Massacre In Tuscon

The following is an excerpt of an article that will be included in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Orgonomy.  It is being published here with kind permission of the author, Edward Chaska M.D.

Referring to the January 8th shooting of 20 people by accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner, Dr. Chaska writes:

“Overlooked in the media’s debate over the tragic shootings of Congresswoman Giffords and nineteen others is the deadly interaction between marijuana and mental illness.  As a psychiatric consultant in a drug and rehabilitation facility I see dozens of young men and women who present in psychotic and violent states from the use of marijuana and other drugs.  Often, after three or four months of treatment and abstinence from marijuana, they are entirely changed human beings.  Marijuana users are three times as likely to develop a psychotic episode and twice as likely to develop overt symptoms of schizophrenia as are people who do not smoke marijuana.  They also suffer higher rates of anxiety and depression. Marijuana inhibits brain development and interferes with natural empathic feelings for other human beings.

“In Pennsylvania, thanks to ‘children’s rights’ advocates, children over 14 can refuse psychiatric or drug and alcohol treatment, even if their parents insist they need it.  If the media wants someone to blame for this tragedy they need look no further than the marijuana lobby and the ‘children’s rights’ advocates who interfere with a parent’s right to get treatment for their children with psychiatric and drug problems.”

With his knowledge of characterology, the trained medical orgonomist can accurately identify and effectively treat youngsters who are at risk for developing psychotic symptoms and are prone to destructive behavior long before they become violent. Mr. Loughner, who had a past history of drug use, may not have been suffering from classic schizophrenic symptoms prior to the attack but nevertheless his behavior indicated that he had a character diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia  with impulsive and homicidal tendencies. His history of marijuana use put him at greater risk to have a violent psychotic reaction. The ability of the medical orgonomist to make an early therapeutic intervention based on an accurate character diagnosis can help to prevent future tragedies.


  1. Although Dr Chaska’s emphasis on marijuana and its psychotic components are valid with regard to Loughner’s illness, in my opinion it is too narrow grounds for a comprehensive understanding of this massacre and the social background leading up to it. Being that this blog is a “social network”, perhaps there is a need to address this tragedy in a timely fashion and in a wider sense, and therefore I propose to add the following remarks. (Apologies to Dr Chaska if his forthcoming article in the Journal of Orgonomy addresses other factors as well).

    On a personal level, the shooting was in a way akin to 9/11: a) madness with hostile intent was visible and that all were vulnerable; b) there were many signs of danger prior to the incidents; c) the security forces were confused and hampered; d) in the aftermath there was a sense of shock with disgust, disbelief at the enormity of the damage, a uniting of citizens, and mourning by all; and lastly the media analyses were superficial and mostly lacking.

    This is not about political assassinations as the media initially claimed (since nineteen others besides Representative Giffords have been killed or wounded), but about trying to understand what occurred in the perpetrator’s mind and the social fabric that might have contributed to this tragedy. Let us look at some known facts: a) we know that he had numerous run-ins with the law both on and off school campus but was never detained nor ordered a mandatory hospitalization for his bizarre and threatening behavior. As Dr Chaska points out, there is an anathema and guilt around forcing a mentally unstable person to be institutionalized, and we can thank the “patient advocates” who are more interested in politics than facts for this mess; b) we also know that his home-life was unstable and he had altercations with his father; c) he experimented with numerous mind-altering drugs; and d) he was sexually frustrated. On the last fact, it is worth noting that all major mass-killings in the last decade were carried out by young or middle-aged males who did not have sexual partners (stating they felt like “outsiders”) and jealous of the males that had girlfriends. There was never a case of a man in a loving relationship who commits mass murder, nor will there ever be one in my opinion.

    The most fitting metaphor for not being able to see the dangers ahead and which points to ocular armor (conscious or unconscious “blindness”), was the peace officer who stopped Loughner a few hours before his rampage- for running a red light-but found nothing out of the ordinary and to boot, let him get away with just a warning instead of a ticket. In the follow-up review by the sheriff’s office, the officer stated that he, “Had a pleasant conversation with Mr. Loughner”. Incidents like the above point to a distorted perception that is endemic in our times. This was brought upon by the breakdown of the authoritarian social order during the turbulent 1960’s. Whereas the previous generations feared and respected authority and the sexual repression entwined with this, the new anti-authoritarianism which emerged sought to tear down both the personal and social armor in their longing to be free. But as Reich has pointed out with his own experience of the communist revolution and his patients, armored human character is incapable of freedom and any attempt at it soon degenerates into a “license” for secondary destructive impulses. As the previously restrained sexual impulses were given “license”, the muscular armor which held them at bay also broke down–typically the pelvic region. As is known in orgone therapy, if the pelvic region is opened up before the whole body is structurally capable of tolerating it psychosis and destruction can ensue. As is pointed out in The Emotional Plague, an otherwise dis-functioning human/society cannot maintain an open pelvis indefinitely, but has to re-armor some other place; in the anti-authoritarian personality of our time the ocular segment re-armors. With this ocular armor, the person starts living in the head exclusively at the expense of core feelings and cannot really comprehend his environment objectively; this is where the tragedy of the Tucson massacre ties-in.

    It is also true that there were some people who knew Loughner and feared for their safety and tried to warn authorities, but were either shrugged-off or the police did not show adequate responsibility for the public welfare. Although some were clearly perceptive and viscerally felt the danger, society-at-large failed to act due to the lack of insight into mental disease and lack of integration of their different social responsibilities (i.e. police, school, mental hospitals and gun control). This lack of integration which is a symptom of the ocular block prevents the rational laws that we have in place from functioning as they should, and possible could have prevented this tragedy.

    • Mr. Malek, you have correctly provided the sociological background of this tragic event.

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