The brainwashing people through grammar aspect of the Tucson shooting is something I’ve been trying to figure out. It’s entirely new to me and completely baffling, but it seems that it’s fairly prevalent among the tinfoil hat crowd. Sovereign Citizen whackjobs have created their own set of legal theories to go along with the “mathematical interface for language” nonsense concocted by the previously mentioned David-Wynn: Miller. This stuff is all over Youtube; as an example, check out the results of a search for “Accepted For Value,” a phrase which these tax protestor weirdos apparently believe they can use to magically discharge debts, back taxes, etc. simply by writing it on any bills that show up. (Something about it then being paid outt’ve your secret Treasury account that’s held underground in Manhattan, if I’m following it well enough to even describe the lunacy in words.) As you can see they’re big on making their own documents, passports, licenses, etc. There are a lot of hucksters associated with this stuff too, offering to sell you secret information that’ll let you opt outt’ve personhood, discharge your debt, ignore taxes, and all kinds of other wonderful stuff. Hell, you can probably learn how to shit solid gold bricks if you eat food that’s punctuated correctly.
Seems that the S.C. movement is also big on so-called paper terrorism, ie. clogging up the courts with frivolous filings. In some cases this leads to cases being dropped — when the relevant authority decides that the flood of time-wasting paperwork isn’t worth dealing with over a dog licensing case for instance.* From what I’ve read so far, people misunderstanding the cause-and-effect relationship in these instances seems to be where the imaginary S.C. legalese mumbo-jumbo gains an air of credibility. Along those lines, these ideas are understandably gaining traction in prisons as desperate inmates and accused look for ways to get themselves freed. Washington Monthly has a piece from 2008 where they get into the case of some black Baltimore drug dealers who end up trying to use this line of “defense” — which originated with the Posse Comitatus and other hate groups — to get off after being charged for selling drugs & murdering other dealers.
By no means am I making light of what happened in Tucson, and at this point it’s not even known where Loughner came up with his theories about the grammar stuff. Separate from its potential involvement in Loughner’s motivations though, I find this whole set of imaginary legal theories and arbitrary grammatical/linguistic rules absolutely fascinating. They have theories about the “Universal Postal Union” controlling the world, the Accepted for Value thing, and a long list of other equally nutty stuff. According to the SPLC article about the Kain incident there are some 300,000 or so people in the US who’re associated with this movement, and I figure they can’t all be crazy. Do you suppose this is like religion to these people? That’s the only way I can come up with to understand how people are retreating so fully into a fantasy world.
*This bit is under the “Redeeming the Strawman” heading