People who closely followed the early reports on 22 year-old Jared Loughner, after the shooting in Tucson, would have noted some references to his interest in September 11th conspiracy theories, and specifically the notorious short film called “Loose Change.” Last weekend, a story in the New York Times delved deeper into what people who knew Jared Loughner had to say about him, and included this paragraph:
He became intrigued by antigovernment conspiracy theories, including that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by the government and that the country’s central banking system was enslaving its citizens. His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.
One is reminded of what — back in the old days — we used to describe as Bush Derangement Syndrome. That was the tendency of many on the left (represented online by the nice folks at the Democratic Underground and Daily Kos) to be so blinded by their hatred of President George W. Bush that they literally could not think straight, and jumped from one utterly illogical thought to another, held together by only one consistent thread: hatred of Bush. Everything bad in the world was Bush’s fault, and everything bad said about Bush, by anyone, was true. Bush was guilty of both having the intellect of a chimpanzee and being an evil genius who got his own way time after time on every issue by fooling the American public and wrapping the spineless Democrats in Congress around his finger.
(By the way, you would think, with a Democratic president in office, that this class of Derangement Syndrome would be floating, unassigned, awaiting the next Republican president, but you’d be wrong: In an unprecedented kind of mutation of this sickness, it has instead been transferred to the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, even though she holds no political office at the moment whatsoever, and even though conventional wisdom states that she could never win the presidency. Strange days indeed.)
Jared Loughner, as said in this space the day after the shooting and since backed up by experts like E. Fuller Torrey, is almost certainly an untreated schizophrenic, and his actions will have been tied directly to his psychosis. So, I do not currently believe that it was watching a video or reading any book that caused him to kill six people. Nevertheless, the return of the topic of the thoroughly debunked but still pernicious “Loose Change” film and related nonsense demands another consideration of just how evil that whole phenomenon has been.
It is frankly difficult for this writer to even discuss “9/11 Truthers” and such, who claim that the U.S. government perpetrated the mass murder on September 11th, 2001, because the outrage it generates within is so great. These stupid, scum-of-the-earth people have even harassed relatives of the 9/11 dead in pursuit of their self-serving BS. To save the aggravation of having to come up with new words, I looked back for things I’d written previously on the subject. In 2006, reacting to a poll that suggested belief in such conspiracy theories was growing, I was looking for causes, beyond just the people who were actually spreading the theories:
The failure of President Bush and his administration to consistently and articulately explain the nature of the war with jihadism and the strategy being pursued to win it is also responsible, to an extent, for the flourishing of conspiracy theories. Ironically, Bush has been doing a better job of articulating it in his second term, but the toxic seeds of Michael Moore and a small army of seemingly insignificant kooks out there are apparently bearing their poisonous fruit.
It’s amazing. People like Ahmadinejad and [Hezbollah leader] Nasrallah can bluntly say what their entire purpose is — destroying Israel and the Jews — and that crucial truth gets sidelined amidst so much other noise about ceasefires and grievances and resolutions and nonsense. Meanwhile, insane lies can be made up by numbskulls about a controlled demolition of the WTC and missiles hitting the Pentagon, and these things lurk out there and grow and grow and turn into Frankenstein monsters.
In 2007, there was a post on the madness of Charlie Sheen (who has been one of the celebrity promoters of these theories) which noted:
The “Loose Change” garbage is easily findable on YouTube. The extraordinarily patient and thorough answering of the offensively stupid questions posed by the makers of the video is available at Popular Mechanics.
Hot Air also has links to a televised debate between the two sides. Again, the Popular Mechanics people are to be commended for their incredible patience. Lies, no matter how mind-numbingly ridiculous, need to be answered. Yet, somehow, there will always be people like Charlie Sheen, who are so utterly seduced by the sanctimonious satisfaction they receive from “questioning authority,” and are at the same time utterly uninterested in listening to and understanding the answers that are right in front of their faces.
Today, and in the light of recent events, there’s something else that begs to be said about the monstrous sewage spewed by the 9/11 Truthers.
It is this: If someone truly believes that the U.S. government — led by George W. Bush or by a secret cabal that now also has President Obama under their thumb — perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and has been engaged in a massive cover-up ever since, then why on earth does that person not take up arms against the government?
After all, if I believed that my government had perpetrated something so evil as the mass murder of thousands of helpless American citizens, in order to justify Halliburton-enriching wars on innocent foreign nations, then I hope that I would see it as a moral obligation to fight such obscene tyranny by any and all means at my disposal. Some things do justify “Second Amendment remedies” — and that would surely be one of them. “When in the course of human events …” and all that stuff — doesn’t it still apply? And I believe that I’d be very far from alone. Similarly, if I was certain that the nation was being led in an otherwise unalterable march towards totalitarianism, a lá Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, then I would seriously consider finding some likeminded compatriots and making some plans to speak to the dictator in the only language he would really understand. (Of-course, Venezuela doesn’t have a Second Amendment, and gun control has advanced happily under Hugo’s reign.)
This may sound like chest-thumping, and I’m far from any macho guy, but, honestly, aren’t choices sometimes made for you? The motto of the state of New Hampshire is, please God, not for license plates alone. I just don’t believe that upstanding Americans would sit by in the knowledge of such murderous depravity on the part of our government as alleged by the 9/11 Truthers. Logic, grounded in morality, would dictate some kind of confrontation.
And therein lies the key. The “9/11 Truthers” are very far from “upstanding Americans.” If all those who considered themselves “truthers” put their lives where their beliefs are, there would be a guerrilla war going on against the federal government in the United States. The reason there is not such a war going on is that the kind of people who are inclined to truly believe this garbage are only very distantly acquainted if at all with notions such as morality and logic. There is nothing they care for, in the way of principle. What they value is simply their ability to nurse their own feelings of superiority. And, hiding behind their internet forums and their vain, stupid assertions, something they are also well acquainted with is cowardice.
Naturally, the condition of paranoid schizophrenia is a very effective inhibitor of cowardice.
It can’t be said that “Loose Change” directly caused Jared Loughner to do what he did on January 8th in Tucson, but I do think it likely that it was his inherent weak-mindedness that led him to be seduced by 9/11 conspiracy theories in the first place. And in his descent to total psychosis, those theories were something around which his damaged mind orbited. Unfortunately for Gabrielle Giffords, his mind also fastened upon her, as an incarnate representation of governmental malfeasance. (The record shows that he first confronted her publicly in 2007.)
Still, the world would seem a tad more just if the name “Dylan Avery” (the writer and director of “Loose Change”) had appeared beside Jared Loughner’s in recent mainstream media stories even a small fraction of the times that the name “Sarah Palin” has appeared.
Why, indeed, hasn’t Dylan Avery been squarely in the crosshairs of the media, in the light of our knowledge that Jared Loughner was so enamored with “Loose Change?”
(On the other hand, of-course, no one who knew Jared Loughner personally has anywhere reported that he had any admiration whatsoever for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who, in contrast to him and other 9/11 Truthers, is on the record as loving America, believing in God, and understanding that it was Islamic jihadists who attacked the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and UA Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001.)