Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Postings of a Troubled Mind

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 asked.

A trove of 131 online-forum postings written between April and June 2010, which were viewed by The Wall Street Journal, provides insight into Mr. Loughner's mind-set in the year leading up to Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Ariz. He stands accused of killing six people, gravely wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) and injuring 13 others.

The online postings paint a picture of a disturbed young man trying to impress his peers and struggling to find a purpose to his life. They range from prosaic chatter about weight lifting to nonsensical philosophical ramblings that left some of the gamers who read them wondering whether he was using drugs or had a mental disability.

On Tuesday, after a search of the Loughners' home, federal investigators found a letter from Rep. Giffords's office in which Mr. Loughner had scribbled the words "Die Cops" and "Die Bitch," said Capt. Chris Nanos of the Pima County Sheriff's Department. Capt. Nanos, who was briefed on the findings, said Mr. Loughner had also referenced an assassination in handwritten notes on the letter.
Journal Community

The letter, dated 2007, was a form document sent by the staff of Rep. Giffords to thank Mr. Loughner for attending one of her events.

Capt. Nanos confirmed that Tucson local authorities had visited the Loughners' house in the past for minor incidents unrelated to the suspect, except for once: Around 2006 or 2007, the suspect called the authorities to report a case of identity theft. "Someone had used his name on MySpace or Facebook," Capt. Nanos said.

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."


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