Jared Lee Loughner
|“||I can't trust the current government because of fabrications. The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.||„|
|~ Loughner's thoughts on "government mind control."|
Jared Lee Loughner (born September 10, 1988) is a former student of Mountain View High School in Tucson, AZ, who is best known for being the perpetrator of the 2011 Tucson shooting in which he killed six people and seriously injured 13, including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was his primary target.
Prior to committing the shooting, he shot a video of himself walking around the campus of Pima Community College (his withdrawn college) in search of students who have been tortured and accusing the college of committing "genocide in America", as well as insulting a professor who apparently gave him a B grade on an assignment. He also claimed the college's bookstore sold books that were illegal under the United States Constitution, though he does not elaborate on why this is.
This video was shot illegally and subsequently uploaded to YouTube. Due to the illegal shooting of the video, it was taken down by The Wall Street Journal among other news organizations. College police officers took notice of it and suspended both Loughner and his father, Randy, informing him that he would need to take a mental health evaluation if he wanted to return.
In response to this, he caused a mass shooting on January 8th, 2011. His main target, however, was state representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was participating in a constituent meeting in the parking lot of a Safeway supermarket. She was shot, but survived. Loughner did, however, manage to kill 6 others students and wounding 13. He was discovered to have used a 9mm Glock pistol.
After his arrest, two medical evaluations diagnosed Loughner with paranoid schizophrenia and ruled him incompetent to stand trial. He was placed on medication while in jail, as part of his treatment. He was again judged incompetent in May 2012. Two months later, he was judged competent to stand trial, and at the hearing, he pleaded guilty to 19 counts. In November 2012, he was sentenced to life plus 140 years in federal prison. He is currently incarcerated at FMC Rochester in Rochester, Minnesota, a prison for inmates with specialized health issues.
Zach Osler, a high-school classmate of Loughner's and his closest friend, indicated that Loughner's life began to unravel after his high-school girlfriend broke up with him. He began to abuse alcohol and other drugs, including cannabis (marijuana), cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, and Salvia divinorum (a hallucinogen legal in Arizona.)
After struggling with drugs for more than two years, Loughner gave up alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs in late 2008 and has not used since, according to one of his longtime friends. The U.S. Army confirmed that Loughner had been rejected as "unqualified" for service in 2008. According to military sources, Loughner admitted to marijuana use on numerous occasions during the application process.
Former classmate Caitie Parker remembers Loughner as a "pot head". Loughner has a history of drug use, having been arrested in September 2007 for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. "I haven't seen him in person since '07," Parker recalled in early 2011. "I'm looking back at this [as] a 14–19 year old...who knows if any of us knew what for sure we were yet."
His friend Zach Osler noted that conspiracy theories had a profound effect on Loughner. He was a member of the message board Above Top Secret, which discusses conspiracy theories; members of the site did not respond warmly to posts believed to be from his account. Loughner espoused conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks, the New World Order, and believed in a 2012 apocalypse, among other controversial viewpoints. Reports appearing after the shooting noted similarities between the statements made by Loughner and those publicized by the far-right conspiracy theorist David Wynn Miller.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the Anti-Defamation League reviewed messages by Loughner, and concluded that there was a "disjointed theme that runs through Loughner's writings", which was a "distrust for and dislike of the government." It "manifested itself in various ways" – for instance, in the belief that the government used the control of language and grammar to brainwash people, the notion that the government was creating "infinite currency" without the backing of gold and silver, or the assertion that NASA was faking spaceflights. Kathryn Olmsted of UC Davis wrote that Loughner possessed a "toxic jumble of left- and right-wing conspiracy theories, his sources ranging from Marx to Adolf Hitler to heavy metal."
Records show that Loughner was registered as an independent and voted in 2006 and 2008, but not in 2010.
Loughner's high-school friend Zach Osler said, "He did not watch TV; he disliked the news; he didn't listen to political radio; he didn't take sides; he wasn't on the Left; he wasn't on the Right." The tone of Loughner's online writings and videos from immediately before the attack were described by The Guardian as "almost exclusively conservative and anti-government, with echoes of the populist campaigning of the Tea Party movement".
Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center said that Loughner's position that currency not backed by a gold or silver standard is worthless was a "hallmark of the far right and the militia movement." Jesse Walker of the American libertarian magazine Reason expressed deep skepticism at the connections drawn by Potok.
According to a former friend, Bryce Tierney, Loughner had expressed a longstanding dislike for Gabrielle Giffords. Tierney recalled that Loughner had often said that women should not hold positions of power. He repeatedly derided Giffords as a "fake". This belief intensified after he attended her August 25, 2007 event when she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer his question: "What is government if words have no meaning?" Loughner kept Giffords' form letter, which thanked him for attending the 2007 event, in the same box as an envelope which was scrawled with phrases like "die bitch" and "assassination plans have been made". Zane Gutierrez, a friend, later told The New York Times that Loughner's anger would also "well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.
Views on religion
Journalists had speculated that Loughner was anti-Semitic due to his attack on Rep. Giffords, who is Jewish, but the Anti-Defamation League's analysis of the messages by Loughner found that he had a more generalized dislike of religion, and of government. A police report noted that he had previously been caught making graffiti associated with Christian anti-abortion groups.
Loughner has been described as an anti-theist by those who knew him. Loughner declined to state his religion in his Army application. In his "Final Thoughts" video, Loughner stated, "No, I don't trust in God!", in reference to the United States national motto printed on coins and paper currency, "In God We Trust". He expressed a dislike for all religions, and was particularly critical of Christians.
List of fatalities