Why does a person buy a firearm, travel across the country and then shoot two guards at the Pentagon?
Because a man who recently did just that also died in the shooting, we may not get an answer to the question. But the national media came up with several guesses:
The man, John Patrick Bedell, was a skeptic of the official 9/11 theory (a "9/11 Truther").
Bedell suffered from bipolar disorder.
Bedell used marijuana.
But what did any of these labels stuck to Bedell have to do with his use of violence?
Millions of people in the United States and across the world tell booksellers, blogs and pollsters that they do not believe the official theory as to 9/11 that nineteen Arab suicide hijackers took over four planes and crashed three of them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Yet no one who studies crime has stated any rise in crime among these truthers or any connection between believing in an alternative theory and using violence.
As for his apparently untreated mental illness, approximately 5.7 million people in our nation suffer from bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive illness. But this illness causes a person to drift from a depressive phase in which their brain slows down to a manic phase in which they become excited. In the first phase, a person with the disorder typically cannot concentrate well enough to plan harm to another and in the second phase, the person is too giddy with excitement to want to harm anyone.