It begins: Was Loughner driven to kill by the music he was listening to?

posted at 9:57 pm on January 11, 2011 by Allahpundit

Sure, why not? If we’re going to start blaming cultural influences, let’s go nuts. (So to speak.) Weed, heavy metal, Sarah Palin — was there no dangerous stimulus to which this delicate mind wasn’t subjected?

In particular, a pounding metal song used as the soundtrack for the lone video Loughner marked as a favorite on YouTube — one in which an American flag is burned by a hooded man — contains lyrics that reference bodies hitting a floor. The video for the song itself — a 2001 release from the band Drowning Pool titled “Bodies” — features one of the band’s members screaming instructions to what appears to be a mental patient housed in an insane asylum.

“You’re never sure what caused an individual to commit a specific act,” Brad Bushman, a communications and psychology professor at Ohio State University, told the Washington Post’s J. Freedom du Lac. “But I’ve been doing research on violent media for 20 years, and the evidence is that it leads to aggressive behavior. It’s not the only factor that leads to violence, but it’s one of them.”…

The band reiterated that stance when it issued a statement about the controversy surrounding the song and Loughner on its website on Monday.

“We were devastated this weekend to learn of the tragic events that occurred in Arizona and that our music has been misinterpreted, again,” the statement reads. ” ‘Bodies’ was written about the brotherhood of the mosh pit and the respect people have for each other in the pit. If you push others down, you have to pick them back up. It was never about violence. It’s about a certain amount of respect and a code.”

Follow the link up top to watch the music video. I wonder how much of this stuff we’re going to hear at Loughner’s trial as part of his insanity claims or in the sentencing phase as a mitigating factor. If his lawyer’s smart, she’ll take the “climate of hate” rhetoric and run with it; that’ll turn him into a liberal cause celebre (and earn her lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of camera time) and, at the very least, probably guarantee that he’ll be spared a death sentence lest he be “martyred” or whatever.

Speaking of an insanity defense, here’s a short but informative clip from tonight’s NBC Nightly News revealing something I didn’t know: Arizona actually has no insanity defense. Rather, they provide for a verdict of “guilty but insane,” which means Loughner would be sent to a mental hospital initially and, if he’s able to recover his bearings after treatment, would then be sent to prison to serve his term. That’ll actually make it much easier for a jury to find insanity, I think. If they know there’s no risk of him walking free, they don’t have to strain to avoid the seemingly obvious conclusion that, yes indeed, this guy’s off his rocker. On the other hand, the fact that he left those letters stating that he planned ahead and that he was undertaking an “assassination” will make it awfully hard to say that he didn’t know right from wrong when he grabbed his gun and headed out the door. Exit question: Desperate new defense theory — was he “lucidly dreaming”?

Update: Via e-mail, Ed reminds me that Loughner is facing both federal and state charges, so yes, an insanity defense would apply at the federal level.

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Really? “Bodies”? That song is tame.

besser tot als rot on January 12, 2011 at 10:02 AM

But rap music? Totally disconnected from any violent acts committed by its performers or audience.

Crawford on January 12, 2011 at 11:24 AM

I blame ozzy / judas priest.

Greed on January 12, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Weed, heavy metal, Sarah Palin — was there no dangerous stimulus to which this delicate mind wasn’t subjected?

That poor boy, he was bound to snap.

Greed on January 12, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Unless the left is saying that Palin intended the gun-sights (granted arguendo) to be taken as messages to kill congressmen–really, no stretch for the Psychic Liberal(!!) act–then it was an unfortunate symbol–that if it had anything to do with getting Giffords killed was mainly a misinterpretation of the symbols–thus, how would a misinterpretation of Bodies be any less a grounds for action.

We’re talking about a likely schizophrenic here–if the point of our actions is to remove anything that a schizophrenic might misinterpret, then Bodies is on the same level.

I trust liberals do not follow that argument. Why do that when they can substitute some sort of censorship projection onto me. It’s easier than following an argument.

When you’re talking about a guy that didn’t understand why no one could understand him, misunderstandings are quite the point. If Drowning Pool knows that quite many people misinterpret their lyrics, isn’t that a good feedback on how they need to avoid that type of “rhetoric”?

Again, libs are the people that fight tooth and nail for the life-enriching speech of “Oooh. Oh that’s so good. Yeah. Yeah. That’s it.” and want to take political speakers off the radio for what they read in to their speech.

Axeman on January 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM

As I said, violin. It’ll fix whatever ails ya.
whatcat on January 12, 2011 at 2:47 AM

That’s pretty. There’s a lot to be said for watching the artist play, too.

Speaking of violins, I was astonished by the music of Millennium. The content wasn’t exactly relaxing ;-) , but attention to music is rare on television. – Feedie

Never saw the show, Feedie, but if the clip is representative of the series music, the strings could be synthesized. Not sure, tho.
I’ve done some scoring for film/video, which makes me probably a tad more critical than probably most folks (read: the guy’s a music snob, heh). The ominous synth pounding is too overused for my taste. You’ll catch such overuse more commonly in the contemporary “horror” film genre. (Compare w/the “classic” Dracula (1931)which has virtually no soundtrack.)
At any rate, I think the music in the clip would have been more effective if all the extraneous synth tracks had been muted and the strings track(s) been brought up by to stand alone. But, eh, that’s just one fella’s opinion.

whatcat on January 12, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Speaking of violins, I was astonished by the music of Millennium. The content wasn’t exactly relaxing ;-) , but attention to music is rare on television. – Feedie

Feedie – just by way of a “for instance” on how very easy it is for just about anyone with a minimal amount of music knowledge and a PC & elec keyboard to emulate strings:
Hard Violin Synth FL 7 Beat Tutorial

whatcat on January 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Heavy metal is stupid music that is sometimes listened to by intelligent people for reasons they have difficulty explaining in an intelligent way.

emerson7 on January 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

If we’re going to include Palin, then we’re clearly not limiting causes to those influences Loughner actually was exposed to. So why not say MSNBC, NFL Football, or Barney the Dinosaur?

Or perhaps we can say that extreme islamic teachings motivated him, and we could crackdown on Islamic terrorists. Or perhaps we could claim he was motivated by government intrusion at airports, and eliminate airport screenings.

Why, when freed of the need to attach motivations to things Loughner actually read/heard/experienced, you could blame ANYthing. It’s good enough for Paul Krugman.

hawksruleva on January 12, 2011 at 5:01 PM

1 – Music has nothing to do with it.
2 – More important then that, Drowning Pool is NOT metal. C’mon people!

madne0 on January 12, 2011 at 6:32 PM

hawksruleva on January 12, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Good point. When the pundits say we have no way of knowing whether or not political rancor affected him, we also have no way of knowing whether or not he did this to bring the Muslim Messiah, either. Should we crack down on Muslim rhetoric as well?

Axeman on January 13, 2011 at 2:03 PM