Patterico's Pontifications

1/18/2011

Three Hundred and Eighty Federal and State Officials Investigating Loughner’s Motivations… For Some Reason

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:45 pm



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

This passage in a Washington Post article struck me:

A team of 250 federal investigators and 130 local detectives trying to understand why Jared Lee Loughner went on his alleged killing spree has conducted more than 300 interviews with family, friends and neighbors since the shooting. But they remain stumped about what ultimately prompted the 22-year-old’s descent into violence.

Investigators have had little success gaining information from either the uncooperative Loughner or his parents, who have told authorities that they had little recent contact with their son, law enforcement sources said.

With so little help coming from the immediate family, investigators are probing associates and witnesses for details that could help them fill out a portrait of Loughner, a task one source described as completing a “jigsaw puzzle.”…

It could take weeks for investigators to fully determine Loughner’s state of mind in the days leading up to the rampage, the sources said. Virtually every member of the FBI’s 200-person Phoenix field division, coupled with 50 additional agents from Washington and Tucson and more from the Capitol Police and the U.S. Marshals Service, have fanned out across southeastern Arizona. About 130 detectives from the Pima County sheriff’s office also are involved.

Mmm, hard to say which is worse.  The fact that the entire field office, just about, is working this one case and thus not watching out for other crime, or that someone in the government is stupid enough to disclose this fact.  Hey!  Drug dealers!  Come to Phoenix, the FBI isn’t watching that area right now!  I mean you would hope this was a head fake, a ruse to trick the criminals into thinking they were under less heat so they screw up more or something like that.  Raise your hands if you think anyone in the Federal Government was being that smart?

Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.

So seriously, um, why?  We know the guy did it.  And contrary to what you have heard in thousands of courtroom dramas, motive is not an element of the crime.  Of course I think it is fair to say that prosecutors usually want to say something on the subject, but they don’t have to and they can convict with no explanation as to why the guy did it.

And nor is this terribly relevant to an insanity defense, and besides, if he pleads insanity, then he will have to submit to government examination and the reality is most criminals will not even know what kind of insanity to fake.  It has to be very specific under the law. And indeed, as far as Arizona law is concerned, there is no insanity defense.

Indeed, seriously, why are we leaving it up to the Feds anyway?  Why not just let the Arizonans handle it?  I have little doubt that they will reach the correct result and kill Loughner.  And if they can’t then let the Feds take a whack at him.

And here’s my other question.  Let’s pretend it is necessary to interview all those people.  Okay, I have trouble swallowing that, but let’s imagine.  So why why do you need three hundred eighty people to do it?  Why not have ten and just have them take their time?  I mean I doubt the trial is even going to happen within a year.  And best of all, then you don’t have the same data aggregation problems.  So why not?

Besides, all they really have to do, apparently, is talk to Michael Kinsley, whom despite everything knows it is the conservatives’ fault.  His theory goes like this.  Conservatives “hate” government.  And apparently in his mind, only conservatives hate and fear government.  So, the logic goes, every nutter who hates or fears government is being inspired by them.  Well, either that or George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison…

Besides the fact that it is ahistorical, unAmerican idiocy to pretend that there is somehow something wrong with being skeptical of big, intrusive government there is a difference between being deeply contemptuous of government, especially big government, and actually hating it.  I don’t hate it, I just think it is typically stupid and incompetent, and as a general rule does more harm than good.  Which is very different from hating it.

Further, the left doesn’t want any limits on the government’s power?  Suddenly they feel that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided?  I mean, I suppose the very existence of Obamacare suggests that those chants of “my body, my choice” was a bunch of crap, but are we going to get that bald about it?  Big government is now perfect and how dare you even question that?  How fascist of him.

But let’s confine ourselves to just those people who are paranoid about the government, that hate and fear it.  That is exclusively a right wing idea, right?  You know, because no one is paranoid about government except the right.  Wait, what is it that you said Seymour Hersh?

“Just when we needed an angry black man,” [Hersh] began, his arm perched jauntily on the podium, “we didn’t get one.”

It quickly went downhill from there.

He also charged that U.S. foreign policy had been hijacked by a cabal of neoconservative “crusaders” in the former vice president’s office and now in the special operations community.

“What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” he said of his forthcoming book. “It’s not only that the neocons took it over but how easily they did it — how Congress disappeared, how the press became part of it, how the public acquiesced.”

Hersh then brought up the widespread looting that took place in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. “In the Cheney shop, the attitude was, ‘What’s this? What are they all worried about, the politicians and the press, they’re all worried about some looting? … Don’t they get it? We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. And when we get all the oil, nobody’s gonna give a damn.'”

“That’s the attitude,” he continued. “We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. That’s an attitude that pervades, I’m here to say, a large percentage of the Joint Special Operations Command.”

He then alleged that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before briefly becoming the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and his successor, Vice Adm. William McRaven, as well as many within JSOC, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.”

Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic organization commited to “defence of the Faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering,” according to its website.

“Many of them are members of Opus Dei,” Hersh continued. “They do see what they’re doing — and this is not an atypical attitude among some military — it’s a crusade, literally. They seem themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

“They have little insignias, these coins they pass among each other, which are crusader coins,” he continued. “They have insignia that reflect the whole notion that this is a culture war. … Right now, there’s a tremendous, tremendous amount of anti-Muslim feeling in the military community.””

Psst, Seymour, The DaVinci Code is fiction.

Oy.

But of course it would be wrong to tar all liberals as conspiratorial morons.  I mean sure there are a lot of them being represented among the Truthers (oh, there I go again), but it’s not like as this kind of crackpot crap is considered mainstream thought, right?  Right?

Ah, right, forgot about that.

The truth is the paranoid style of politics is much more common these days on the left than the right, and very often those paranoid beliefs lead people to believe that our government is being controlled by “the bad guys.”  And it can much more plausibly lead to violence than a desire to see your tax bill get lower.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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26 Responses to “Three Hundred and Eighty Federal and State Officials Investigating Loughner’s Motivations… For Some Reason”

  1. I guess they figure if they ask enough people, they’ll finally get somebody who says what they want to hear.

    What do they teach in schools these days?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  2. It is pretty ridiculous to spend those kind of resources on such an simple criminal matter.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  3. At some point they will find a grocery list with Lipton on it and all will be exonerated.

    Ag80 (e03e7a)

  4. LOL, AG80.

    It’s amazing that, to this point, nothing has been found to suggest he’s a right winger. His car must not have AM talk programed in, and his long list of ramblings must have stayed away from complaining about the deficit.

    Which isn’t a surprise, but says a lot about where media is these days.

    They would have saved a lot of money and time if they had advised the threatened Loughner targets to press charges.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. Ockam’s razor, never occurs to Seymour does it, maybe the fact that the Baath had tormented the
    Shia & Kurdish minority for so long, that the US govt didn’t want to be too eager to crack down. Second this is really starting to look like an investigation by Harry ‘Snapper’ Organs of Q division, yes Monty Python seems to capture the insanity

    narciso (6075d0)

  6. I had opus dei once. Amoxicillin cleared it right up.

    Hersh isn’t a tool. He’s more akin to that rusty part you dig up in the backyard and you don’t know what it is.

    Ag80 (e03e7a)

  7. Sadly, from the link that Aaron provides it would seem that an awful lot of nutbags read Foreign Policy and very quickly jumped to Hersh’s defense. I don’t think I will ever understand the whole “Hersh was right about Vietnam so it stands to reason that he is absolutely right about Iraq and Afghanistan” line of thought, but I guess if you insist on being deeply enmeshed in conspiracy theory it’s about all you have to hang your hat on.

    JVW (4463d3)

  8. 1. It may well be relevant to an insanity defense. Loughner appears to have a serious, genuine mental disorder. While it does not appear to rise to the level required for a federal insanity defense, the prosecution might not want to take its chances when many people get shot.

    2. It’s totally relevant to the penalty phase. Whether to seek death, and presenting an appropriate death penalty argument if death is sought, is going to bring Loughner’s entire life into play.

    3. I think this is a sufficient assault on the fabric of society to merit an extraordinary effort to figure out exactly what happened.

    –JRM

    JRM (cd0a37)

  9. Ag80 – Tools are often sharp, a distinction that Hersh is in no danger of meeting.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  10. Indeed, seriously, why are we leaving it up to the Feds anyway? Why not just let the Arizonans handle it?

    Maybe because it’s a federal crime, ya stupid wingnut douchebag.

    Watching You (66858c)

  11. Maybe because it’s a federal crime, ya stupid wingnut douchebag.

    And here I thought states could prosecute people for murder.

    Boy, color me shocked.

    How about this, f**kbag? How about the STATE go after Loughner because they don’t have an insanity defense, and thus have less worry about him getting off?

    My only regret?

    They can only kill him once.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  12. Sigh. So at what point will the federal investigation end? Once all leads are exhausted – or the moment a thin reed of factoid is found to support the narrative?

    Does this mean they are ready to accuse the Duke Lacrosse team of being culpable in this?

    Californio (c1363a)

  13. “A team of 250 federal investigators and 130 local detectives trying to understand why Jared Lee Loughner went on his alleged killing spree…”

    Well, of course, they’re making a big fuss about it.

    A big wheel got shot, one of their boys.

    If all that had happened was that a nine year old girl had gotten capped, they wouldn’t be nearly so upset.

    Welcome to the real world.

    Dave Surls (512ef4)

  14. Me likee international standards of justice – like China, execute him and make him pay for own bullet. Chop-chop.

    Californio (c1363a)

  15. I’m sure Arizona has some kind of ‘capacity to stand trial’, but Scott may be right about the state being a better venue to try him.

    He planned this attack. I think a jury can figure this one out.

    Only problem is, someone out there needs to be selfless to let this juicy case pass to ‘lesser’ state authority, instead of winding up on their resume. I hope I’m wrong about that being a hangup, if it is the case that the state is more likely to convict.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  16. I understand all that, but this seems as ham
    handed as the proposed trial of KSM in NY, not that long ago. It’s a fairly open and shut case, and his actions caught on tape, suggest premeditation, not some abrupt action

    narciso (6075d0)

  17. “How about the STATE go after Loughner because they don’t have an insanity defense”

    They do. You just have to show that you’re so nuts that you didn’t even know that what you did was wrong at the time you committed the act.

    See Clark v. Arizona.

    Dave Surls (512ef4)

  18. Arizona can’t be trusted to run an investigation or a trial. The state is flat broke, and under wingnut control. The feds are the only ones capable of doing anything there.

    Watching You (66858c)

  19. Even if the Feds lose him, he can still stand trial in state court.

    And the rule is, if I am not mistaken, that he has to be sane enough to assist in his own defense. There are anti-psychotic drugs to sane his ass up enough to try him, and then kill him.

    I almost hope the trial process is a long one, so that someone out there can figure out a way to raise him from the dead, and kill him for every single person who died.

    Twice for the girl.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  20. Comment by Watching You — 1/19/2011 @ 12:06 am

    Didn’t you get banned again?

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  21. They want to gather evidence of a “hate crime”.

    Icy Texan (ec15e0)

  22. “What do they teach in schools these days?” Howard Zinn, mostly. They do spend a little bit of time on the lives of the greatest Americans, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Peace, and Sacagawea.

    gp (72be5d)

  23. Oh, and math: “Is it fair that some integers are greater than others?” “If an isosceles triangle had an argument with a right triangle, how could they resolve their conflict non-violently?”

    gp (72be5d)

  24. dave

    several sources have told me that there is no insanity defense, that at best you can declare a person “guilty but insane.” so i don’t know what the truth is.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  25. Comment by JRM

    I don’t think anyone is against a sufficient investigation, it is more the amount of manpower reportedly dedicated to this. Knwing some parts of Arizona are officially marked by the Federal government as not being safe for US citizens, it seems to be a bit lopsided.

    Since the Congresswoman is a federal official I think that makes it in federal jurisdiction, but I’m not the lawyer. likewise, I heard in AZ that the potential is “guilty but insane”, not “innocent by reason of insanity” But again, I’m not the lawyer.

    23. gp- yes, it is fair, because all integers are equal, it’s just that some are more equal than others.
    (BTW, my comment was an allusion to the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe if you did not recognize it, after all, the author was not a very important literary figure, limited by his inadequate intellect to writing children’s books. /sarc)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  26. Those investigators should be looking into dupniks ties to the mexican drug smugglers which is something we need to know rather than the painfully obvious motive of loughner.

    dunce (b89258)


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