Saturday, January 08, 2011

On the Assassination of Gabrielle Giffords

Perhaps it is best not to ask. If any of the qualified practitioners out there could comment I would like to know what percentage of the population are generally speaking potentially violent on the order of the suspected assassin? It is my working assumption that he is a delusional and dangerous person, the last indisputably. The term "paranoid schizophrenic" is being tossed around on Facebook and Twitter.

Without getting deep into the weeds of what real psychiatrists or psychologists mean, may we make a distinction between sane but highly motivated persons who may consider using violence for ideological or other reasons and those who are simply to use a term of art, nuts? The former may be deterred or combated by so normalizing activity and strengthening the system that few individual targets, who are replaceable, are worth the cost.

The true lunatic cannot be deterred. They can sometimes be detected and intercepted in advance but often can only be stopped at ruinous cost. This question does have some larger implications regarding how we deal with rogue states and persons like Lil Kim and Ahmamadjackass.

So how many truly dangerous lunatics are out there? Is it 1:1000 or 1:100 or 1:50? It makes a difference.

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