Newsweek, peddling tabloid bunk


I can’t believe they went down this road…LAS VEGAS SHOOTING: WHAT CONTROVERSIAL GENETICS THEORIES SUGGEST ABOUT THE MOTIVE. What controversial “theory” do they have? That his genes made him do it.

The suspect behind the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday might have been at higher risk for criminal behavior because his father was apparently once on the FBI’s most-wanted list, according to controversial theories about links between crime and genetics.

That’s it. That’s all of their “evidence”: his father was a criminal, therefore he might have inherited genes that caused criminality. There’s no consideration of the likelihood that growing up in a family where the father was on the lam from the FBI, was robbing banks, and who was never around the kids. So you’ve got kids from a broken family, and one of them commits a criminal act in life, therefore it’s genes? Weak. They bring in an Authority to help back up their claim.

“I was really blown away by the fact that his father had this history, and it’s really hard to argue that this would have nothing to do with Stephen Paddock’s behavior,” says Deborah Denno, a professor and the founding director of the Neuroscience and Law Center at the Fordham University School of Law in New York City. “He may have inherited certain attributes from his father that would lead to greater impulsivity.”

Deborah Denno is a lawyer, not a neuroscientist, and definitely not a geneticist. Despite that handicap, I wonder what her legal training would say about trying a suspect, not on the evidence of his behavior, but on the criminal history of his father?

The article does bring in a few voices of reason, like J.C. Barnes and Art Caplan, trying to argue that you can’t defend this argument, but too late, the damage is done. Newsweek published a garbage article promoting an indefensible, fact free claim of the genetic determination of behavior. Shame.

Comments

  1. fusilier says

    What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym, @4

    Sayeth Woodie Guthrie:

    As through this world you travel, you’ll meet some funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.
    And as through your life you travel, yes, as through your life you roam,
    You won’t never see an outlaw drive a family from their home

    fusilier

    James 2:24

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Newsweek seems even worse under DailyBeast.com management than it had been under the Washington Post regime.

    At least they haven’t undergone assimilation into the Murdoch borg – yet.

  3. KG says

    “He may have inherited certain attributes from his father that would lead to greater impulsivity.”

    Whatever you can say about Stephen Paddock and his heinous crime, it does not seem to have been committed on impulse.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Oh yeah, about Las Vegas: check out the most, ahem, imaginative scenario I’ve found so far:

    ISIS Gunmen In Vegas Executed US Defense Spy Paddock

    According to a source in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department:: “The LVMPD knows the motive behind the attack, but the FBI will not allow us to release the motive because it implicates the FBI in illegal arms deals and supplying arms to ISIS terrorists within U.S. borders. Stephen Paddock was an undercover FBI agent who participated in multiple illegal arms deals in the Las Vegas area in a gun-running entrapment scheme similar to Fast and Furious. Paddock thought he was engaging in another routine arms transfer, but ISIS had learned about the entrapment scheme and Paddock’s true identity. They killed him and carried out the massacre, and then fled the scene.

    “Everything is being kept under extreme wraps because 1) armed ISIS terrorists are still at large and 2) this is very embarrassing to the FBI and they don’t want their scheme to become public knowledge. . . . People within LVMP are disgusted and are pushing for this information to be released to the public.”

  5. Gregory Greenwood says

    Wasn’t the whole ludicrous ‘criminal gene’ thing comprehensively debunked decades ago?

  6. coragyps says

    He was an accountant, fer Chrissakes? What else could you possibly need to turn you into a mass murderer?

  7. some bastard on the internet says

    Gregory Greenwood #11

    Well, if the Flat-Earth Society can still be a thing…

  8. davidnangle says

    Pierce R. Butler @#9: That’s actually very believable, what with all the chicanery of creating terrorists with ready-made plots out of young Muslims. The only hard part to believe is a team of ISIS members getting into and out of that hotel room, hotel, or city without witnesses noticing them. (Or perhaps witnesses have been suppressed by the FBI?)

    As for selling arms to terrorists… Republicans benefit from terror attacks. Republicans are basically on the same SIDE as ISIS. The timing seems premature… but Republicans are also bad at planning things.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    davidnanagle @ # 15: The only hard part to believe …

    You find it easy to believe that (a) a hit team could whack a well-armed federal agent in a hotel room without him fighting back in a detectable way and (b) with mission accomplished, they would then blast out two windows and, one gun at a time, spray a large crowd with hot lead – yet not make a martyrdom mission out of it but instead vanish as if beamed up to an orbiting starship?

    Your capability for believing things dwarfs mine by orders of magnitude.

  10. says

    “He may have inherited certain attributes from his father that would lead to greater impulsivity.”

    Jebus, this was not an impulsive act. Whipping out a piece and shooting someone in the face during an argument is impulsive. What this guy did was meticulously planned over a period of months.

  11. davidnangle says

    • a hit team could whack a well-armed federal agent in a hotel room without him fighting back in a detectable way

    If he was expecting to invite them in because he was going to make a deal with them, yes.

    • they would then blast out two windows and, one gun at a time, spray a large crowd with hot lead

    One shooting and one or two on lookout? They were thinking of blaming it on one guy, right?

    • yet not make a martyrdom mission out of it

    I don’t think there are as many terrorists so devoted to the concept of martyrdom as people think. 9/11 was four planes. How come it wasn’t forty? Or more?

    • vanish as if beamed up to an orbiting starship

    Remember, we’re positing that the FBI is involved. That part would be covered by them hiding their own tracks.

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    davidnangle @ # 18 – Your/rense.com’s scenario requires both ISIS and the FBI to act entirely out of character, for no discernible advantage to either, and demands the rest of us ignore piles of evidence inconsistent with your/their assertions.

    Pls note, btw, that ISIS has found and deployed dozens of individuals to carry out suicide attacks – hundreds if you count combat missions. The FBI has stung a few dozen chumps with bogus plots, and busted them all before they fired a single shot.

  13. davidnangle says

    I’m not really making assertions. Just openly noodling and trying to see if this conspiracy has legs. How about if it wasn’t the FBI and ISIS… how about Russians carrying out the attack for the purpose of destabilizing the country? Easier for Caucasians to get in and out.

    If it was an inside job by the administration… No, never mind. No one could ever assume that jackhole could ever keep a secret. He would have bragged about the ratings by 7am that morning.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    davidnangle @ # 20: I’m not really making assertions. Just openly noodling …

    Maybe you could go to Hollywood and pitch an “X-Files” sequel sequel.

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