More on the Tucson Mass Killer

Jim Lindgren has a good summary from a Twitter user who, seemingly credibly, is claiming to have gone to high school with the shooter. To me all this seems to point more closely to schizophrenia:

  • Saying Jared Laughner was the gunman. Really hoping that’s not the same guy I went to HS with, really good friend. Freaking out right now!!! about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone
  • Official I went to high school & college, & was in a band w/ the gunman. I can’t even fathom this right now. about 1 hour ago via Twitter for iPhone
  • I went to high school, college, & was in a band with the gunman. This tragedy has just turned to horrific. 43 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
  • I can. That is him. 39 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
  • He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in ’07, asked her a question & he told me she was “stupid & unintelligent” 37 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
  • He was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix,The Doors, Anti-Flag. I haven’t seen him in person since ’07 in a sign language class 35 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
  • As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy. 33 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone
  • He had a lot of friends until he got alcohol poisoning in ’06, & dropped out of school. Mainly loner very philosophical. 29 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
  • More left. I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He became very reclusive. 27 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to noboa
  • I haven’t seen him since ’07. Then, he was left wing. 25 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to lakarune
  • it’s loughner just checked my year book. less than 20 seconds ago via Twitter for iPhone in reply to antderosa
  • This is a circus. Good Morning America just called me. less than 5 seconds ago via Twitter for iPhone

Marijuana use greatly increases the probability of becoming schizophrenic. Combined with the fact that he later become very reclusive, I think is more evidence that this is a case of mental illness. I don’t think his political orientation has a thing to do with anything here. The simple fact seems to be this is another case of someone with undiagnosed, untreated mental illness acting out paranoid delusions. I would not be surprised if, having no record of criminal or mental health problems, he purchased the Glock 19 legally. Our opponents are already trying to make hay out of this in a desperate attempt to become relevant.

UPDATE: More from Clayton Cramer, who has personal experience with mental illness in his family, can be found here.

45 thoughts on “More on the Tucson Mass Killer”

  1. “Marijuana use greatly increases the probability of becoming schizophrenic.”

    Really? Or is the causality the other way around?

    Anyways, the Brady crowd is only outraged because he used a gun. If he threw a few pipe bombs into the crowd we wouldn’t be hearing from them.

  2. Do you have any proof that “Marijuana use greatly increases the probability of becoming schizophrenic”, or are you just saying that for whatever’s sake? Is that like “marijuana is a gateway drug”, like wearing tennis shoes makes you more likely to be a serial killer?

  3. Uh huh. And;
    Repeatedly, studies have found that people with schizophrenia are about twice as likely to smoke pot as those who are unaffected. Conversely, data suggest that those who smoke cannabis are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as nonsmokers.

    Read more:,8599,2005559,00.html#ixzz1AVPr5lcR

    So, do psychotics smoke dope or does dope smoking cause psychosis?

    Oh, and alcohol, “street drugs” and “no cause” have also been cited as “causing” psychosis.

    The shooter was most likely mentally ill. I doubt we can put the “cause” on any external source by using the internets.

  4. As a technicality, if he was still using illegal controlled substances at the time of the purchase, he lied on the 4473, question 11E (“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana…”). If he lied on the 4473, then I don’t think I’d characterize the firearm purchase by saying: “he purchased the Glock 19 legally.”

    If he was still smoking marijuana, I think it might be more precise to say, “He perjured himself and lied in order to purchase a handgun from a federal firearms licensee. His possession of the firearm was a violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 because he was a prohibited person.” I think it is important for us to highlight that his behavior was probably already illegal. Most murders are committed by prohibited persons who are already breaking at least one law to even touch a gun — Their possession of firearms is already criminal.

  5. “So, do psychotics smoke dope or does dope smoking cause psychosis?”

    As several of the studies I cited pointed out, we can figure out the direction of causality by looking at whether there were symptoms of mental illness before they started smoking pot.

    I’m not surprised that the Time magazine is your countersource to scientific journals.

    And yes, alcohol is also a causal factor in the development of schizophrenia.

  6. Yes, and I’m not surprised that you used as your “source” for junk science.

    Do you know that this is a Soros PUPPET? Started in 1995, is a member of The Internet Mental Health Initiative, a project of the Tides Center, and a leading non-profit web community dedicated to providing high quality information, support and education to the family members, caregivers and individuals whose lives have been impacted by schizophrenia.

    “Tides Center” is a puppet of Soros Tides Foundation.

    Get better sources.

  7. Yes, I saw Clayton’s little post.

    Wait ’til he finds out that he was gay in addition to smoking dope!

  8. “Yes, and I’m not surprised that you used as your “source” for junk science. ”

    You might have read enough to see that I had a variety of different sources, from a variety of scientific journals. You picked on one source, and ignored the others.

  9. Clayton didn’t use that… I did.

    I’m generally skeptical about any claim of causation, but I think there might be something to the science here. Obviously, with new data, I could change my mind, but that being said, alcohol is potentially fraught with risk too, but we allow that to be legal. I believe the same thing about pot.

    But that doesn’t mean if you drink a fifth a day, or spend a goodly portion of your day stoned, that it’s not going to have health consequences.

  10. “But that doesn’t mean if you drink a fifth a day, or spend a goodly portion of your day stoned, that it’s not going to have health consequences.”

    And especially in the developing brain of an adolescent or young adult. Pretty much all the risk of schizophrenia is past by about 25. There are people who develop it later, but it rare. Those who think lowering the drinking age to 18 is a good idea are making a mistake.

    I understand lots of 16 year olds in California now have “medical marijuana” cards. It must be all the chemotherapy and glaucoma problems of the teenaged set that requires this.

  11. I don’t smoke dope. And there is as much “clinical evidence” for marijuana “causing” psychosis as there is for MMR vaccine “causing” autism. I’m sure if you got the funding you could “prove” that eating french fries “causes” the munchies.

    I do know that you cannot document 200,000-300,000 deaths per year from dope. But there are that many “caused” by smoking and alcohol.

    I don’t see the utility in locking people up for chosing to put things into their body. And with the budget problems in our country right now, I can think of better ways to spend the money than paying prison guards to keep people locked up. Oh, and various “studys” say drug abuse is rampant IN prisons. So what are we protecting them from?

  12. Clayton,

    Riding your hobbyhorse over dead people is just as disgusting when you do it as it is when Sarah Brady does. Put a sock in it, already.

  13. Have to agree with Tam …..

    On the larger note, I did a cursory search on the marijuana-schizophrenia debate, and most of the studies I saw showed a correlation (or increased risk) of developing schizophrenia, not causality.

    My wife, who is also a social worker and works with kids with mental illnesses, relayed to me that, as far as she knows, there have been no studies to definitively show causality.

    Causality is the mental leap that some would have you make.

  14. Gentlemen, gentlemen! Let us remember why we are here: even as I type, Christiane Amanpoue and David Gregory are blaming us and our “rhetoric” for this tragedy, when all evidence thus far shows this congresswoman was conservative and the killer was a liberal. Yet the Sunday morning hacks are trying to blame our anger and shut us up!
    Gentlemen, we have our work cut out for us.she was assaulted by a liberal pot head! Chris Matthews and Keith Obermann should on the hot seat not the radio talk hosts they are clearly blaming for this. Let us stay united fellows!

    Thank you.


  15. As an aside … it’s only natural to look for factors that may have contributed to someone making the decision to do something horrible. Folks are pointing to political rhetoric, mental illness, pot-smoking, gun laws, and any other numbers of potential factors.

    But at some point (and that point has been passed it seems) we forget that someone made a decision to do something terrible.

    If we can only pin it on politics, pot, or guns, are we no longer to hold individuals accountable for their actions? It is as if that fact has been forgotten in the mad scramble to score political points from disaster.

    And that is sad indeed.

  16. Just found out: the federal judge Roll was a strong conservative who was murdered by this liberal alcoholic pothead. Yet the liberal media are still blaming right wing “angry rhetoric” for these murders!! So are democratic representatives on Meet the Press. The murderer was a liberal!!!!!!


  17. American Spectator has a great piece on the “Colossal Failure of Journalism” regarding the left wing media’s attempt to wrongly blame this in us!


  18. Arnie,

    Who is this “us” you keep referencing? Whoever it is, please leave me out of it.

    Why is it more tasteful for you to try and make political hay out of this than it is for some jackal on Meet the Press? Can you wait for the bodies to cool before trying to turn this into a political debate?

  19. Dr, Keith Ablow was on Fox, and suggested, based on the information thus-far developed, that the suspect seemed schizophrenic. Or, as us common folk would say, didn’t have all his oars in the water.

  20. Dear Tam,
    My apologies. You are right, I should not have used the inclusive “us.” The media is wrongly blaming access to guns and those who have opposed the recent government spending policies, and particularly the Tea Party, talk radio, and sppecifically Mrs. Palin. I admit I support most of these peple’s rhetoric, and I suspect many on this blog do as well, hence the use of us. I was sloppy. Sorry.
    As to my timing, Tam, I didn’t start this, the liberals did. Juan Williams is right now supporting my claim on Fox News Sunday that the media is presently trying to make political hay out of this tragedy by lying about this murderer’s motives! He and his journalistic colleagues are saying that left unchallenged, the left will try to turn this tragedy into an Oklahoma City Bombing political issue (where right wing militias were also wrongly blamed for the pro-muslim terrorism of McVeigh). If my timing is inappropriate, blame the left. I am simply responding to their timetable.


  21. Arnie,

    As to my timing, Tam, I didn’t start this, the liberals did.

    Right. So?

    That excuse for incorrect behavior didn’t work when I was five, so why should I expect it to now?

  22. Correlation is mostly what you’d see in any clinical trial. To be able to determine causation… that’s why you use a placebo group. Then, statistically, you can determine whether the correlation seen in another group is significant enough to blame it on the drug.

    None of these studies are closely controlled clinical trials, but the correlation is interesting, and strongly suggest pot may be the independent variable.

    Granted, that doesn’t change my position on legalization.

  23. Dear Tam,
    Did you read the rest of my comment?
    “Right, so?”
    Sooooo, unless you want Americans to contour believing that conservative free speech and possession of arms is to blame for this tragedy as many still falsely blame militias for Ok City, someone needs to challenge their lies before our First and Second Amendment rights become targets of left-wing politicians with a misinformed public backing them all the way.
    Apparently, Sugarman and Brady jumped in only a few hours after the tragedy. I waited 24 hours until I saw the major Sunday news programs parrotting their propaganda as though it were established fact. I may have been already too late. Even some tea partiers were conceding that “both sides need to tone down the rhetoric.” What balderdash! Tea party rhetoric had nothing to do with this liberal’s motives. But it is “too soon” for me to speak out the truth to their lie? Since when? Did President Roosevelt wait for the appropriate mourning period before he publicly railed against the Japanese for their “sudden and deliberate attack”? NO! You get the truth out there as soon as it comes up, especially if anti-freedom sources are spreading lies about who is to blame.
    Like the minutemen of old, we must spring into action at the first sign of a threat. I am not talking about taking the first shot as you seem to think – Brady and Sugarman already did that. I am talking about responding in immediate self-defense to premeditated attacks on my innocence and freedom. Such responses DID work when I was five! If somebody attaked my innocence or character when I was a child, you can bet I responded immediately with protestations of the truth. And IT WORKED! With both my teachers and parents. To have remained silent would have reinforced the lie.
    Thank goodness Roosevelt didn’t “wait for the bodies to cool,” or we might all be speaking Japanese now.
    Thank you.


  24. Sorry about the word “contour” above. I meant to type “continuing”. My “smart” phone decided I must have meant something else.


  25. It’s likely most of those who cared about Jared Laughner were aware for some time that he was not dealing with a full deck. For the sake of families like his, and those of his innocent victims, I do wish it were more common knowledge that there is a NICS hotline you can call when family members become deranged, senile, etc, and have them put on the no buy list. It’s not a foolproof solution by any means, but it’s at least a start for people like this, who are “known to the police” for repeated crazy behavior.

  26. Some info coming out that he may have been tied to White Supremacist movements.

    Would explain his listing Mein Kampf as a favorite book of his.

  27. From the NICS website “Index brochure”:
    “In addition to local, state, tribal, and federal agencies voluntarily contributing information to the NICS Index, the NICS Section receives telephone calls from mental health institutions, psychiatrists, police departments, and family members requesting placement of individuals into the NICS Index. Frequently, these are emergency situations and require immediate attention…Customer Service
    1-877-324-NICS (6427)”

    Calling NICS is probably more helpful for stopping a grandfather with Alzheimer’s from buying a gun than in stopping a more or less functional 22-year-old, who could obviously find numerous sources for a firearm, but it is available for families who are trying to save their loved ones from themselves when their own minds betray them.

  28. N.U.G.U.N. Blog,

    Some info coming out that he may have been tied to White Supremacist movements.

    If he was schizophrenic, he was probably cyclically obsessed with lots of things. I lost a high school friend to the illness, and he was, in the space of just a couple of years, obsessed with: The Lord of the Rings, Islam, the Red Baron, Klingons, the Vietnam War, and a few other things. Each would utterly consume his interest for a month or two and then he’d be on to the next obsession.

  29. The problem with NCIS/Brady is that it is security theater, much like everything the government does now.


    Does NCIS/Brady stop people from getting firearms? F’ No! The criminals and miscreatants continue getting firearms the old fashion way …. by stealing them.

    NCIS is no different than the TSA. They strip search the elderly lady while the State Department helps the terrorist onto the plane. Here they strip search our pasts while the goverment refuses to investigate car breakins where guns are stolen.

    This is a demonstration of the failure of the Brady Law, which should be thrown on the ash heap of failed government programs ……… well, I guess it could be the start of the ash heap since we never cancel failed programs.

  30. I do wish it were more common knowledge that there is a NICS hotline you can call when family members become deranged, senile, etc, and have them put on the no buy list.

    That sounds like a good idea, but it just sets of so many “due process” alarm bells in my mind that it’s frightening.

    How does somebody get off the list if they’re put on it wrongly? How easy is it?

  31. Jake,

    Solely based on the website, it looks like it is a “temporary” emergency sort of provision that requires further documentation (in order to satisfy the due process requirements) to be provided in short order. For example, say someone is involuntarily committed on Thursday afternoon but runs away and can’t be found. You fear that the hospital won’t get around to filing the paperwork until Monday. The hotline gives a way to get them onto the list right away until the patient can be found.

    I’d definitely be interested in anyone that has more definitive information though!

    Chris from AK

  32. Marijuana use greatly increases the probability of becoming schizophrenic.

    Dude, for real? What is this, 1937? Been watching Reefer madness?

  33. I’ll just take a few moments to echo Sebastian: Marijuana probably contributes to schizophrenia, but it should probably be legal anyway. And we need to teach each other, and to teach our children especially, to stay away from it–regardless of whether it’s legal or not!

    I recently read an article that suggested that schizophrenia–as well as muscular sclerosis–might be caused by viruses that are trapped in our DNA, but become accidentally unlocked by an infant illness. Then, over time, other illnesses may further the problem, until it becomes full-blown by the age of twenty. If this is true, it isn’t that difficult to see how marijuana and alcohol–both brain-altering chemicals–could worsen the problems of someone who might be on the edge of schizophrenia, but otherwise wouldn’t go “fully schizo”.

  34. It’s not precisely that viruses get “trapped in your DNA”, but I suspect it can be thought of that way. Viral DNA segments can become incorporated into the DNA of host cells. Google “transposons” or “transposible elements.”

    You can’t think of a virus as an organism. Only as genetic material enclosed in a protein capsid, that relies on host cells to replicate. Often, that replication involves viral DNA incorporated into host DNA, and vice-versa. The role viruses play and have played in the evolution and biology of life as we know it … and don’t know it … is profound and poorly understood.

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