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The devil got to him.
January 12, 2012 11:44 AM   Subscribe

A year after Jared Loughner's shooting of 20 people, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, The Exiled Online has published transcripts of an interview with some of his closest friends. Their story was recorded the week of the shootings and describes the enviornment that nurtured Loughner's mania.

This piece is a part of a category of eXiled reporting based on Mark Ames's Going Postal premise: Reaganomics begat a new era of desparation, and people with mental instabilities have been the first to attempt thier own abortive rebellions. The idea was explored by a 2009 BBC documentary of the same name.
posted by clarknova (32 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wait, blaming Reganomics? Maybe Nancy for the drug war. The truthiness of the interviews seems questionable, but the guys say he went over the deep end after taking way, way, way to many drugs.
posted by k5.user at 11:54 AM on January 12, 2012


The state of mental health care in our country is abysmal. There has to be a better way to provide accessible care to ill people before they wind up like Jared Loughner and it is too late. I don't think blaming a president of thirty years ago is the way to do it.

Maybe Rep. Giffords can use her status to lobby for more humane care of the mentally ill; start pushing us along in the right direction.
posted by Renoroc at 11:55 AM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Reaganomics begat a new era of desparation, and people with mental instabilities have been the first to attempt thier own abortive rebellions.

I'm not really comfortable with hijacking the tragic actions of the mentally ill to fit in with a political agenda in this way. If you want to say that Reagan gutted the mental health system, which led to an increase in these sorts of incidents, go ahead, I'm willing to buy that argument, but calling them "abortive rebellion" is too much.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:59 AM on January 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Reaganomics is not an umbrella for all of Reagan's policies. Closing state mental hospitals started under Governor Reagan and continued under President Reagen. I don't think that was the goal of Reaganomics, but did play into cutting government spending.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:01 PM on January 12, 2012


The state of mental health care in our country is abysmal.

This is true, but has it ever been wonderful? Would locking up everyone again be the answer?
posted by Melismata at 12:03 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I distinctly remembering the same reports happening in the UK when those nice tories introduced 'care in the community'. Suddenly lots of random attacks, people being shoved in front of tube trains, and all kinds of non-gun based shenanigans erupted.

Clarknova, what was the name of the documentary? I'd like to see it.
posted by davemee at 12:03 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I'm not sure if these were "some of his closest friends," or just kids who partied with him at some point, and were willing to chat for smokes and beer.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:03 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time believing the whole Reaganomics slant. I think it has a lot more to do with our tabloid media and the instant access to it. These days when some mentally unbalanced soul opens fire on a shopping mall full of people, it will be on every cable news network, live, if he survives long enough for the local news truck to arrive.

These things have happened before: how much did Reaganomics have to do with Charles Whitman? Or the Bath School "Disaster"?

I also do not believe that the attack on Gifford had much of anything to do with the Tea Party or far right politics. Loughner is mentally ill, the radio show he was listening to was probably Coast to Coast AM, not Glenn Beck. I have not read extensively on this but I think there was reason to believe that Giffords was targeted because her husband was an astronaut and Loughner believed that NASA was involved in some kind of mass cover-up.
posted by smoothvirus at 12:05 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is true, but has it ever been wonderful? Would locking up everyone again be the answer?


Adequately funding the community-based system that exists would be one answer.
posted by liketitanic at 12:06 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ugh, 9 mm, not .9 mm.
posted by Mercaptan at 12:11 PM on January 12, 2012


I have a hard time believing the whole Reaganomics slant. I think it has a lot more to do with our tabloid media and the instant access to it.

It's not like Rupert Murdoch has a dog in that fight anyway... the tabloids are totally nonpolitical.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:14 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


.9 mm

heh. smallest I could find is 2mm, pin fire guns.
posted by stbalbach at 12:21 PM on January 12, 2012


This is true, but has it ever been wonderful? Would locking up everyone again be the answer?

Two fallacies in two sentences. Not bad.
posted by DU at 12:23 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Would locking up everyone again be the answer?

Speaking as one who keeps having to deal with all the mentally ill people who've been driven into the subway system by the cold (including witnessing a fight and being personally assaulted by a bottle wielding woman who was also spitting on and shoving passengers) yes, I want them somewhere safe and warm, where they can be comfortably entertained with stimulating media, crafts, or if possible, meaningful work.

Since this is freeponyland, I also want a good ratio of orderlies and psychiatric nurses to patients, and a tiered system allowing those who are qualified to have enough social worker attention to live (relatively) independently or in half way houses.
posted by Phalene at 12:25 PM on January 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


The political aspect of the tabloid media is not relevant in this respect - what is relevant is that technology has advanced to a point that any news story, anywhere, can go national/international at any time and wind up on every tv set in the US. Also, since anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection can be a "news reporter" the mainstream media has to go "tabloid" in order to keep the viewers coming.

Case in point, back in the late 1970's in my hometown, a teenage kid shotgunned his parents and three of his brothers to death in the middle of the night (ala the DeFeo murders). It got a brief mention on the CBS evening news and that was it. It happened in a rural area near a small town - the surviving family members asked the local press to stay off the story and they did, the case was quietly hushed up in the press and is today mostly forgotten. Had that same case happened today it would have been on Nancy Grace every single night.
posted by smoothvirus at 12:27 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Reaganomics angle doesn't make a lot of sense in this case because I don't see any evidence he was on the street or otherwise being denied mental healthcare. He was delusional and it's not surprising politics caught his deranged mind, but in a different climate it seems pretty likely he would have found some other focus for his delusions like the Norway shooter.
posted by PJLandis at 12:29 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would locking up everyone again be the answer?

We're still locking them up, it's just that we're locking them up for trespassing or disorderly conduct or drug possession. I doubt it even saves that much money.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:30 PM on January 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Wow, the Exiled writers included in two FPP's today. Without even being deleted!
posted by telstar at 12:38 PM on January 12, 2012


Could we please not add to the stigmata of mental illness? From the NIMH report:

People with SMI are up to three times more likely to be violent and when associated with substance abuse disorders, the risk may increase much further.i But, mental illness contributes very little to the overall rate of violence in the community. Most people with SMI are not violent, and most violent acts are not committed by people with SMI. In fact, people with SMI are actually at higher risk of being victims of violence than perpetrators. Teplin et al found that those with SMI are 11 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.

Since my son has schizophrenia, I have come to know and love a lot of people who suffer from severe mental illnesses. It saddens me to see the fear exhibited by the general public toward them.
posted by francesca too at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2012 [11 favorites]



Since this is freeponyland, I also want a good ratio of orderlies and psychiatric nurses to patients, and a tiered system allowing those who are qualified to have enough social worker attention to live (relatively) independently or in half way houses.


Please keep in mind that "the mental health system" also includes services for people who live independently--affordable and accessible therapeutic and psychiatric care, including therapy groups; affordable and accessible medications; affordable and accessible alternative therapies and treatments, including stuff like yoga and acupuncture; and a more secure safety net for people who have those services but would not be able to live independently and successfully without them. It's not just hospitals, and mentally-ill people are not just slobbering bottle-throwers.
posted by liketitanic at 12:57 PM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


After having read what I could about Loughner around the time of the shooting, it is not at all clear that his behaviour would constitute the requirement that he presented a clear 'danger to himself or others', the only criterion in democratic countries which would allow for him being locked up against his will. If he could have been locked up then so could any number of people.

It is tough to admit, but I don't see anything that could have been done directly to prevent this horrible event. Not that improving the mental health system is a bad thing.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:10 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see anything that could have been done directly to prevent this horrible event.

Better community-based mental health care, including substance abuse counseling, may have helped Jared Loughner. A ban on extended magazines may have helped some of his victims. Such a ban was allowed to expire under Pres. George W. Bush.
posted by Mister_A at 1:19 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could we please not add to the stigmata of mental illness?

FATHER! INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY PROZAC!
posted by Ryvar at 1:24 PM on January 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I’m not sure what the trashing of Tucson was about at the beginning of the article, there was really nothing to back that up except the writer apparently doesn’t like Tucson and wanted you to know.
posted by bongo_x at 1:27 PM on January 12, 2012


I have a hard time believing the whole Reaganomics slant.

The argument goes like this: The War on Drugs, cutbacks social services, and 'trickle down' were all part of a unified economic strategy to reign in the power of labor, i.e. working class people. Hostile work environments where disgruntled employees shoot their bosses are just as much a by-product of Reaganomics as drug-riddled border towns, where people with schizophrenic tendencies can go off the deep end.

Don't blame the drugs, maaaan.

Clarknova, what was the name of the documentary? I'd like to see it

"Going Postal". It's right there in the last linked article.
posted by clarknova at 2:40 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What people are missing about the Reaganomics connection is that, in Ames' view, that's when the economy headed into the toilet. Workers became so much "waste" that corporate reorganization could get rid of and pretend it was more efficient; pension plans became stores of capital to be looted; the financial sector became the most important part of the economy... there's more, you get the idea. All this created a great deal of helpless rage in people that may be expressed in violence or channeled into wacky politics.

And let me echo that, I, too, was pleased to see Exiled finally on the blue after having an FPP deleted a while back. Exiled is "Best of the Web" material -- far more so than, say, Gawker which gets an awful lot of exposure here.
posted by CCBC at 2:41 PM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that his 'friends' mention talk radio as a source of information. Talk about voices in your head...
posted by aychedee at 3:57 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


clarknova, you might want to fix the spelling of Reagan in your tags.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:15 PM on January 12, 2012


Could we please not add to the stigmata of mental illness

I think you mean "stigma", and I also feel Metafilter does a very good job of NOT adding to this, by reasonably discussing these issues. This thread is a case in point.
posted by misha at 4:32 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think the Reagan connection is as tenuous as a lot of you do. As governor of California Reagan signed the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act which was a landmark in patients' rights as it made it much more difficult to involuntarily commit someone to a psychiatric facility (good) but he used this as an excuse to slash the budget of mental health facilities (bad) with the reasoning being that people needing help would seek it in "community health programs" which were not given any additional funding or support to deal with the influx of new people. The end result was a lot more homeless people with mental issues with fewer resources that were spread very thin, and little anyone could legally do about a would-be Loughner (or a Hinckley) until that person committed a crime. In '75 the rest of the nation basically followed this model when the Supreme Court found in O'Connor v. Donaldson that "a state cannot constitutionally confine... a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves" and by the mid 80s a lot of mental institutions were shuttered and their former residents out on the streets or living with families ill-equipped to deal with their needs.
posted by Challahtronix at 5:42 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "transcript" is a bit Go ask Alice for me. It's clearly not a transcript. Given that the author is presenting it as a "raw transcript" there's a non-zero chance that most, if not all, of the article was pulled directly from his arse.
posted by teppic at 7:59 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where the hell did the author get the idea that Tucson has a big skinhead scene? In the last 27 years the only skons I have met in Tucson are the anti-racist kind.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:26 AM on January 13, 2012


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