By Heidi Hiatt
Earlier today I briefly combed the web for background information on Jared Loughner, the alleged gunman who murdered six people and critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. He shot 13 other people as well.
Here’s what I was looking for, because it is almost always there: definite warning signs that he was going to do something like this.
We forensic psychology students have dissected similar cases, and almost without exception, there is some rant posted on a social networking site, some odd reg flag behavior, or some letter that signals that the suspect is at their boiling point.
Many people are dissatisfied with the government. Many people own guns. Those are not red flags in and of themselves, and I am very pro-Second Amendment because of my own life being threatened with firearms.
I mean the illogical diatribes, the specific threats to harm individuals, the mentally irrational hatred that surges through the subject before they go on a killing spree. Sometimes they appear to be saying goodbye.
This article from The Australian is exactly what I expected to find. I’ll post the link and text below.
If you know of someone who is engaging in this type of behavior, please, contact the authorities. Don’t try to decide on your own if the person is actually capable of carrying out their threats or not. You alerting the police to someone’s creepy Facebook posts or veiled death threats could save lives.
Suspect posted rants on YouTube
From: The Australian January 10, 2011 12:00AM
The chief suspect in the shooting rampage was a community college student who posted rambling messages on YouTube from his parents’ home in a quiet, working-class area.
Last night authorities were unclear whether Jared Lee Loughner, 22, who was arrested at the scene, had a clear political agenda, or was merely a mentally unbalanced young man, perhaps spurred by what the sheriff called “the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths . . . about tearing down the government”.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik said Loughner had “a troubled past” and was known to the police after a number of disruptions at his community college. He had remained mostly silent during a day of questioning.
The sheriff said authorities were “not convinced that he acted alone”. A white male in his 50s, who was seen at the scene of the crime, was a “person of interest” and was still being sought.
Authorities said Loughner had recently purchased the Glock semi-automatic pistol used in the shootings.
He had recently posted five messages in a slide presentation on YouTube. The topics included a proposal for a new world currency and references to the number of illiterate people in “District 8″, his congressional district and the one represented by Ms Giffords.
One message, apparently posted in the past fortnight, was labelled “My Final Thoughts: Jared Lee Loughner!” In the disjointed missive, he says he “can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar”.
He concludes with: “No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver! No! I won’t trust in God!”
Loughner describes himself in the third person as “a US military recruit at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) in Phoenix”. CNN reported that Loughner had applied for the military but had been rejected.
On his MySpace page, Loughner described his “favourite interest” as reading and said he had studied grammar and “conscience dreams”. Among the books he listed as his favourites were Animal Farm, The Wizard of Oz, Gulliver’s Travels, Mein Kampf and Plato’s Meno.
“Every time I saw him he was by himself,” said Bert Escovar, 71, a neighbour.
Lynda Sorenson, who had taught Loughner at the community college, told the Arizona Daily Star he was “obviously very disturbed. He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts,” she said.
High school classmate Grant Wiens, 22, said Loughner seemed to be “floating through life” and “doing his own thing”.
In October 2007, Loughner was cited in Pima County for possession of drug paraphernalia.