Saturday, January 8, 2011

Did AZ Shooter Mean "Conscious" Not "Conscience"?

First, let's get this out the way. The word is "conscious" not "conscience," but I don't think the shooter knows the difference between the two words. I say this later in the post as well and tell why I think he means "conscious" not "conscience". He was going for "conscious dreamer" not "conscience dreamer" in my opinion.

I am including Congresswoman Giffords's comments from last spring in which she said she felt targeted because she was included on a list of Democrats in Sarah Palin's crosshairs. According to CNN, Sarah Palin has said she didn't mean for anyone to take the crosshairs imagery literally, and a March 25, 2010 post at a supporter's blog, Sarah Palin Web Brigade, declares that any accusations that the list with the crosshairs image is dangerous rhetoric is just "silly."

I think it's clear that some people don't understand what rhetoric encompasses. At, for instance, on the post about today's shootings, some person has left nasty comments, but claims not to understand why anyone would say he or she has been uncivil. I continue to say that some people don't grasp fully the power of the messages they create or the words that come out of their mouths.

As for Jared Lee Loughner, given his writings and list of favorite books, I don't think he knew what he believed and there's no evidence yet that he even knew Sarah Palin had posted this list or even that it existed. So, while I think Sarah Palin's hit list was in bad taste and irresponsible, I can't say that it had any direct bearing on Loughner's actions. The young man may just be a natural born fruit loop who met Giffords once and was disillusioned when she showed him no special attention.

Along with the rest of the nation, I am greatly saddened by the shootings in Arizona. My heart goes out to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords's family as she recovers, the loved ones of federal Chief Judge John Roll and the parents of the nine-year-old who died. To all the shooting victims of Jared Lee Loughner, I send prayers.

Also, even though I think he was speaking from a place of grief and anger, I agree with Clarence Dupnik, Sheriff of Pima County, who thinks we Americans indulge too much vitriolic political rhetoric and that creates a climate where unstable people may be tipped toward committing violent acts. Arizona has merely winked at its growing clime of hate speech. And yet, already Dupnik is being slammed for his statements, as I suspected he would be as soon as the words left his mouth.

Someone writing at the Tucson Citizen under the label "Arizona conservative intellectual" said:
It's outrageous that Democrat Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is exploiting this tragedy for political reasons. He said about Arizona, "We have become the capital, the mecca for prejudice and bigotry." In reality? Loughner's classmate described him as "he was left wing, quite liberal."
That's a case of a guilty dog howling loudest. Dupnik didn't single out a particular party or ideological wing when he made his statement, and yet that conservative assumes Dupnik is speaking only to the right wing. Is that really a case of that conservative subconsciously acknowledging that he knows people on his team like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin frequently make statements that imply a call to violence?

But I'll have to write about that another day. I already said on Facebook that I think the right wing will shout that Loughner is on the left's side and the left wing will shout that he is on the right's side. The fact is that he's just another nut who has been obsessed with a variety of ideologies, and that brings me to my next point, which is that Loughner projects his insecurities onto others.

I looked briefly at the shooter's YouTube Channel and the text elsewhere. The New York Times is correct:
They (his online writings) speak of being a “conscience dreamer”; becoming a treasurer of a new currency; controlling “English grammar structure”; mentioned brainwashing and suggested that he believed he had powers of mind control.
Loughner fancies others to be unintelligent and illiterate, even the Congresswoman, and himself to be a student of English grammar. So, he may suffer from some kind of mania that makes him think he is superior to others. In addition, his writings sound like the ramblings of someone with paranoid schizo-affective disorder. For instance, he thinks that the CIA has been watching his page.

But what I noticed most, after his twisted syntax, was his use of the word "conscience." I would bet money that he means the word "conscious" and doesn't understand the difference between the two words. Many people say "conscience," the "inner sense of right and wrong" when they mean "conscious," to "be fully aware." The people most likely to make this kind of error consistently, in my opinion, are those with reading comprehension challenges.

Furthermore, "conscious dreaming" is lucid dreaming. That would fit more with Loughner's ideas about mind control, the kind you would see associated with conscious or lucid dreaming in movies such as Inception. He is very concerned that the government will be able to control his mind, and as you can see in this video of his, he thinks he's mastered the power to control minds himself. (His obsessions about currency being backed up by gold and his belief that the Constitution is in jeopardy, however, do make me think of some of Beck's and Palin's rhetoric.) Given the strange range of his book selections combined with his logic issues in his writing, I think that he has problems with understanding language, which is why he is preoccupied with the literacy and intelligence levels of others. Sad.

But now on CNN, Don Lemon is reading the names of the victims who died; Arizona authorities are searching for an accomplice and that is all I can grasp at this time.

A friend posted this to Facebook, and I decided to add it to this post. It's the same interview with Giffords on MSNBC posted up top about inflammatory rhetoric and her offices being vandalized during the height of the health care reform debates. But just in case the YouTube video vanishes, I want to still have a working one here. It's that important.

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Gena said...

I trust what you say. I still think that whack job was influenced by cultural memes but what does it matter. I'm still angry.

It did not have to be this way. It seems that the country needs this level of vile to function.

We don't seem to know how to dial it back.

I pray that I am wrong.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Oh, I think he was influenced by cultural memes, Gena. However, I think what people can't see is that he was influenced by a mix of messages, and his brain attached to something that he perceived to be a call to violence.

I also think his friend on Twitter who's getting attention and saying stuff such as he was "left wing" may have assumed that because when she talked to him he used some of the same language or did some of the same things that he thought like she did. But she wasn't tuned in enough to catch that something was off about him.

His writings indicate he'd merged many ideas together and thought he knew better than everyone else, so what we have here is a hybrid gone nuts.

What will happen is people will be so busy trying to prove he didn't swing from their camp to that grocery store that they will miss the big picture, which is we still need to be careful when we speak and consider what our words suggest to others. I agree we need to "dial it back."

I hope we don't have to have something worse happen before we understand that.

msladydeborah said...

To engage in the art of civil discourse, you must be prepared to do so. This is something that too many people who have more than 15 minutes of media coverage fail to do. It is not a task for those who feel most comfortable operating in the vaccum of mental low tide.

I find myself angry over the use of gender to protect Palin at this particular time. I am hard pressed to rally around any woman who likens herself to a pitt bull and a damn bear. I am a woman, I ain't no animal. The whole idea that her womanhood is the reason why she's catching heat over the target, is not a feminist issue. At least, not in my world. It always urks me when women use this argument to defend her simple minded behind.

Now that the meaning of target has taken on a real identity, everybody wants to clarify the meaning of the statements. Sorry. It doesn't work like that in the real world. While I'm sure their seats are targeted as takeable in the next election cycle, it is also obvious that someone connected to that imagery and rhetoric very differently.

Suddnely, we are hearing the responses that should of been issued out months ago. Tone it down is an after the fact action at this point in the game.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Deborah, you're "on point," as you would say. :-)

I hope journalists and others return to Anil Dash's excellent piece "What is Sarah Plain Saying?"

I wish Palin would study that essay herself because I don't think she understands what she's saying and she speaks often from her lower extremities without checking facts, something we can see from the whole Susan B. Anthony move she tried to pull.


AV Flox said...

His list of favorite books is a combination of standard high school reading assignments -- possibly the last books he ever read to completion; commonly known stories used in mind-control that he probably read about online such as The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland; and political and philosophical works that may in some way reflect his fledgling ideology.

Intellectually, I'm interested in why the more ubiquitous "1984" and "The Catcher in the Rye" are missing from that list.

But that's completely irrelevant. I really don't think the books will tell us more than that he was an individual concerned with the oppression of the masses and the means used to control them, and caught between the desire to liberate them and to himself control them.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Thank you for commenting, AV. I agree that he probably hadn't read the books since they were originally assigned, but he had two books on his list that were not assigned, Mien Kampf and The Communist Manifesto. Also, he is a high school drop out who couldn't make it through community college due to his mental illness. There's nothing in his past, to my knowledge, that indicates he was anything special, just especially disturbed.

I don't think he was concerned about the masses except in the way someone with a Messianic complex is concerned.