to a level that would allow them to participate in normal society/culture. Talk about self-aggrandizement.

    It's normal to feel this way from time to time. He allowed the feelings to consume him to the point of irrational behavior. So, perhaps he did read or was passingly familiar with the content of the books listed, but probably did not spend any time thinking about them rationally, or is convinced that the books have some secret, special message that is only revealed to him.

  • johnl||

    The Nick Baumann article at Mother Jones is great. But now I worry that Mars Volta will be blamed.

  • ABC News||

    "Congresswoman Gabby Giffords liked to joke that her district includes Tombstone and the OK Corral. Until yesterday morning, most people here would have said that rogue gunslingers were part of the distant past. On election night in November, 18 of the politicians in the crosshairs of Sarah Palin's political action committee lost, but not Gabby Giffords.

    In 2009 after one of her town hall meetings on health care reform, they found a gun someone had left behind. Last March after Congress passed health care reform, someone shot out the glass door of her Tucson office. In the midterms when Palin's PAC put her district literally in the cross hairs, Giffords strongly objected to that imagery.”
    -David Wright

  • ||

    In 2009 after one of her town hall meetings on health care reform, they found a gun someone had left behind. Last March after Congress passed health care reform, someone shot out the glass door of her Tucson office.

    Both before the Palin Crosshairs of Doom.

    In the midterms when Palin's PAC put her district literally in the cross hairs, Giffords strongly objected to that imagery.

    Well, that moves Giffords down a couple of notches in my book.

  • SIV||

    Has Weigel wriiten anything really stupid about this? I quit checking his writings after the election.

  • T||

    Yes. Don't bother, it's asinine.

  • SFC B||

    Turns out that Loughner might have had some run-ins with the law enforcement down in Pima county, and that the Sheriff's department didn't pursue them fully because Loughner's mother works for the county.

    Blogger from Pima County

  • yonemoto||

    why has no one blamed waking life yet? In fact, there's a somewhat prophetic scene where a crazy guy in jail is going off about having killed a judge.

  • criddick||

    why has no one blamed waking life yet? In fact, there's a somewhat prophetic scene where a crazy guy in jail is going off about having killed a judge.

    Because only 5 people in all humanity could sit through the entirety of that surrealistic crap, though the rant in jail scene is the only worthwhile thing memorable about it.

  • yonemoto||

    alex jones was pretty interesting, too in that alex jones kind of way.

  • Robert||

    Jack Shafer defends that rhetoric.


    I thought that meant Mr. Loughner's rhetoric, and then I really wanted to read that! Too bad, would've been fun.

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