Superfreaks/ACRA: Superfreaks Season 3 #1

Eagle eagle at
Sun Oct 7 12:46:37 PDT 2007

Tom Russell <milos_parker at> writes:

> The problem is, of course, that Oswald, Leopold, Loeb, and many others
> were not sane.  (They may have been legally sane-- i.e., they knew
> right from wrong-- but they were mentally ill, to put it charitably.)

Which is nearly universal among assassins of Presidents.

I can think of a variety of reasons why that may be the case.  The most
compelling explanation, at least to me, is that, particularly in modern
times, we have a very good corps of bodyguards for the President who are
very good at analyzing and defending against any threat they can predict.
But insane people are, almost by definition, often not predictable using
the same tools you use to analyze regular people.  They can also take
sudden and rather unpredictable action without the sort of planning that a
professional trying to pull off an assassination would go through, they
more frequently don't care about surviving or don't factor their own
survival into their plans in a rational fashion, and they're often loners
and expose fewer chances for old-fashioned intelligence work to uncover
their plans in advance.

The lone lunatic is a very difficult attacker to defend against.  In
retrospect, we can always come up with reasons why "we should have known,"
but I think those explanations are frequently after-the-fact hindsight and
the human brain's habit of finding patterns in everything.

Compare, for example, such assassins to school shooters.  I think you'll
find similar patterns, and a similar difficulty in defending against the
incident in advance.  You can find all sorts of signs after the fact that
"we should have known," but if you try to apply those standards in
practice, you discover that there are lots of people who behave in similar
weird ways and only a very small percentage of them will actually do
something spectacularly violent.

Eagle (eagle at                            Windrider of Crossroads
<>          rec.arts.comics.creative moderator

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