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Assigning blame before we have a clear picture

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More  January 10, 2011 10:13 AM

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I've refrained from posting on the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords because there is not a clear picture as to who Jared Loughner is and what his motives were. His few known postings on the internet appear to be ramblings about mind control, an obsession with grammar, and an interest in consciousness and dreaming. Interviews with friends paint a picture of a disturbed individual who lacked social skills.

The lack of a clear picture as to what drove Loughner to kill hasn't stopped people from jumping on the "blame somebody or something" bandwagon. Some are blaming marijuana while others blame inflammatory rhetoric from the likes of Sarah Palin. Then there is the "Look I'm not saying right wing rhetoric drove Loughner to kill but it could have so the right needs to dial back their rhetoric" post and the "he was influenced by this anti-semitic magazine that he didn't subscribe to" article. Others have been more measured in their assessment of the possible causes and motives of the shootings.

Jim Lindgren of The Volokh Conspiracy appears to have the most levelheaded take on what might have driven Loughner:

Again, whatever Loughner’s politics, his probable mental state and mental problems are likely to be both the proximate and the ultimate cause of his actions, not any political orientation he might have.

There is no major political movement that I know of that has grammar and lucid dreaming at its core. Until we know more about his motives and ideology, if he has any, it's hard to say what drove this guy to kill.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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