01.08.11

Gabrielle Giffords' Gunman: Jared Lee Loughner

The 22 year old accused of shooting Rep. Giffords left digital fingerprints that point to a young man obsessed with government control, radical politics, and sleep deprivation.

Jared Lee Loughner left a long Internet trail. The 22 year old accused of the murder of at least six people in Tucson and the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords posted rambling missives on YouTube and MySpace about the U.S. government and mind control, creating one’s own currency, grammar, and sleepwalking.

Loughner has been described as a white male with short, dark hair. In a YouTube video set against electronic music, he rails against government control of currency, and at one point seems to indicate he may suffer from insomnia. In a Socratic style he uses throughout his writing, Loughner states:

Watch Loughner’s alleged YouTube video.

Video screenshot

“All humans are in need of sleep.
Jared Loughner is a human.
Hence, Jared Loughner is in need of sleep.”

Later, he describes himself as “a sleepwalker—who turns off the alarm clock.” He writes that his interests include grammar, reading, and “conscience dreams." A long list of favorite books includes Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of Oz, Aesop's Fables, and The Odyssey. He also lists Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Despite reading Hitler, there appears to be no evidence that Loughner is a white supremacist, (Discussion forums on the white supremacist website Stormfront.org are largely sympathetic to Rep. Giffords, despite several references to her being Jewish, and applaud her support of gun rights).

So far there is no clear motive for the attack, and according to early reports, Giffords may survive. She is a "Blue Dog," or moderate Democrat, and was a key vote in last year’s health care reform debate. (A glass panel at her Tucson office was smashed a day after the vote). She has also been a critic of Arizona’s immigration law, currently frozen in the courts, and was expected to make immigration reform a key part of her coming term.

He rails against the “mind control” efforts of the government to brainwash citizens, and makes confusing references to terrorism.

The twitter account  of an apparent acquaintance of Loughner, Caitie Parker, contains posts from people who claim to have gone to high school and college with him, and describe him as a philosophical loner who was politically radical and had met once with Giffords and afterwards complained about her intelligence.

In the YouTube video, Loughner appears in rambling notes to be complaining about paying for his education at Pima Community College. He rails against the “mind control” efforts of the government to brainwash citizens, and makes confusing references to terrorism. “If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad Hominem.” At one point he states that he is a “US Military recruit at MEPS in Phoenix” and that during the course of his application, he did not fill out the section about his religion.

“The recruiter wrote on the application: None.”

Eve Conant is a Newsweek staff reporter covering immigration, politics, social and culture issues.