My son is 9 years old, so when I heard from University Medical Center’s Dr. Peter Rhee that a child of the same age is among the confirmed dead from the shooting at Safeway supermarket on Ina and Oracle roads, this whole event became even harder to take.
I try to take my son to events where politicians appear to try to expose him to newsmakers and the world around him, and while we’re on the other side of town from today’s shooting, what separates my family from being involved in something like this is that this Safeway was within walking distance of alleged shooter Jared Loughner’s family’s house, and not mine.
It’s a little tough to process.
I guess you want to blame a movement or radical belief for what happened, so that there’s someone to blame bigger than just one shooter or that the madness makes a little sense, but after poring over the digital remnants left behind by Loughner across the Internet, the one thing I feel like I can say about the 22-year-old is that he seems to be someone desperately needing mental health care.
There are certainly themes that run through his videos and postings: the unconstitutionality of various institutions (including Pima Community College), remarks about “rare birds” and the use of language that would imply that Loughner didn’t expect to be around for long (his last Myspace post, from this morning, was “Goodbye friends”), but otherwise, it’s impossible to make sense of most of it.
For example, here’s a selection of what Loughner left on someone’s MySpace page:
If there’s no flag in the constitution then the flag in the film is unknown.
There’s no flag in the constitution.
Therefore, the flag in the film is unknown.
Burn every new and old flag that you see.
Burn your flag!
I bet you can imagine this in your mind with a faster speed.
Watch this protest in reverse!
Ask the local police; “What’s your illegal activity on duty?”
If you protest the government then there’s a new government from protesting.
There’s not a new government from protesting.
Thus, you aren’t protesting the government.
There’s something important in this video: There’s no communication to anyone in this location.
You shouldn’t be afraid of the stars.
There’s a new bird on my right shoulder.
I want you to imagine a comet or meteoroid coming through the atmosphere.
That was left 77 days ago, but what are you supposed to make of that?
The YouTube clips on his channel are just as wildly confusing. If you can understand what on Earth this means, you’re a step ahead of me:
Hello, my name is Jared Lee Loughner.
This video is my introduction to you! My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream — sadly.
Firstly, the current government officials are in power for their currency, but I’m informing you for your new currency! If you’re treasurer of a new money system, then you’re responsible for the distributing of a new currency. We now know — the treasurer for a new money system, is the distributor of the new currency. As a result, the people approve a new money system which is promising new information that’s accurate, and we truly believe in a new currency. Above all, you have your new currency, listener?
Secondly, my hope — is for you to be literate! If you’re literate in English grammar, then you comprehend English grammar. The majority of poeple, who reside in District 8, are illiterate — hilarious. I don’t control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure.
Thirdly, I know who’s listening: Government Officials, and the People. Nearly all the people, who don’t know this accurate information of a new currency, aren’t aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn’t have happen.
In conclusion, my ambition — is for informing literate dreamers about a new currency; in a few days, you know I’m conscience dreaming! Thank you!
Another video, a favorite of Loughner’s, uses the song, “Let The Bodies Hit The Floor” by Drowning Pool, as a soundtrack to the burning of an American flag in the desert by a hooded, masked man wearing what appears to be pants made of black garbage bags.
His MySpace page featured a photo of a Glock pistol placed on an American history textbook.
There’s nothing you can attach philosophically to this guy right now, but it seems he had destructive thoughts on his mind for some time. There’s a smiling photo of Loughner at the Star as a volunteer at the Tucson Festival of Books about a year ago.
That seems to be a far, far different young man than the one from most recent months, and a million miles away from the gunman who walked to Safeway today.
DAN GIBSON is a writer at the Tucson Weekly, where this article first appeared at tucsonweekly.com on Jan. 8.