The Psychology of Political Shooters

The doors on the ambulances had not even closed before leftists began to blame major non-lefitst figures for the actions of the shooter in Arizona. We shouldn’t be surprised, the “violent mainstream non-leftist” meme has been in the leftwing playbook since it was created by Dick Morris in order to link Republicans to the Oklahoma City bombing.

I know next to nothing about the shooter but let me tell you what his psychology and his political beliefs will turn out to be.

These types of shooters divide into the delusional schizophrenics and the paranoid, narcissistic, borderline or full-blown sociopath.

(Note: A sociopath is a person devoid of empathy for any living creature. Sociopaths are not delusional and they are not psychologically driven to commit crimes or violence, they simply suffer no negative emotional feedback when they choose to do. Most sociopaths are just jerks.)

The shooter’s outward and inward life has been dominated by the disconnect between his perception of his own worth in the world and his real accomplishments.

He believes himself more intelligent, more knowledgeable and more skilled than he actually is. He is incapable of accepting responsibility for the consequences of his own foolish actions. This exaggerated sense of his own worth leads him expect far greater rewards in all areas of life than he actually receives. He does not get the jobs, pay, authority, awards, social circle, romantic interest and overall social status he believes that he justly deserves.

Constantly thwarted in all areas of life and unable to accept personal responsibility, he has no other logical alternative than to presume that some sort of conspiracy exists that holds him down. In particular, he will lash out at any real or imagined source of authority or influence in both his personal life and the greater world.

(Someone suggested he was an Afghan war vet. If so, he won’t be a combat vet but rather will have been in a low-level support position e.g. file clerk, fork lift driver etc. Because he cannot submit to any authority for any reason, his military record will be filled with instances of insubordination and demotions. He most likely has a less than honorable discharge. He will, however, have exaggerated his military record when he talks about it.)

In politics, he will begin to lash out at any real or imagined political entity that he believes has influence in the world. He will hate the Federal government. He will hate the military. He will hate any long established and large religious denominations. He will hate other racial or ethnic groups. He will hate those both richer and poorer than himself. He will hate socialists. He will hate big business, Wall Street and capitalism.

He will read all across the political spectrum and cherry pick ideas from every possible ideology. From each ideology, he will select only those ideas which: (1) claim this or that group has disproportionate, unjust and often secret influence or control over the world and (2) justify significantly altering the status quo to correct that group’s unjust power. In the end, his personal ideology will be a Frankenstein-like creation of unrelated ideas stitched together by the thread of his own hubris and narcissism. He will create an ideology that purports to explain why the “ordinary person”, which he sees as himself, is constantly screwed over by the world.

He will leave behind some rambling manifesto that anyone can themselves cherry pick to “prove” he supported some political point of view the cherry-picker opposes.

In the end, we will find out that he turned to violence because he became enraged at his own irrelevance and anonymity. The triggering stressor will be something personal and probably relatively trivial. His targets will have been primarily ones of opportunity. (Those who stalk and attack specific individuals are always schizophrenics and/or have some personal connection to the victim.) He will have shot the congresswoman because he could reach her and not because he had any specific personal animosity toward her or her politics. She was just a convenient authority figure, a personalization of the unjust power and order of the world.

The left plays a dangerous and ultimately self-defeating game when in every case to date, they have immediately, often literally within minutes, of a reported act of political violence, sprung out to denounce ordinary non-lefitsts as culpable in the attack. Since it is widely known that such attackers are either seriously mentally ill or individuals with highly egocentric and idiosyncratic ideologies, seeking to link such attacks to their mainstream political opposition makes it clear that they see instances of political violence merely as chances to advance their political power. Moreover, since such attackers have a hodgepodge ideology, one can just as easily blame leftist’s rhetoric for such attacks as non-leftists.

More darkly, by linking ordinary, mainstream political opponents to such political violence, the left appears to be creating a context for suppressing or even violently attacking such opposition. They are desperately trying to create an equation in which disagreeing with a leftists is tantamount to a violent attack.

Dick Morris unleashed a very dangerous force within the American left.

11 thoughts on “The Psychology of Political Shooters”

  1. Yep, definitely a Dick Morris set up. At least you could have used google before you wrote this as basic info on the shooter’s lack of militiary experience was already available. The same with Sarah ‘bulls eye’ photo of the congresswoman on her facebook page. Zero influence on people of course, since she’s no lefist.

  2. Clinton’s strategy in response to the OK City massacre saved his administration. The GOP response was incompetent. That lesson will not be lost on the Democrats. Count on an immediate and relentless effort by the media to blame this attack on the Tea Party. I recall thinking that Clinton’s attacks were so grotesque and dishonest that the public would reject and that it would backfire. I was wrong. The public accepted the Media / Clinton framing. If the GOP does not respond forcefully and angrily and persistently it will work again.

  3. From his Youtube postings, it’s obvious he’s a delusional schizophrenic. You’re right about that, but the rest of your speculation actually gives him far too much credit. Looks like he wasn’t even sane enough to get or hold a job long enough to clash with authority, or organize his thoughts long enough to express a coherent opinion.

  4. I think the “politically eclectic shooter” insight is one that should be pursued — the manifesto left behind by Joseph Stack, the fellow who flew a plane into an Austic, TX office building with a grudge against the IRS and the video ramblings of Jared Loughner would make an interesting comparative study.

    FWIW, Loughner seems to have been obsessed with syllogism.

  5. There were two shooters. Shooter #1 was Loughner. Shooter #2 shot Loughner and left the scene without making sure Loughner was dead.

    Loughner is just the most recent in a long chain of liberal shooters — Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, Squeeky From, Charles Manson, John Hinkley Jr., Major Nidal Hasan. This most recent event smells like the reichstag fire. Already the Tea Party is being blamed. Perhaps this will save Obamacare.

  6. Whatever the motives and allegiances of this shooter, the factions are certainly inflamed. As long as the governments don’t react with a heavy hand, and if this is a lone incident, the public will retreat to their quiet animosities.

    The best for most would see this treated as a crazy person who committed a crime that does not reflect on any group or movement. But there is both a temptation to expand power and a sympathetic impulse to resist perceived oppression. Change usually starts at the margin (or fringe).

    Lex, have you put any time toward that book-length thesis? The need for a non-violent resolution is increasing…

  7. This shooter is clearly a paranoid schizophrenic with his delusions about the government controlling minds through grammar. Paranoids are a bit better organized than the undifferentiated kid but their response to external events is pretty disorganized. This young man seems more attuned to the 2012 Mayan calendar fantasy.

    Lee Harvey Oswald is a better example of the world hating shooter. Jack Ruby was an example of the sociopath seeking approval by killing a villain.

    It is interesting that Jacqueline Kennedy expressed disappointment when she learned that Oswald was a communist. She said it was “such a waste.” These are not new psychological mechanisms.

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