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Interviews

Charles Krauthammer Analyzes Jared Loughner

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: As you may know, Fox News political analyst Dr. Charles Krauthammer is a board-certified psychiatrist, educated at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Krauthammer doesn't often wear that hat, but tonight would like to weigh in on the mass murderer Jared Loughner. Charles joins us now from Washington.

All right. So obviously, you haven't examined the guy, haven't talked to the guy, but you see his mug shot. It looks pretty bizarre there. And what else have you been able to pick up?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there is a ton of evidence about this guy. There's not a shred of it which would support paranoid ravings of people who blame it on Sarah Palin, Fox News, the health care debate or whatever.

All the evidence points to somebody who is deeply, mentally disturbed. You get the evidence of his professors and classmates. One of his professors said that this guy's thoughts were completely unrelated from this world. You got that from other classmates. You got that from the content.

This is not a guy who is reticent. This is a guy who did postings, videos, all kinds of statements. And this was not a guy concerned about health care reform. He was concerned about government controlling minds through grammar. This is guy who talked about conscious dreaming, which to me sounds like hallucinations. This is a guy who every sign points to paranoid schizophrenia.

I haven't practiced in a long time, but I have been in the presence of and had patients who were paranoid schizophrenics, and let me tell you that it's something you don't forget.

In his case, he's got all the signs. And I think it is simply crazy that we are debating the irrelevant, the political climate that supposedly caused these actions, when this is a guy who lived in his own self-created climate, his own world.

O'REILLY: Well, the delusional world in which he lived is one that I have to say a lot of people live. You know, there are a lot of people walking around, and the United States' laws, you cannot -- you cannot incarcerate people because of strange behavior, stuff they put on Facebook. You just can't. You have to wait until they act.

KRAUTHAMMER: And that's -- and that's the debate we ought to be having. I agree with you. But you know, the incidence of schizophrenia is one percent. It's not an insignificant number.

O'REILLY: No.

KRAUTHAMMER: One percent of the population is quite high.

O'REILLY: Thirty million people.

KRAUTHAMMER: And what that means is that you've got people walking around, and you see it. I have been -- for 30 years I've been concerned about how we treat the homeless. A large number of the homeless are clearly homeless, not because of poverty or bad luck, but because they are mentally ill, talking to themselves, etc.

O'REILLY: Yes. And in the Reagan years they let them out. And I just misspoke. It's three million people, not 30 million.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's -- it started in the Kennedy era with the deinstitutionalization, which was supposedly humane. But today what we are doing with this insistence on individual autonomy and the reluctance to want to put anybody into commitment...

O'REILLY: Right.

KRAUTHAMMER: ...is that the homeless are dying on the street, freezing on the streets with their rights on, in a way. And what we're doing with the dangerous mentally ill like this Loughner guy is leaving him loose in society, like the Virginia Tech killer. Remember him? There were all kinds of signs about derangement in him.

But with our laws, it is so hard to commit somebody against his will that they have -- you know, when there were five incidents in the college that Loughner was in, five encounters with the police, the campus police, one of his professors said, "Can't you do anything?" and they answered, "We can't do anything until he does something."

O'REILLY: Until he does something.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, now he's done it, and it's too late.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, let's transfer your psychiatric insights over to the people who have exploited this for political gain. No. 1, we established last night that this is just morally repugnant to do that. We have a 9-year-old girl dead, and you're trying to make political points. What is their neurosis?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I'm not going to analyze Krugman. He can't afford my rates. I do only people out there like Loughner. I don't want to talk about the psychology of writers who obviously are not psychotic. I think psychiatry has a lot to say about serious mental illness and psychosis. I don't think it has a lot to say about neurosis, which is a term that's not even used.

Let me just approach them as people who are writing public figures. What they have done is to cynically seize upon a terrible tragedy and to willfully ignore the evidence and use it as a political club.

I think actually it's not working. There's a poll now that 57 percent of Americans disagree with this idea that somehow there's a climate out there which empowered Loughner to act. I think it's very healthy that a majority of Americans see that. And therefore, I think they would see how cynical are the attempts on the left to turn this into a political event.

O'REILLY: All right. So you subscribe it to cynicism and nothing more?

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes. Cynicism, willful ignorance, and in some cases malice.

O'REILLY: OK. Charles, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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