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I saw this rather extensive article on Loughner at WP- Friends, teachers tell of Loughner’s descent into world of fantasy
He played late-night marathon games of Monopoly with his buddies. He went with friends on family vacations. He would hang with pals at IHOP on Fridays. He had a girlfriend. He laughed and he loved and he knew things – about jazz, cars, fantasy games. And then Jared Loughner slipped into a world of fantasy that was no online game. Slowly but steadily, his intelligence warped into a distorted, disconnected series of obsessions. He developed an illogical fascination with logic. Math, grammar, logic – the systems civilization has developed to make sense of the world became the means through which he expressed the confusion and pain in his increasingly lost mind.
I am not so sure that he “slipped”..
From his elementary years through middle school, Jared Loughner lived a life that his friends saw as little different from their own. There was something awkward about him, and he was teased more than most, but he had friends and they were often among the smarter kids in his grade. There were sleepovers and hikes and long games of Starcraft and Earth Empires.
So, every kid has their problems..
“It was pretty messed up,” said Nasser Rey, 21, a friend from elementary and middle school. “Somebody taped a sticker on his back and it said, ‘Kick me,’ and people started kicking him. They just started trying to trip him. But he wasn’t being bullied. He didn’t start crying or nothing.”
But it appears that he was not the withdrawing type.
In those years, Loughner’s music was at the center of his life. “His parents spent thousands on musical instruments for him,” said Alex Montanaro, one of Loughner’s best friends from seventh through 10th grades. Loughner started on the saxophone around the fifth grade. By late middle school, he was a serious jazz buff, keeping lots of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker on his iPod.
Many teenagers try on different identities, experiment with new friends, and explore intellectual and emotional frontiers. Friends say Loughner’s sophomore year was a whirlwind of change. He left behind his passion of the past few years – he stopped playing sax. He found a new love – his first real girlfriend. He lost that love, changed his look, switched friends, discovered new interests and seemed to drift off into a world of ideas that friends found odd, irrational, disturbing. What Montanaro calls Loughner’s “mental downfall” seemed to start after his breakup with the girlfriend, who did not respond to a request for an interview. Until that relationship blossomed, Loughner “actually had many friends,” Montanaro said.
Let the readers comment on this one.
During his late high school years and thereafter, Loughner moved through a blur of entry-level jobs at chain stores and restaurants - Red Robin, Mandarin Grill, Quiznos, Eddie Bauer. “He absolutely hated Red Robin,” recalled Montanaro, who also worked there. “He couldn’t stand the people who worked there or the customers.” One night, Loughner, then busing tables, walked off the job. “He just told me he couldn’t take it anymore,” Montanaro said.
Paging Ferdinand Bardamu
Loughner was arrested twice on minor charges, in 2007 for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a pipe, and a year later, for defacing a stop sign. Both cases were dismissed after Loughner completed a diversion program, but the arrests proved a lasting stain. Military officials say the drug charge was the reason they rejected Loughner’s enlistment application. And Loughner complained that employers wanted nothing to do with him because of it.
The “war on drugs” is not without consequences.
Loughner’s favorite writer was Philip K. Dick, whose science-fiction tales traveled a mystical path in which omnipotent governments and businesses were the bad guys and the average man was often lost in an identity-shattering swirl of paranoia, schizophrenia and questions about whether the universe and the individual were real or part of some vast conspiracy.
Over the past two years, Loughner “was desperate to hang out with people,” Montanaro said. “He’d just show up at our houses, call us constantly and would even pay for us just to get us to chill with him. It was rather annoying.”
These are the saddest lines in that article.
It seems that many people want to believe that Jared Loughner was mentally ill. While his now infamous mugshot, youtube videos, myspace pages do not help the case for calling him sane- there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Last May 9, at two in the morning, Jared Lee Loughner typed a question to a group of about 50 online gamers located around the world: “Does anyone have aggression 24/7?” He was back at his keyboard the following night. “If you went to prison right now…What would you be thinking?”
He definitely had an idea of what he was going to do and shows awareness of the consequences of those actions.
The online-forum messages exhibit a growing frustration that, at 22 years of age, Mr. Loughner couldn’t land a minimum-wage job and was spurned by women. By May 15, he wrote, he hadn’t had a paycheck in six months. A month later, he wrote that he had submitted 65 applications, yet “no interview.”
Arizona does have a very bad job market right now.
Mr. Loughner had a history of asking provocative questions. In early high school, he asked unusual questions that were innocent, such as one time when he asked a friend about the purpose of human toes, recalls Joseph Headlee, a former high-school classmate. His recent online postings are more disturbing. On April 24, he asked: “Would you hit a Handy Cap Child/ Adult?” On May 20 at 12:03 a.m., he remarked: “I bet your hungry….Because i know how to cut a body open and eat you for more then a week. ;-)”
Ok, so he is weird, but not that weird. He can think logically, even if it is macabre.
Later that day, he posted a rant titled “Why Rape,” which said women in college enjoyed being raped. “There are Rape victims that are under the influence of a substance. The drinking is leading them to rape. The loneliness will bring you to depression. Being alone for a very long time will inevitably lead you to rape.”
No comments.. but readers should comment on that. Here is a link to an interview with his ex-girlfriend.
Anger increasingly permeated his postings. On May 5, he started a thread titled “Talk, Talk, Talking about Rejection.” He solicited stories of rejection by the opposite sex. The next day he wrote, “Its funny…when..they say lets go on a date about 3 times..and they dont….go…” Three days later, he wrote, “Its funny when your 60 wondering……what happen at 21.”
This is not the thought process of someone with severe mental illness. He had recognized the futility of his life and environment.
The following night, he titled a thread: “If you went to prison right now…..What would you be thinking?” He added, “Just curious?” After others responded that they would do everything they could to avoid going to prison, including commit suicide, Mr. Loughner said, “Let’s say you are in the cell for life…For nothing.” A few minutes later he added, “21…going to college…no workplace.”
He reasoned that a life behind bars was not much worser than the one outside them.
On June 3 at 12:14 a.m. Mr. Loughner described one confrontation with Mr. McGahee, writing to his fellow gamers that he had asked the teacher: “Are you just getting a pay check for brainwashing?” as well as questioning if the class was a “scam” and asking, “can you tell me how to Deny math?”
After reading all these comments it hard to escape the feeling that this guy, though unbalanced, was not stupid.
The much more troublesome question is- Is this the beginning of a trend? I don’t know..
Update: Here is another news article- Exclusive: Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Giffords
But Loughner did, according to Tierney, believe that government is “fucking us over.”
As Loughner and Tierney grew closer, Tierney got used to spending the first ten minutes or so of every day together arguing with Loughner’s “nihilist” view of the world. “By the time he was 19 or 20, he was really fascinated with semantics and how the world is really nothing—illusion,” Tierney says. Once, Tierney recalls, Loughner told him, “I’m pretty sure I’ve come to the conclusion that words mean nothing.” Loughner would also tell Tierney and his friends that life “means nothing,” and they’d reply, “If it means nothing, what you’re saying means nothing.”