Further Evidence That The Tucson Shootings Had Nothing To Do With Political Rhetoric

Last night’s 60 Minutes presented an incredibly thorough look at the life of Jared Lee Loughner and his descent into madness:

How anyone can continue to insist that there is any connection between the events of January 8th and “political rhetoric” after watching this is beyond me.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Steve Metz says:

    I don’t think anyone serious made a direct causal connection between political rhetoric and the shootings. It seems to be another instance of “tragedy providing a catalyst to deal with a problem that is not directed connected but needed dealing with nonetheless,” sort of like 9/11 changing public perceptions enough that Bush could remove Saddam Hussein by force.

  2. john personna says:

    We have a good body of evidence, including psychological studies, that violent speech lowers the bar for violent action. We have directors of political psychology, etc., explaining that view.

    Doug’s claim is that since we can’t track Loughner in detail, we know none of this applies to him, specifically.

    I think that’s BS, but even if it wasn’t, what would it matter? Would that guarantee that the next Loughner would be equally isolated from the rhetoric?

  3. Steve Metz says:

    I would think that the trivialization of violence is popular culture played a much greater role for Loughner than talk radio or Sarah Palin. But I haven’t seen anyone making that argument–that we need to “tone down” popular culture.

  4. john personna says:

    BTW, just on the meta-level again

    “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”

    It is that argument from ignorance fallacy.

  5. john personna says:

    I would think that the trivialization of violence is popular culture played a much greater role for Loughner than talk radio or Sarah Palin. But I haven’t seen anyone making that argument–that we need to “tone down” popular culture.

    Good point. The difficulty might be in breaking out what is harmful. We aren’t as worried about violent westerns as we used to be, but that soundtrack on Loughner flag-burning video seemed pretty disturbed.

    It’s less clear to me how you call out the “bad” in movies or song.

  6. Christine says:

    Doug,

    The assumption that political rhetoric and specifically Sarah Palin’s map contributed to the tragic event in Tuscon has jumped the shark. Most folks have moved on from the blaming …why can’t you and the media? And what’s wrong with civility, even you complained of the nastiness of your twitter feed and that you un-followed some because of it….