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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who is Jared Lee Loughner?

Who is Jared Lee Loughner? The world knows Jared Loughner for shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner is an American man who on January 8, 2011, Tucson, Arizona, shooting that killed six people, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll, and left 14 others injured, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.[2] He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Tucson on January 19, 2011.[3]

Personal background

Loughner was born September 10, 1988, he is the son of Randy and Amy Loughner and has no siblings.[4][5][6] They are described by a neighbor as a very private family.[4] He attended Mountain View High School, and dropped out in 2006.[5] Around this time behavioral problems started to surface, and those who knew him noted a change in his personality. Kelsey Hawkes, who dated Loughner for several months in high school, said she could not believe it was him after hearing of Loughner's arrest. "I've always known him as the sweet, caring Jared." said Hawkes, 21, now a junior at the University of Arizona.[7] While Loughner had friends in high school, neighbors noted that in the years following he would keep to himself and not respond to others.[8] Zach Osler, another 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, and he began to abuse alcohol and drugs, specifically salvia, a natural and legal hallucinogen.[9] Another longtime friend, Kylie Smith, added that he had used cannabis (marijuana), psychedelic mushrooms, and LSD around that time as well.[10]
At some point, Loughner was fired from his job at a Quiznos restaurant, with his manager saying he underwent a personality transformation. After this, Loughner briefly volunteered at a local animal shelter, walking dogs, but he was asked not to return; the shelter manager later said, "He was walking dogs in an area we didn't want dogs walked... He didn't understand or comprehend what the supervisor was trying to tell him. He was just resistant to that information."[12] From February to September 2010, Loughner had five contacts with Pima Community College police for classroom and library disruptions. On September 29, 2010, college police discovered a YouTube video shot by Loughner, in which his spoken commentary stated that the college was illegal according to the United States Constitution. The college told Loughner that if he wanted to come back to school, he needed to resolve his Code of Conduct violations and obtain a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, that his presence did not constitute a danger to himself or others. On October 4, Loughner and his parents met with campus administrators and Loughner indicated he would withdraw from the college.[11] During Loughner's time at Pima, a teacher and classmate both said they thought he might commit a school shooting.[13]
According to court records, Loughner had two previous offenses.[14] In October 2007, he was cited in Pima County for possession of drug paraphernalia from September 10, 2007, which was dismissed after he completed a diversion program.[citation needed] On October 13, 2008 he was charged after defacing a street sign in Marana, near Tucson. That charge was also dismissed following the completion of a diversion program in March 2009.[12][15] The U.S. Army confirmed that Loughner had been rejected as "unqualified" from the service in 2008.[16][17][18] According to military sources, Loughner admitted to marijuana use on numerous occasions during the application process.[5] Loughner quit using marijuana (as well as alcohol and tobacco) in late 2008 and did not use it since, according to one of his longtime friends.[19] Despite Loughner's apparent psychological problems, according to an Arizona health official, the treatment of these problems likely never occurred. Dr. Laura Nelson, deputy Director for Behavioral Health at the Arizona Department of Health Services, said the state has no record of Loughner seeking mental health treatment in the public system. "I truly believe that it could have [helped]," Nelson said.[8]


In the initial aftermath of the 2011 Tucson shooting, the media speculated that Loughner's political views had been fueled by extremist rhetoric. Records show that Loughner was registered as an independent voter and voted in 2006 and 2008, but not in 2010.[20][21] A YouTube channel under an account called "Classitup10" was linked to Loughner.[22][23] Loughner had also posted a video on YouTube in which he described his school, Pima Community College, as "one of the biggest scams in America". This video led to Loughner being suspended from the school.[24] One classmate stated that Loughner had laughed at a young woman and likened her to a terrorist after she read a poem about getting an abortion.[25][26] Classmates identified Loughner as a nihilist and atheist, and noted that he was critical of religion.[15][19][25][27] An old friend, Bryce Tierney, discussed several of Loughner's views. According to him, Loughner had exhibited a longstanding dislike for Gabrielle Giffords, a Blue Dog Democrat, and he repeatedly derided her as a "fake." This grudge intensified when he attended her August 25, 2007, event and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer his question: "What is government if words have no meaning?"[19] Loughner kept Gifford's form letter, which thanked him for attending the 2007 event. An envelope in the same box as the letter was scrawled with phrases like "die bitch" and "assassination plans have been made."[28] Loughner was known to believe, and to say, that women should not hold positions of power.[29][30] Loughner's best friend, Zach Osler, disputed speculation by media commentators that Loughner's actions were fueled by partisan politics and rhetoric, insisting, "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," and instead conspiracy theories had a profound effect on him.[9] Another friend, Zane Gutierrez, 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".[30]
Loughner believed in numerous conspiracy theories and espoused views such as: the United States Government was responsible for the September 11 attacks;[30] a New World Order would bring about a one world currency; there would be a 2012 apocalypse; NASA had faked spaceflights; and the government was using mind control to brainwash people by controlling grammar. He was a member of the online conspiracy theory message board Above Top Secret though members of the site did not respond warmly to his posts.[27][31][32][33] Reports appearing after the shooting noted similarities between the statements made by Loughner concerning grammar and mind control and the views of conspiracy theorist David Wynn Miller.[34] Miller stated, "He's just repeating things I've had up on my site the past 11 years."[35][36] According to Zach Osler, the online conspiracy theory film Zeitgeist: The Movie affected Loughner's view of the world.[9][37][38][39]

Tucson shooting

Loughner allegedly purchased the 9mm Glock pistol used in the shooting from a Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson on November 30, 2010.[11] The night before the shooting, he left a message on a friend's voicemail saying, "Hey man, it's Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later."[19] In a MySpace post the morning of the shooting at 4:12 am, he wrote, "Goodbye friends. Please don't be mad at me. The literacy rate is below 5%. I haven't talked to one person who is literate. I want to make it out alive. The longest war in the history of the United States. Goodbye. I'm saddened with the current currency and job employment. I had a bully at school. Thank you. P.S. --plead the fifth!"[40] Photos on the MySpace page showed a close-up picture of a handgun sitting atop a document titled "United States History."[11]
At 7:04 am MST (UTC-7), Loughner went to a Walmart store in the Foothills Mall to purchase ammunition but left the store and completed his purchase at a Walmart on North Cortaro Road at 7:28 am.[30][41] He was stopped by an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer at 7:34 am MST (UTC-7) for running a red light, but once the officer determined there were no outstanding warrants for Loughner, he was allowed to proceed to his destination with a warning to drive carefully.[9][30] He then took a taxi to a Safeway supermarket location in Casas Adobes, where Giffords was holding a constituents meeting.[30][42] The shooting occurred on January 8, 2011, at 10:10 am MST (UTC-7).[43][44] Loughner allegedly opened fire on Giffords as well as numerous bystanders,[43][44][45] killing six people. Thirteen other people were injured by gunfire, and one person was injured while fleeing the scene of the shooting.[46] Giffords, the apparent target of the attack,[47] was shot in the head and left in critical condition.[48]


Loughner was subdued by bystanders and was arrested by police, saying, "I plead the Fifth," as he was taken into custody.[30] A photograph taken by the Pima County Sheriff's Office's forensic unit was released to the media on January 10,[49] and published on front pages nationwide. The Washington Post described the picture as "smirking and creepy, with hollow eyes ablaze," while the art director for the New York Times stated it was placed on the front page because it "was the picture of the day [...] it was intense and arresting. It invited you to look and study, and wonder."[50]


Loughner was charged in federal court with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing a federal employee (including federal judge John Roll), and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee.[2][45] He was indicted on three of the charges on January 19,[51] and more are expected as all federal charges are required to be filed within 30 days of arrest.[3] Loughner is being held without bail by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the Federal Correctional Institution at Phoenix.[52][53] He is kept isolated in his cell away from other inmates 23 hours a day for his own safety and allowed out for one hour to shower and exercise.[54]


Attorney Judy Clarke, a former federal public defender who has represented suspects in several high profile murder and terrorism cases, has been appointed to represent Loughner in federal court.[55] The entire federal judiciary of the state of Arizona recused themselves from hearing the case because of their ties to fellow judge John Roll, who was killed in the attack.[56][57] At the direction of Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, the federal case will be heard by San Diego-based Judge Larry Alan Burns from the U.S. District Court of Southern California.[58] Federal prosecutors have opposed motions to move the case outside of Arizona because of pre-trial publicity; the decision will be made by incoming Chief Judge Roslyn O. Silver, who succeeded Roll in the federal district of Arizona.[54]
Prosecutors representing Arizona, which has concurrent jurisdiction in the matter, have announced they intend to file murder and attempted murder charges on behalf of the other victims, those who were not members of Congress or federal employees, although they could legally file charges on behalf of all victims. Arizona state prosecutors normally have ten days from the time a suspect is brought into custody to file charges, but time spent in federal custody does not count towards this limitation.[59] Arizona law does not permit a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, but does allow for a verdict of guilty but insane.[60]
On January 24, Loughner appeared at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix, before Judge Burns from San Diego.[61] Loughner, whose hair had partially regrown since his arrest, smiled while presented with the charges related to the shooting, including the attempted killing of Giffords and two of her aides. Loughner's attorney, Judy Clarke, requested that Judge Burns select a plea on her client's behalf, to which a plea of not guilty was recorded. When Burns asked Clarke if Loughner understood the charges against him, she replied that they were "not raising that issue" at that time. She also did not object to a request by prosecutors to have future hearings moved back to Tucson.[62] Additional charges of murder are expected in a hearing scheduled on March 9, 2011.[63]


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