Lacanian Thoughts on Jared L. Loughner and the Arizona Shootings

January 10, 2011

Well, we now see the practical applicability of diagnosing paranoid schizophrenia. The shooter, Jared L. Loughner, was kicked out of college for being psychotic: “on the first day of the term, the instructor in Jared L. Loughner’s basic algebra class, Ben McGahee, posed what he thought was a simple arithmetic question to his students. He was not prepared for the explosive response – how can you deny math instead of accepting it?” Mr. Loughner asked, after blurting out a random number, according to Mr. McGahee. (KIRK JOHNSON, SERGE F. KOVALESKI, DAN FROSCH and ERIC LIPTON Published: January 9, 2011,NYT.) Let’s just say the number was far from random?

His Facebook posting also reveal his belief that grammar is real, and his delusion that he could control through grammar.

One wonders about the diagnostic abilities of our psychiatrists. It’s possible to differentiate between psychosis, neurological problems, and hysteric madness, and it isn’t all that hard. And it’s also possible to predict violence, as Vicktor Tausk wrote more than one hundred years ago in his paper on ‘influencing machines.’ Those paranoids who believe they can be ‘controlled’ by some malevolent outside force are far more likely to act out violently than those whose delusions aren’t so persecutory.

This suffering man should have been hospitalized, and his parents should have have received services to help them get him the treatment he needed, and to take the medication that could have calmed him. Now people have died, and this man is in the criminal justice system, not in a locked ward receiving treatment I’ve heard politicians call him evil, to which I call them medieval.

Anna Shane

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