Jared Loughner, the accused shooter in the Tuscon, Arizona murders of 6 people and dozens of others wounded — including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — apparently had some issues. What exactly those “issues” were, we may not know until he is properly examined by a mental health professional. But his YouTube videos, combined with descriptions of the last few months of his life, suggests something serious was going on.
I won’t play armchair psychologist here and make a diagnosis from afar. I think it’s a bit irresponsible when Kate Pickert and John Cloud writing over at TIME, suggest that among the 6 warning signs of mental illness, it includes things like smoking marijuana (sorry, this is not a sign of mental illness!), had five contacts with campus police (again, not a sign of mental illness), and he started scaring his friends (not included in any of the mental disorders symptom criteria I’m aware of).
The other signs of psychosis or schizophrenia — disorganized thoughts, paranoia — may indeed be signs of a mental illness. But we simply don’t know in Loughner’s case, because he was never seen by a mental health professional. They could also be signs of heavy drug or alcohol use… or something else altogether (like an undiagnosed brain tumor).
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