Federal sources have identified the suspected gunman in the tragic shooting of 12 people as 22 year old Jared Lee Loughner. While most attention has been focused on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot point blank in the head and is now in critical condition, at least six people were killed, including federal Judge John Roll, 30 year old Gabe Zimmerman, a Giffords staffer who was engaged to be married, and a 9 year old girl.
Law enforcement, reporters and bloggers are now pouring over background material, including Loughner's Facebook and MySpace pages and his YouTube channel to try to understand what might have prompted the deadly shooting.
MSNBC reports that his now-removed MySpace page had "a mysterious ‘Goodbye friends’ message published hours before the shooting. It also exhorted his friends to ‘Please don’t be mad at me.’ Screenshots that appear to come from that page show a handgun on top of a U.S. history textbook." But there does not appear to be an explicit political manifesto, as of yet.
MSNBC also notes that in one video, Loughner claimed to have been a military recruit but "NBC’s Pete Williams reported that U.S. Army officials confirmed that Loughner attempted to volunteer, but was rejected."
A 22-year-old Arizona woman in Arizona, Caitie Parker, claimed on her Twitter feed that she went to high school and college with the gunman, and was in a band with him, MSNBC reported. "She described his politics in the past as “left wing, quite liberal, & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.” She also described him as having a lot of friends “until he got alcohol poisoning in ’06″ and dropped out of school. “Mainly loner very philosophical.”
Parker described the gunman meeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords previously: “He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in ’07, asked her a question & he told me she was ‘stupid & unintelligent.’”
Loughner’s prosaic YouTube videos seem very strange, some claiming they signal mental illness, others holding off on making that assessment.
In his "Hello" video, Loughner writes:
“Hello, my name is Jared Lee Loughner.
This video is my introduction to you! My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream – sadly.
Firstly, the current government officials are in power for their currency, but I’m informing you for your new currency! If you’re treasurer of a new money system, then you’re responsible for the distributing of a new currency. We now know – the treasurer for a new money system, is the distributor of the new currency. As a result, the people approve a new money system which is promising new information that’s accurate, and we truly believe in a new currency. Above all, you have your new currency, listener?
Secondly, my hope – is for you to be literate! If you’re literate in English grammar, then you comprehend English grammar. The majority of people, who reside in District-8, are illiterate – hilarious. I don’t control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure.
Thirdly, I know who’s listening: Government Officials, and the People. Nearly all the people, who don’t know this accurate information of a new currency, aren’t aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn’t have happen.
In conclusion, my ambition – is for informing literate dreamers about a new currency; in a few days, you know I’m conscience dreaming! Thank you!”
In “My Final Thoughts,” he writes, in part (after a jumble of letters and numbers about years BCE and ADE):
"If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon.
I define terrorist.
Thus a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon.
If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.
You call me a terrorist.
Thus, the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.
Every United States Military recruit at MEPS in Phoenix is receiving one mini bible before the tests.
Jared Loughner is a United States Military recruit at MEPS in Phoenix.
Therefore, Jared Loughner is receiving one mini bible before the tests.
I didn’t write a belief on my Army application, and the recruiter wrote on the application: None.
The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America’s Constitution.
You don’t have to accept the federalist laws.
Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws.
You’re literate, listener?
If property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution then the revolutionary’s from the revolution are in control of the land and the laws.
The property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution.
Thus, the revolutionary’s from the revolution are in control of the land and the laws.
In conclusion, reading the second United States Constitution, I can’t trust the government because of the ratifications: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.
No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver!
No! I won’t trust in God!
What’s government if words don’t have meaning?"
To Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, that sounds like schizophrenia:
“I am not a mental health professional, but my best friend in high school succumbed to schizophrenia. I also have two cousins with the disorder, although I have not been in contact with them in decades. These videos, to me, look hauntingly familiar, as soon as I saw the first one. don't think so. Look at some of the other videos. He uses the same kind of language and "grammar." In effect, he thinks he's inventing his own language and currency.
I know there are a lot of people tempted to indict the Tea Party. About an hour ago, I would have been first in line with the pitchfork and torches. But I don't think that's what's going on here. Yes, Loughner's talk of language, currency, unconstitutional police actions -- these are all topics that are favorites of tea-partiers, but the concepts that the tea party is pushing are utterly absent in Loughner's videos. Instead, what clear to me is that he is trying to do what a lot of people with the most serious cases of schizophrenia are trying to do. He is trying to create some sort of ordered structure out of the chaotic shards of his perceptions. And failing. I've seen this too many times before.”
Rep. Gabrielle Gifford being sworn in, with House Speaker John Boehner
Mentally ill, self-described terrorist, Tea Party or liberal, to Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post, this tragedy means the loss of access to congressional representatives by ordinary voters:
“The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a watershed event in many ways, some of which we cannot yet know, but one of the clearest and simplest is this: Congress and its members are about to be permanently quarantined, physically isolated, from the people it and they represent.
Thirty years ago, there was no such thing as security on Capitol Hill or for members. Members of the public were free to roam the halls, and police presence was practically invisible. There were no barricades around the grounds, and even the leadership rarely had any form of protection.
The Hill was the very model of the People’s Place — and in that respect it was an inspirational symbol of our democracy.”
Given the level of incivility that occurred on Capitol Hill before the new Congress was sworn in, an incivility that lead to the hostile environment where people of both parties were considered “the enemy” by the other and by an angry and frightened citizenry – we’re going to need some inspiration and let’s hope it’s in the form of continued openness and democracy.
(Crossposted at LGBT POV)