Who Shot Gabrielle Giffords?

One Year Later, a Look at Jared Lee Loughner and the Community He Lived In

Do communities under stress create their own random bursts of violence, in the same way that mountaintops create their own thunderstorms out of high-flowing air currents?

The question has long intrigued social scientists. The criminologists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling advanced the famous “broken windows” theory in 1982, postulating that the breaking of a single window in an abandoned building encourages the rapid breaking of all the windows because a certain cosmic permission has been given for vandalism.

Social context is a force that influences individual decisions more than we …