After the Newtown Massacre, It's Easy to Fear the Weirdos, but Be Careful Who You Call Weirdo

Categories: Schutze

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Los Angeles Times political columnist and cartoonist David Horsey, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, authored a column and cartoon yesterday arguing that, "... there are way too many oddballs among us with violence on their minds and guns within reach."

I get the second part, about the guns. I'm worried about the first part. It seems to me we can never have enough oddballs.

Horsey's column was a compendium of incidents right after the Newtown slaughter in which various crazy bastards all over America made ghastly threats of violence, some against elementary schools, apparently mimicking the behavior of the Connecticut shooter. Copy-cat behavior triggered by massive media coverage is a serious concern.

But the cartoon stuck in my craw: Against a blank backdrop, a dozen or so emo-looking young white males with hair in their eyes and hands in their hoodie pockets stand around in sullen stoops avoiding eye contact -- just in case anybody wondered what a dangerous oddball looks like.

EMO_kids shz.jpg
wikipedia.org
The kids are all right.
Funny. I was counting on sullen stooped emo-looking kids to save the world. When I think of the really outgoing, cooperative, entirely socially minded kids of human history -- not to put too fine a point to it, the more tractable and conformist kids -- I always come to the point where they put those qualities to work as adults in society. An example that leaps to mind would be the Ku Klux Klan.

Who do we think they were? They were solid citizens deeply committed to the cooperative well-being of their communities. Convinced that those communities were under mortal threat from aberrant beings, they were willing, eager in fact, to wipe aberrance from the face of the earth by whatever awful means necessary.

Interdisciplinary scholar Nassir Ghaemi drew positive reviews for his 2011 book A First-Rate Madness, in which he argued that history would never have moved off the dime in any direction, good or bad -- we'd still be painting ourselves blue and living in trees -- if it hadn't been for the oddballs among us.

He doesn't say oddballs are universally good by any means. One of the main ones he profiles is Hitler. But he also cites Churchill and JFK. Abnormal people make things happen. Normal people carry out the instructions of the abnormal people.

Ghaemi describes a study of the behaviors and traits of a group of subjects whose personalities met all the criteria for "normal" in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Basically the study came up with a group of proto-Nazis.

It seems to me Horsey's cartoon expresses the entirely understandable welter of mixed-up emotion most of us are feeling right now -- anger, frustration, fear, an urgent desire to make this problem go away. But when I see cartoons that portray types of people, rather than people, I can't help thinking of war propaganda.

Here is the Hun, the Jew, the Jap. The Emo. Here is the one to hate. The one to go get.

Who are the weird stoop-shouldered hands-in-pockets hair-in-eyes emos among us? Are they not trouble? Yeah, maybe. Or maybe they are the inventors and thinkers who will find our way out of this mess.

I could take Horsey's cartoon, paint a bunch of wrinkles on those faces, give them all scraggly white pony-tails and beer guts, and it would look like the annual convention of the Internet Engineering Task Force.

I'm not saying much here. I certainly am not tearing into Horsey or disagreeing with him 100 percent. I'm just saying we should go slowly and very cautiously into this whole business of profiling the enemy. Before we horse up the fraternity boy cavalry to ride in and clean out the emo camps, we might want to think about what we'll be giving up. I am tempted to email Horsey, for example: "Hey, man, don't look now, but I think they're running your entire online operation."



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77 comments
holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

So you are becoming a bit sheepish regarding your wardrobe w/shotgun headshot? Don’t be. These times are but headwaters. You will know when you have arrived at plurality when you are relegated to the same space as “Ask a Mexican”.

However as Blow said, it will be generations after that before you are syndicated. Maybe you are just before your time.

lisa.dawn
lisa.dawn

Sandy Hook mind-blower: Newtown shooting victim's father, Robbie Parker, isseen laughing just before his on-camera interview, as he inquires about whetheror not he should just 'read the card.' (As in... cue card?) 'Yeah, just read thecard,' a man replies, off-camera

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Duck hunters in cammies at gun shows, that's who you gotta watch out for.

James080
James080

The only odd balls I worry about are crack pot white men who stand around in their bath robes wearing shades and pointing shot guns at everyone......

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

I do not see the urge for mental health screening coming from this episode. The familywas well-off, the mother was a psychologist, she was not absent from home, the person had been tracked since 6th grade (talk about the mythic "permanent record" - he must have had his own shelf), no one along the way made any determination of mental illness, and he had zero episodes of violence. We as a nation cannot afford to track every oddball to the degree this oddball was treated and it still was not enough. If you recommend a solution based on Case A, it has to work in Case A.

Glenn
Glenn

So now you're against portraying "types of people,"Jim? Seems to me your stock-in-trade is stereotyping and painting people with a broad brush (see: screeds against rich people, white people, art people, etc. etc.). So, when exactly did you have your change of heart?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

I like Phelps' ideas (below) that you have to imagine every new law being administered by your worst enemy. I use assisted suicide as my own guidepost. I like the idea. But what if assisted suicide were administered by the Dallas City Council? "OK, we have assisted the suicides of four black people, three Latinos and only one white person this month. We need to haul three white guys in here this week and assist their asses pronto to get this deal evened up right." 

lisa.dawn
lisa.dawn

Good article. Regarding who the weirdos really are--how about looking more deeply at the family of Adam Lanza. His mother is believed to be one of the Central Intelligence Agencies top psychological analysts working on Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)--the CIA funds the development of violent video games--the Connecticut massacre associated  with the book "Hunger Games" which is about post-apocalyptic US where the killing of children is glorified as entertainment for the privileged elite classes. Exactly what was mom Nancy Lanza's exact ties to the school? DARPA experimentation on children and exposure to TV and movie violence??

Adam Lanza's mother having ties to the CIA could help explain why she had such a high powered weapon in her possession. Perhaps we need to look a little closer as to WHO the weirdos really are. At the time Adam Lanza's mother died, she lived in a 1.6 million mansion and was without a job.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The fact remains that Lanza's mother had every indication that her son was deeply disturbed, and yet she made available to him the weapons that killed her and 26 other people. 

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

You are correct about the blanket demonization of people.  We are supposed to be better than that.

The sad part is that everyone of the real incidents was foretold by enough signs that family and friends could have stopped them.  But the standard of 'proof' is pretty high, like an actual act.  And look at what they do for their 'act'.  Unless the families are keeping something secret...

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

Jim, interesting piece, but I think you are missing the point of Horsey's cartoon.  The point is that these incidents tend to be conducted by someone shown to be isolated from society, a loner, few friends, etc.  I think he just used the image of the latest killer as the model for illustration that that these types of people are all among us.  I don't think he was trying to say all emo white young men are potential mass murderers.

DOCensors
DOCensors

Thanks to touchy feely feeling bleeding heart libtards like yourself, we can't do anything to keep crazy people out of the general population. The only people who have rights in this country in the eyes of people like you are criminals and crazies. 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@lisa.dawn Lisa

You're such a font of misinformation (mother=CIA agent) that I have to ask you again: Where on earth are you getting this stuff?

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Glenn When he's writing in the Bad-Jim mode, Jim's stock-in-trade is the stereotype. It makes no more sense to say that the stoop-shouldered oddballs will save civilization than to say that well-behaved, outgoing white kids will send us all to concentration camps. Life's more complex than that, but journalists never deal well with complexity. To say something really useful requires deep thought, and the Bad Jim has long carried on a personal crusade against deep thought, nuance, fine distinctions. (His notion that "Internet engineers" -- he must mean software engineers, but who knows? -- all effect scraggly white pony-tails and beer guts is pure comedy. Has he ever hung around these folks, reported on them?) There is another Jim, the Good Jim, who every so often writes with conscience and deep thought. That's the one I keep reading for, waiting for. But maybe that one doesn't generate enough hits to keep his bosses happy. Or, what I suspect, it's just more fun to piss on the ant pile and watch the commotion.   

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Glenn 

Massive scientific studies in this country, Canada and Europe have demonstrated again and again that rich people suck. Because of their eating habits, however, they develop over time a very rich nutrient content in their bodies, hence the scientific finding that people should "eat the rich." I really don't think any of this is even debatable at this point is it?

DOCensors
DOCensors

@Glenn Self preservation. He needs to defend baby mutilators and crazy mass murderers because he sees himself in every lunatic. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@JimSX That would through the whole "equity" game into turmoil.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@lisa.dawn Whoa, Lisa!! "His mother is believed to be one of the Central Intelligence Agencies top psychological analysts...."??? Who believes? On what evidence? Or do you just pass around whatever gum you find stuck to the underside of the table?  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@lisa.dawn She had 12 rifles and countless pistols and ammunition.  She was getting 250k a year in alimony.  She may have triggered the kid's rampage by telling him to get out because she was sick and tired of him holing up in his room and playing video games.  I hope that clears up some of your questions about that horrible mother.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@lisa.dawn I'd say you qualify! Off to the gas chamber.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz that's like saying that if I get murdered in a carjacking I "made available" the getaway car for the bank robbery the next day.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

@DOCensors But it is the 'law and order' droolers who demand that rapist go free so we can lock up recreational drug users.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@DOCensors 

Wait a minute. Wasn't it the conservatives that took apart the mental healthcare apparatus back in the 80's? I think Saint Raygun was running things, then. 

monstruss
monstruss

@DOCensors hey, they let your ignorant ass continue to post here, that's gotta account for something.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@JimSX @Glenn not one word about anti-depressants?  But, you pen this crap. (not your article.)

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@JimSX @Glenn You're getting down to lisa dawn's level of reliability, Jim.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bmarvel @lisa.dawn 

you point out the assertion re: the mom, but what about "the CIA funds the development of violent video games"???

uh huh. "whoa" is an understatement.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @lisa.dawn See, Myrna, this is why so many of us have such a problem with you. This was so vicious, so-uncalled-for, so from-the-hip callous, that it completely wipes off the slate those rare occasions on which you managed to say something sensible. Shame on you, and I mean that sincerely.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @lisa.dawn How many are countless?  What does her alimony got to do with it?  How do you know she was a horrible mother?  Based on what's been provided, I'd have a lot more basis for a negative evaluation of you than you have to make a determination on her.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @lisa.dawn 

... or triggered the kid because she couldn't handle him any more and was trying to get him committed. Maybe she told him or  he found out.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@scottindallas @DOCensors In the initial stages, states funded small community pilot programs for individuals who
responded well to antipsychotic medications that were then becoming available. The national
deinstitutionalization movement was launched in 1965 through the community mental health
centers program. The movement was further fueled by concerns over civil rights and the
conditions in institutions. That led to the courts limiting involuntary institutionalization and
setting minimum standards for care in institutions.


http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_the_Issue&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=137545


DOCensors
DOCensors

@ozonelarryb @DOCensors I demand we shoot rapists and drug users alike. Problem solved. Too bad gun control activists like Anna Merlan would prefer women were raped than be able to defend themselves.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@bmarvel @DOCensors @lisa.dawn Do you know that Bill, or are YOU full of dis-information.  Often there is more facts behind these narratives than you might like.  For instance, every one of these shooters was on anti-depressants.  The Black Box warning, warns of "violent ideation" and acts.  But, the MSM ain't pushing that narrative very strongly either.  Your hasty dismissal is just as foolish as her hasty embrace.  

I take some pride in finding the facts, and then throwing them out here, getting dismissed, then proved correct over time. 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@DOCensors @bmarvel @lisa.dawn But this isn't an "info war."It's a dis-info war, an attempt to substitute junk info for the real thing. Not all info is created equal.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@bmarvel @JimSX @Glenn 

Bill, you really are trailing off a bit here. How about a nice night's sleep? 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@JimSX @bmarvel @Glenn Jim, Iooked all over the recommended site and couldn't find a single white pony tail or beer belly. So I called a friend of the family who's an engineer involved in the internet. He's sure you meant software engineers. Red Bull-type drinks are the favored beverage among internet types, and they tend to be over-goomed, if anything.

DOCensors
DOCensors

@scottindallas @bmarvel @TheCredibleHulk You are wrong wrong wrong and wrong. Oh.. and did I mention wrong?


In the initial stages, states funded small community pilot programs for individuals who
responded well to antipsychotic medications that were then becoming available. The national
deinstitutionalization movement was launched in 1965 through the community mental health
centers program. The movement was further fueled by concerns over civil rights and the
conditions in institutions. That led to the courts limiting involuntary institutionalization and
setting minimum standards for care in institutions.


http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_the_Issue&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=137545


bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@scottindallas @bmarvel @TheCredibleHulk "but it was niggardly views of gov't that killed these institutions off" Scott, before you comment again, please go to the trouble of doing a little historical research. I'm afraid you've bought in to some bizarre leftie twist to the actual facts.The impulse behind emptying out of mental hospitals came from the left. The right was happy to go along -- although law-and-order advocates, traditionally righties,were deeply uneasy. Your misunderstanding, Scott, is what comes from  reading history through the distorting lens of partisan bias.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@bmarvel @scottindallas @TheCredibleHulk   I don't dispute that lawsuits made our looney farms lives tougher, but it was niggardly views of gov't that killed these institutions off.  

No doubt those facilities were abusive, many doing more damage than they cured, or fixed.  After it was no longer possible to lock people up against their will, as families became unwilling or unable to care for their affected family, as social services failed to adapt, to provide outpatient care for these same people; we've gotten the climate we're in.  

Reagan lead the vanguard of this both as governor of CA and as president.  Perhaps he's more a symbol than the source.  What's most telling is that every one of these mass shooters was on anti-depressants, without the needed follow-up.  We rely too heavily on pills and too little on a holistic approach--whole life style approach, from career counseling, to rent/diet, to emotional and simply loneliness.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@scottindallas @bmarvel @DOCensors @TheCredibleHulk Scott, I was there when the clamor from the left, along with a tide of lawsuits on behalf of the rights of the mentally ill, emptied mental institutions wholesale. It was considered a civil rights victory and the political left was behind it. The right was not entirely displeased to see less public money spent on care of the "insane." True, conditions in mental institutions were appalling.  (Remember "Titicut Follies"?) But the impetus came from civil rights lawyers looking around for someone else to liberate. 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@DOCensors @TheCredibleHulk For once, DOCensors is correct. In the annals of bad ideas, left-wingers have as much to answer for as right-wingers.

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