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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Youthful Arizona gunman, 22, a politically schizophrenic symbol of American social, spiritual, institutional and educational decline

Bizarre Web posts linked to Arizona shooting suspect

(The Washington Post) -- by David A. Fahrenthold and Clarence Williams --

The man identified by authorities as the gunman in Saturday's deadly shootings, which also critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., appears to have left a trail of bizarre and anti-government messages on the Internet.

Law-enforcement sources identified the gunman as Jared Lee Loughner, 22, of Tucson. Loughner, or someone using his name, left a series of postings and homemade videos that laid out a fervent, though largely incoherent, set of political views.

On YouTube, Loughner's profile listed Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' "The Communist Manifesto" and Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" among his favorite books. He also included high-school English classics such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Old Man and the Sea," plus children's works such as "The Phantom Tollbooth."

In one video, "America: Your last memory in a terrorist country!," a figure in dark clothing and a smiley-face mask burns an American flag in the desert. The soundtrack is a 2001 song by the band "Drowning Pool," in which the singer repeatedly shrieks "Let the bodies hit the floor!"

Another, posted Dec. 15, begins with a line of text that read: "My Final Thoughts: Jared Lee Loughner!" What follows are seemingly unconnected thoughts about currency and dreams, and the words "I can't trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar."

Another video attacks police at Pima Community College, where, according to Loughner's profile, he had been a student. He was suspended in late September and he withdrew from the college Oct. 4.

The videos also say Loughner applied to join the Army. The Army issued a statement Saturday saying he attempted to enlist but was rejected.

The videos do not mention Giffords by name. They do not describe any specific actions that Loughner planned. And they do not seem to link him explicitly to any mainstream political group or figures.

Loughner never had major trouble with the law, although his record includes a drug arrest.

His address is in a neighborhood of ranch houses and ramblers in a Tucson suburb, a few miles from the shopping center where Giffords was shot. By midafternoon, police had cordoned off an area of several blocks, as streams of reporters and other interested people rushed to the neighborhood.

One of those was Tyler Ramsier, 24, who said he graduated from Mountain View High School a year ahead of Loughner. Ramsier said he did not know Loughner well, but said he remembered him hanging out at school with a crowd that wore Goth-style clothes and spent time "hating on" other students...MORE...LINK

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