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My Crazy Idea

With yesterday's plane crash in Austin, Texas, there's a rush among the politically-obsessed to find some political meaning in it -- preferably, one that can be used to beat one's opponents over the head. Leftists talk about how this guy must have been fired up by the "anti-government hatred" stirred by the Tea Party movement, while righties point to the guy's manifesto's pronounced anti-capitalist, pro-communist elements.

I have a simpler explanation, one based on a theory I developed years ago.

Crazy People Do Crazy Things For Crazy Reasons.

We've always had crazy people. We've always had crazy people doing crazy things. And those crazy people always have crazy reasons for doing those crazy things. It's a fact of life.

There's a corollary to that law, one that follows organically:

Those who would pass laws in an attempt to keep Crazy People from Doing Crazy Things For Crazy Reasons are only slightly less crazy.

Back in the early 1980's, we had a brief rash of famous people being shot by crazy people, who had the perquisite crazy reasons. And in each case, we didn't look to pass new laws that addressed the crazy reasons. We didn't ban Jody Foster movies or highly-overrated teen angst novels, despite John Hinckley and Mark David Chapman.

In my lifetime, I can recall exactly three incidents of someone deliberately crashing a small plane into a building. Before Austin, a crazy 15-year-old boy stole a Cessna and crashed it into the Bank of America building in Tampa, Florida. And in 1994, a nut crashed a Cessna into the White House.

But nobody's seriously proposing we ban Cessnas.

In the past week or so, we've had two people of seriously strong leftist political bents go crazy and kill people. Does that qualify as an indictment of liberalism?

No, it doesn't. (Besides, "liberalism" is itself an indictment of liberalism; it needs no help.)

Both sides have their crazies. Neither side is especially obligated to "police" its own and disown every single nut and nutty thing said nuts do.

This is not an absolute rule, of course. "Guilt by association" is wrong, but there is an element of "choosing your friends carefully." Simply having some loose associations with certain undesirable types is part and parcel of being involved in the American political process; tying oneself too closely to the worst, on the other hand, calls into question one's own judgment.

CPAC letting the John Birch Society buy a table at their gathering is one thing. Barack Obama building the foundation of his political career under the auspices of unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers (who co-authored a book dedicated to some of the most repulsive people in the world, including Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy's assassin, and was involved in several bombings) is quite another.

Personally, I have a rule I try to live by: I speak for nobody, and nobody speaks for me. This makes it a bit hard to get too involved in larger groups, but by that I mean that I am only answerable for my own words and actions.

As a corollary, that is why I so despise the "white supremacist" movement. I am pretty much a pure-blooded member of what they describe as the "Master Race," and I get royally pissed at those who claim to be acting for me. Toss in how my "pure white blood" has given me an extensive list of genetically-caused health issues (no, no inbreeding as far as I know), and I know first-hand how full of shit they are.

But back to the topic at hand. Several crazy people have done some crazy things in the past week. That tells us that we should watch people who start acting crazy, who give warning signs of crazy behavior (the actions of Dr. Amy Bishop should have set off major warning flags -- "accidentally" killing her brother with a pump-action shotgun that "went off by accident" three times, apparently pumping itself between shots, assaulting a woman in an IHOP for taking the last booster seat, and being a suspect in an attempted bombing -- but I suspect her educational pedigree and obvious intelligence led people to excuse her craziness as the sort of "eccentricity" that one should expect from the intellerati.

However, we're just going to have to resign ourselves to the simple fact that these sorts of things are going to continue. The logic of "Crazy People Do Crazy Things For Crazy Reasons" is hard-coded into human nature.

And pointing fingers at political ideology won't change that one damned bit.


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Comments (22)

Personally, I have... (Below threshold)
Chip:
Personally, I have a rule I try to live by: I speak for nobody, and nobody speaks for me. This makes it a bit hard to get too involved in larger groups, but by that I mean that I am only answerable for my own words and actions.

Jay, what a freaking novel idea! To be responsible for ones own actions? Never work in today's society though, but a good thought!

If society truly wishes to ... (Below threshold)
zipity:

If society truly wishes to stop crazy people from doing crazy things, then the only solution is that crazy people must be put to death as soon as it becomes clear they are insane. You can ban guns, and they'll use a knife. You ban knives, and they'll use a hammer. Ban hammers, and they'll use a screwdriver. The de-institutionalization of the seriously mentally ill has done nothing but turn our streets into open air insane asylums, with those mentally ill enough to commit serious crimes warehoused in our prisons instead.

Sorry Chip, I have to corre... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Sorry Chip, I have to correct you. Jay's thought, holding people responsible for their own actions, in today's society qualifies as a "crazy" idea.

The main impediment to restoring personal responsibility to the individual is the number of people, businesses and government agencies that exist and/or make their living off holding individuals unaccountable. These days you pretty much have to demand that others allow you to accept responsibility for you own actions. At least here in the United States you do.

zipity,The de-inst... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

zipity,

The de-institutionalization of the seriously mentally ill has...led to the rise of the far left in the US that we all pay for today.

FIFY

-syb

Austin was an inside job. O... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Austin was an inside job. Obama knew about it ahead of time and had incendiary devices ready. Have you ever seen a building burn so fast just from a little Cessna? I don't think so. Google it people!

re: "The de-institutionaliz... (Below threshold)
Hank:

re: "The de-institutionalization of the seriously mentally ill has...led to the rise of the far left in the US that we all pay for today."

A good explanation as any, syb.

Dare I say that using 18th ... (Below threshold)
zipity:

Dare I say that using 18th century scholars writings to validate flying an airplane into a building by a seriously insane individual, thereby endangering the lives of numerous innocent, non-involved human beings in the year 2010 is, by itself, CRAZY!

And just what is the "socia... (Below threshold)
carol:

And just what is the "social contract that representative government is allegedly based on"

"Those who would pass laws ... (Below threshold)
Rance:

"Those who would pass laws in an attempt to keep Crazy People from Doing Crazy Things For Crazy Reasons are only slightly less crazy."

I doubt that I will get much opposition here if I state that blowing yourself up because you expect to be rewarded with 70 virgins in heaven, is doing a crazy thing for a crazy reason.

So are you saying that Homeland Security is a crazy idea?

"Crazy? No. Pissed, enraged... (Below threshold)
apb:

"Crazy? No. Pissed, enraged, vengeful, Yes."

Obviously this first year into the reign of the Jug-Eared Douche (PBUH) shoved this guy over the edge.

I've built my entire career... (Below threshold)
Jake:

I've built my entire career on the idea that the internet was an amazing tool for enlightenment. A tool that would do amazing things for the future of our species. I believe(d) it. I live it. I've worked my ass off to provide tools and tactics to help make this dream a reality. And I've been proud of that work.

Then I read comment threads like this.

Two people are dead. An office building is burned up. Terror (in a certain form) is real for people who were doing nothing other than going to work. And the best this readers of this site can come up with in response is enough to turn my stomach. I live 5 miles away from where two people died yesterday, so maybe this is a bit more real for me than the rest of you. But I don't think that when people die, the tone of this thread should be acceptable.

Jay, you do so well in this post calling out the truth - there are plenty of problems all over the political spectrum, and people on both sides that are nuts. Of course you couldn't just post about that... you had to throw in a partisan swipe at Obama's connections to Ayers. Just because you hid your swipe in the context of non-partisanship doesn't mean it didn't happen, or that it's not shameful.

Like Jeb Babbin, you guys should be ashamed of yourselves that you can't take 1 comment thread and just say that you're saddened that a nut job killed someone and spread a form of terror.

A family is grieving and some of your fellow citizens are shell shocked today. How about stowing your snipes for a day or two on the matter?

The other day the Republica... (Below threshold)
Al Cazam:

The other day the Republican candidate for Texas governor Debra Medina stated that she thought there were "some very good arguments" that the U.S. government was involved in bringing down the WTC on 9/11.

I wonder if they are behind this as well, in some meaningful way.

Pssst! Meet me on the gras... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Pssst! Meet me on the grassy knoll and I'll tell you everything!

Jake, which do you object t... (Below threshold)

Jake, which do you object to -- my calling Ayers a terrorist, my citing Obama's very strong (but now severed) ties to Ayers at a crucial stage in his career, or my implied comparison of Ayers to the Kommie Kamikaze?

For the record, I'm perfectly comfortable with all three...

J.

Sure Jake, although I'm fai... (Below threshold)
zipity:

Sure Jake, although I'm fairly sure these types of atrocities (not tragedy, a tragedy is an unintentional destructive event)is a Rorschach test, that reveal far more than those viewing it appreciate. I sincerely believe your anger is more likely tied to the fact that this is yet another incident that cannot be laid at the feet of the tea parties, and conservatives in general. Like Amy Bishop, or the census worker who committed suicide, and is yet ceaselessly referred to as right-wing incited violence by Lefty Libs.

Hmm... "Commiekaze?"<... (Below threshold)

Hmm... "Commiekaze?"

J.

Unknown caller.... "HELP"</... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Unknown caller.... "HELP"

911 operator... "Hello, what's your problem?"

Unknown caller.... "HELP, QUICK send a Whaaaambulance to comment No. 12"

Jake spare us your righteou... (Below threshold)
chip:

Jake spare us your righteous indignation. I feel for the family of the victim in this. I even feel for the family of the man who perpetrated the act. But, as for feeling for the loss of the nutjob, no I don't feel anything but contempt. I feel the same for those that jumped on the "right wing teabaggers" as the root cause of this. I have prayed for the families that do grieve now because of this man's actions, but I don't feel I need to tell the world, much less you how I choose to show my respect for them. That is a private matter for me, so who do you think you are telling others what they need to put on an internet thread. Personally, you offend me with your self righteous attitude and you sir can take a flying leaping lip lock!

I choose to show my resp... (Below threshold)

I choose to show my respect for them. That is a private matter for me, so who do you think you are telling others what they need to put on an internet thread. Personally, you offend me with your self righteous attitude and you sir can take a flying leaping lip lock!

Well, I think I'm an editor here, whose job it is to offer opinions and back them up with why I hold them.

You, you're a commenter who's entitled to say pretty much what you want, within the bounds of propriety and the Terms of Service here, and free to go elsewhere if you like, or start your own blog.

And you're more than entitled to start your own blog, if you like.

J.

Jay, My comment wa... (Below threshold)
Chip:

Jay,

My comment was directed towards JAKE not you.

Chip, I would have sworn th... (Below threshold)

Chip, I would have sworn that your remark was addressed to "Jay," not "Jake." But dang it, I misread it. I apologize for snipping at you; you are absolutely right with your last remark, and I made a pretty stupid misread. Sorry.

J.

Jay, No problem at... (Below threshold)
Chip:

Jay,

No problem at all, it happens sometimes.




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