Arizona Shooting Suspect Jared Loughner: 5 of His Strange Ideas

By Couch, Aaron | The Christian Science Monitor, January 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Arizona Shooting Suspect Jared Loughner: 5 of His Strange Ideas


Couch, Aaron, The Christian Science Monitor


Jared Lee Loughner is accused of killing six people and wounding 14 in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday. The apparent target of the attack was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), which led Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik to assert that unbalanced people are 'especially susceptible to vitriol' in our political discourse. Politics may be nasty, but Jared Lee Loughner's ideas don't seem to line up with any one group or line of thinking. Indeed, they are more often characterized as simply strange. Here's a look at five ideas believed to come from Loughner, in his words and those of the people who know him.

Jared Lee Loughner is accused of killing six people and wounding 14 in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday. The apparent target of the attack was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), which led Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik to assert that unbalanced people are 'especially susceptible to vitriol' in our political discourse.

Politics may be nasty, but Jared Lee Loughner's ideas don't seem to line up with any one group or line of thinking. Indeed, they are more often characterized as simply strange. Here's a look at five ideas believed to come from Loughner, in his words and those of the people who know him.

#5 1. Grammar is a form of mind control.

"The government is implying [sic] mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar," an individual widely thought to be Loughner writes in a Youtube video.

This idea is similar to one championed by far-right activist David Wynn Miller, according to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who studies extremists groups. Mr. Miller "believes in a 'truth language' that can throw off the government," Mr. Potok told Newsweek. "If you use the right combination of colons and hyphens you don't have to pay taxes."

The author of the Youtube writings is not clear on how the government manages to control people through language, as he does not linger on any one topic long enough to explain it. While he writes that language helps control people, he does encourage literacy.

"The majority of people, who reside In District-8, are illiterate - hilarious. I don't control your English structure, but you control your English grammar structure."

Loughner would be wrong about that, of course. An estimated 11 percent of Pima County residents are "lacking Basic prose literacy skills," according to a 2003 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics. This included people who spoke languages other than English and thus were not able to take an English literacy test.

#4 2. Dreams are an alternate reality.

According to Loughner's friend Bryce Tierney, the accused gunman was fascinated with lucid dreaming, in which the dreamer is aware of the dream. Loughner reportedly told Tierney, "when you realize you're dreaming, you can do anything, you can create anything."

Tierney said Loughner became more interested in his dreams than in reality.

"I'm so into it because I can create things and fly," Loughner reportedly said. "I'm everything I'm not in this world."

Tierney said Loughner kept a detailed dream journal for more than a year, and in his alleged Youtube writings he mentions dreaming often, referring to himself as "a sleepwalker - who turns off the alarm clock. …

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