Jared Loughner's background reveals series of warning signs
Jared Lee Loughner, 22, had a documented history of brushes with school officials and law enforcement.
January 13th, 2011
09:26 PM ET

Jared Loughner's background reveals series of warning signs

For months, Jared Lee Loughner creeped out classmates and teachers with his odd behavior.

As a student at Aztec Middle College in Tucson, Arizona, Loughner was prone to sudden outbursts in class, teachers said. He'd ask "incoherent" questions and make inappropriate comments.

Other times, he would just stare into space.

"He had an intense stare, but he usually didn't stare at other people," said Kent Slinker, who taught an "Intro to Logic" class attended by Loughner. "He would have a focused stare some place else in the room, and almost as if he was viewing another scene or intensely thinking about something."

Loughner often spoke out of turn and asked questions unrelated to the class topic, leading Slinker to assume the student had Tourette Syndrome.

"I was never able to talk to him on a one-to-one basis and I did worry about him a lot," he said. "I do recall thinking I hope his parents know what's going on and that they have a handle on things."

Loughner was arrested in Saturday's shooting at a constituents gathering held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in front of a Tucson Safeway grocery store. Six people died and more than a dozen were wounded. Federal authorities have charged Loughner with first-degree murder, attempted murder counts and attempting to kill a member of Congress, counts that involve shooting federal employees. State prosecutors also could bring charges related to other victims.

Interviews with friends and former teachers and classmates provide a glimpse of how he appeared in public - a little off, but not necessarily threatening. Background checks reveal brushes with the law that alone did not set off any alarm bells, a law enforcement official told CNN. He was also suspended from community college in September with the understanding that he could return if he obtained a clean bill of mental health from a doctor, school officials said.

On their own, the incidents prompted as much action as school officials or law enforcement felt necessary, given the cirumstances. Whether anyone ever put them all together remains unclear.

Classmates from Mountain View High School in Marana, a Tucson suburb, saw a different side of Loughner. They described him as intense and intelligent, someone who kept to himself but was nice once you to know him. He was fixated on numbers and excelled at math, former girlfriend Ashley Figueroa told CNN affiliate KGUN.

"He was a very nice kid. He was very, very intelligent. He would help me out with like my math and that's how it started off," Figueroa told KGUN.

"He just seemed like one of those kids who kind of kept to himself. He was very, very quiet. I kind of made the effort to talk to him because he kind of kept to himself. He was actually a really nice kid when it came to it," added Figueroa. 

But his temper was too much for Figueroa, so she ended their relationship, she said.

"He used to scare me sometimes and that's why I left him. He kind of made me feel uncomfortable at times," she said. "He'd get really mad, clench his fist and then throw a kind of little tantrum. He'd flail his arms and walk off."

Loughner dropped out of Mountain View in 2006, after his junior year, the school district said. Near the end of his junior year, Loughner was taken to a hospital for alcohol poisoning, according to Sheriff's Department records. In 2007, he was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, but the charge was dismissed after he completed a pretrial diversion program, according to court records.

In 2008, Loughner tried to enlist in the U.S. Army but was rejected for reasons that are protected by privacy laws, officials said. But an administration official told CNN on Sunday that Loughner had failed a drug test.

Loughner had most recently been taking classes at Aztec Middle College, a partnership between Tucson schools and Pima Community College that helps dropouts transition to community colleges.

Loughner took classes until September 2010, when he was suspended after five contacts with Aztec campus police "for classroom and library disruptions" between February and September, the school said.

To his college classmates, Loughner's presence was unnerving, drawing the attention of campus law enforcement.

"The first time I was really struck by him was because he used inappropriate reactions to people's emotional content. He would laugh at things that were sad. He just didn't seem to be aware of what was going on," Don Coorough, his classmate in advanced poetry, told CNN.

A report on Loughner's participation in the poetry class noted an instance of him responding inappropriately to a poem read in the class.

His comments "were a huge leap from the context of the poem and said things about abortion, wars, killing people, and 'why don't we just strap bombs to babies,' " according to a February report by the Pima College Department of Public Safety.

Loughner was kicked out of an algebra class in June after repeated interruptions that made classmates uncomfortable and left the impression that he clearly "needed psychological help," his algebra instructor Ben McGahee said.

Loughner sometimes shook, blurted things out in class and appeared to be under the influence of drugs at times, McGahee said.
"I was scared of what he could do," McGahee said.

"I wasn't scared of him physically, but I was scared of him bringing a weapon to class."

Loughner was suspended in September after authorities found a YouTube video in which he called the school "illegal according to the U.S. Constitution," the school said.

A follow-up letter warned that in order to return, Loughner had to present a doctor's note stating that "his presence at the college does not present a danger to himself or others."

Off campus, Loughner got into trouble with police for underage drinking and possession of a marijuana joint and a pipe. Pima County Sheriff's Bureau Chief Richard Kastigar described them as "very minor" incidents that failed to raise red flags ahead of Saturday's extreme violence.

"[They] do not add up in their totality to anything that would cause a police officer to say, 'This guy is going to go out there and shoot 20 people,'" Kastigar said.

Immediately after the shootings, law enforcement and the media went online to decipher Loughners digital footprint. They found a trove of confounding items in his profiles on MySpace, YouTube and other sites. Creating his own currency, lucid dreaming and distrust of the U.S. government were recurring themes in his online writings.

A December 30 posting states: "Dear Reader ... I'm searching. Today! With every concern, my shot is now ready for aim. The hunt, a mighty thought of mine."

One posting complained of a "second constitution," a term legal scholars sometimes use to describe post-Civil War amendments that ended slavery, extended voting rights and required equal protection under the law.

"In conclusion, reading the second United States constitution 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," he wrote in a December 15 video message on YouTube. "No! I won't pay debt with a currency that's not backed by gold and silver! No! I won't trust in God!"

Alan Lipman, director of the Center of the Study of Violence at Georgetown University, said the postings show "classic signs of psychosis."

"People were looking for whether he was on the left or the right. He was neither," Lipman told CNN. "He was incoherent. Those were signs, classic signs you'd see in a psychiatric unit of formal thought disorder."

Forensic psychologist Kathy Seifert called the postings "absolutely psychotic." Loughner should have been evaluated for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism or other mental illnesses, she said.

In an apparent reference to Giffords' congressional district, a posting stated: "The majority of people, who reside in District-8 are illiterate - hilarious."

The last message reportedly posted on his MySpace page read, "Dear friends ... Please don't be mad at me. The literacy rate is below 5%. I haven't talked to one person who is literate."

Authorities believe Loughner specifically targeted Giffords. Searches of the Loughner home turned up a 2007 letter from Giffords thanking Loughner for attending a 2007 event similar to Saturday's, Kastigar said.

Other alleged connections to Giffords: an envelope in a strongbox in his home was scrawled with phrases like "die bitch" and "assassination plans have been made," though officials have not drawn a direct link to Giffords.

Neighbor Steven Woods said Randy Loughner had complained to another neighbor that his son was "out of control."

The morning of the shooting, Loughner and his father had a confrontation in their front yard, Kastigar said. His father had asked him about a black bag he was carrying.

"Jared mumbled something back to his dad, and his dad said he didn't understand what was said. It was unintelligible," Kastigar said. "And then Jared left. The father followed. The father got in his vehicle and tried to locate his son and followed the direction that he went and he could not locate his son."

soundoff (795 Responses)
  1. Anon

    Glenn Beck creeps me out.

    January 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • AZLib

      I agree with you... BUT thank to Fox Un-News he has millions of people watching him and MANY think he is actually providing truthful information. "Be afraid ... be very afraid"

      January 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garlyn

      Beck is a commentary show, not a newscast. Much like Olbermann or others. So don't judge the newscasts of ANY station on it's commentary shows, that is short sighted.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Exactly. He used to be rather funny and witty in his radio days. Now, if you look at his eyes as he does his loony stand up routine, it is a bit unnerving. And once he gets to the blackboard....... talk about not making sense !!!

      January 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • 110th

      I like how so many people continue to say things like, "we should've gotten this kid some help" or "why wasn't this kid seeing a doctor?". What you fail to understand is that we cannot go around to legal adults and have them committed based on incoherent youtube ramblings or random outbursts in a Community College classroom.

      It's unfortunate, but you really can't tell who will snap until they do.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. Smith

      No, but we can have them examined by the courts for mental competence. This should have been done, either by the school or by his parents.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mathew

      Hey, you got these kids today listening to their favorite mantra of "let the bodies hit the floor" playing some video game of death for over 11 hours each day they can.. While the parents are stuffing themselves on mobster TV shows on HBO and SHOWTIME.. Guess what? You are all responsible for this mess, because you tolerate B S in your society like that.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I have to admit that is pretty much the way it is today.. I couldn't tell the difference between this monster and most of the ones with the hip hop music, and drugs, and violent video games.. It's all comes from somewhere.. Probably the lack of any decent role models in your society anymore. God? God who? They never heard of him.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      He looks like the creepy dude from Lost Highway, I wonder if that movie had an influence on him.

      January 16, 2011 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. palintwit

    This guy should be on Dancing With the Stars. He could pair up with Bristol Palin...aka 'The Dancing Porker'.

    January 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Swanson

      Palintwit – Are you calling Bristol Palin a "porker" because of her weight control issues or because ... ummmm ... never mind. 😉

      January 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jellymon

      Wow! Did you think that one all on your own?? Where's your traveling comedy show going to be this weekend?

      January 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Are they going to dance to "Let the bodies hit the floor" by Slipknot?

      January 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • kelly

      Howdy !

      January 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John D.

    The guy is just a nut but the left wants to blame the right without a lick of proof. Then they want to the right to stop trying to protect itself while they continue with the same madness that is ruining this country and causing the divide. Not in this life folks. You have a better chance of seeing God.

    January 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C

      You show every sign of being a danger to yourself that this guy did. Uninformed, ignorant and opinonated.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. Smith

      John C., it's you who's uninformed, ignorant, and opinionated. The liberal elements of the media were blaming this on Palin and Beck before we even knew who the shooter was. And now that we know that what little politics he was engaged in was liberal (not trying to blame them, but it means he probably didn't watch Beck), they're just yelling it louder.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • K.B.

      John C... What is wrong with being opinionated? I would rather everyone have different thoughts and beliefs than think the exact same...

      January 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • publius enigma

      Maybe we could just ask you to stop using the phrase "2nd amendment solution" in reference to elections lost? Would that be too much to ask?

      January 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DKennedy

      C.Smith – Loughner was a registered independent.

      – And Alf – Hitler hated the Jews, Socialists and Liberals.. http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-hitler.htm

      Here's some information about his minister of propaganda Goebbels – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels

      Hitler used Goebbels to systematically purge all "Jews, socialists and liberals" (from the page on him)

      I know you all love to assume that simply because Hitler lead a group with the word 'socialist' in it that you've proven he was socialist – (such an obnoxious argument) but Hitler was using them.. nothing more – and he had hated their kind and said as much from the beginning.

      READ. And try not to simply make stuff up - work with known verified facts – such as actual quotes.. example:

      Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction.
      Adolf Hitler

      January 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    As a parent of a young man who is taking medication for schizophrenia I can tell you that it is living hell for him to constantly hear voices and live his life afraid of his own mind. We had him committed a couple of times, but he was always willing to take medication so we are extremely grateful. Anyone who even knows of anyone with these problems should get in contact with their local NAMI chapter. Go to http://www.nami.org to learn more about where to get support for your loved one and yourself. No one posting here has a right to judge this family especially since there have been zero facts released about how they have been attempting to deal with their son's problems. Until you have walked in mine or their shoes you have no right to judge.

    January 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • AZLib

      Very sorry for you and your son's plight. Take heart in Arizona the law makers will help you out. They cut funds to mental health by 52% in only two years and relaxed laws surrounding the 2nd amendment to protect your son's rights. Terrible thing to say right now BUT 100% truth. Show how the AZ government is more worried about campaign donations then helping their own citizens.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garlyn

      AZLib, I think it is a shame they cut the spending on the mental support for families. That is one place our society should help, people with debilitating issues. (vision, mental, physical, all of them). Relaxing the restrictions that should never be placed on the second amendment I actually agree with though. We really need to start enforcing the laws on the books regarding firearms to change. It's like speeding, no matter how many laws you pass, if you don't pull speeders over it won't change. And there are more deaths from wreckless driving than firearms.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Your right in what you say. But don't forget people make comments out of ignorance and stupidity. You have to ignore these people There is no question that Loughner has Schizophrenia. My heart goes out to his parents who might be blaming themselves for their son's mental illness.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      I am also the parent of a son who has schizophrenia, he is 28. When he is in that "state of mind", there is no controlling him. The only thing you can do is have him committed. The hospital will only keep a person 72 hours, once they are stabilized they release them. You can't make them take the medication. There isn't a whole lot a parent can do if their child is over the age of 18 to help them. The only way you can get them put in the hospital is if you tell the police/hospital they are a danger to them selves or others. Sometimes they seem fine, and other times they are very bizarre. The see, hear, smell and taste things that are not there. It is so sad, and very hard to watch your child go through this. Most symptoms for this do not show up until later in life, around 20 years old. Then for a parent to really help, it is too late.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben K.

      Thank you for that Mary. Very well stated. I work with developmentally disabled adults and many of them suffer from a dual diagnosis of some form of mental illness. Unfortunately, there are very few or no services available to them. This country has not embraced the true need for caring for the mentally ill. Most parts of this country never really have. It is an embarrassing stigma to most. Thank you for sharing your story about your son's illness and the trials that both of you have endured thus far. At least he is getting help. Now is not the time for people to judge and blame. Be well. -Ben

      January 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. Smith

      Suzanne, Mary, the first step, what was missed with this guy, is diagnosis. At least from there, you know where you stand, and have some idea of who can help. Schizophrenia is a terrible disease, and in many cases the side-effects of the meds are almost as bad. Just stay in contact with good psychiatrists and good authorities.

      I do hope that one thing to come out of this is an improvement in mental health practices and resources across the nation.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Also.....

      Mary, this is Mary too, and I agree with you 100%. I also have a son with same disorder. These people who try to blame it on the left or right wing or the parents or anything else do not have a clue to what is really going on here. I recognized all the behavior signs of this Loughner guy and immediately realized that he was mentally delusional. As we know, when your child is of age (21) you have no rights to their medical welfare. (the illness usually strikes in their late teens and early twenties) I know this first hand. The only way that I was able to get my son into hospital was by saying I felt he was going to hurt himself or someone else, but then legally they could only hold him for 72 hours because you cannot hold anyone against their free will........and then what good does that do? In order to get them stabilized and back to reality they must be on meds for a minimum of 2-3weeks before you see a change. And then you must get them to stay on the meds otherwise off they go again into delusional land. We definitely need to get the laws changed so that parents are able to protect their children and society and get them the right help when they are not able to make sane decisions. Over 80% of the people that you see on the streets are suffering from mental disorders. This is America's dirty little secret.

      January 15, 2011 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. sma

    just a thought? why r we so concerned w/him? our need for all the gouhlish details of his being is not helping these family's, they should be our concern. i do not believe this was a political, racial, religious, conspiracy act however we as a society r going to turn it into that & that's sad. in life everything happens for a reason, good or bad. my heart go's out to all the victim's family's & survivors. i want to hear their stories & see how this will affect their lives & futures.

    January 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C

      Because that plays an imprortant part in preventing the next one.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • wab

      I agree with you.... Things happen for a reason.... Lets talk about the good in the people and how they are surviving and making progress in there lives now, instead of all this dang negativity........The only I can say GOD has something in store for him just wait somehting bad will happen to him!!!!

      January 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • AZ resident

      Unfortunately for all... he does not have to wait for "God" to do something terrible to him... he, his family and all the victims of the shooting are ALL suffering the consequences of a mental illness he certainly didn't ask for. Show mercy, please.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dee Dee

    He didn't have autism. He probably had a some sort of psychotic break or condition like paranoid schizophrenia. The onset is usually in early adulthood. Autism is present from birth. Whatever his problem its little consolation to his victims.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Humanbeing

    I've been considering the fact of shame/fear/and the social ramifications his parents or family must have gone through, his growing years....wasn't that long ago, that ppl were shunned and stared at, and basically denounced by neighbors, friends, family, and citizens of towns, for having mental disease. Maybe his parents/family were afraid to ask for help early on his growing years. Fear makes ppl do awful things....I heard once, that even violence is a cry for love and acceptance, within some situations. This one, I don't know.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AZLib

    JUST THINK statistics indicated that nearly 1 in 5 American suffer from some sort of mental health issue. Of course few are as off the deep end as this fellow BUT they are walking next to us all the time. Compound this with people using Meth, Acid and of course gallons of booz all of which gives us timebombs living in our own back yards. Each year it seems at a college, university, post office, office building or even at a local political gathers the slaughter comes to us. This time in just an instant precious lifes were taken once again. Each time the shooter were protected by "Its their 2nd amendment right". Hmmm After 911 we all gave up a ton of rights with the patriot act bill. Maybe now after this latest terrible crime we can all think. Do we really need Military Assult Weapons to guard our homes or go hunting. Do we really need 30 round clips of ammo for these weapons. Yes I know guns don't kill people kill. true BUT THEY ARE USING GUNS to do it. A 9 year old little girl? A federal Judge, A congress lady, add to the bodies studens of both high school and college (comlimbine, Virgina Tech). Why do the citizens of every other industrialized nation in the world seem to be able to feel secure in their homes without massive weapons.

    I'm sorry by 1 minute of quiet and some wonderful heart filled speaches will not stop the slaughteer. We need to change laws. No one mentioned that only the week before another gunman (nut case) went on the rampage in Chandler Arizona... nor how many police officers were killed in Arizona last year by a nut with a hand gun.

    Please do NOT let congress go about it's normal buisness and just walk on by this terrible tradegy. I know Palin (in it for the money) Rush (same) and others are already pounding the air ways to protect the gun manufactures and scare you to death on laws/regulations. Come on folks they both go home to luxuary homes with guards and gates and they don't care what happens in your neighorhood and childrens school . They are not cops on the beat responding to a bar fight with drunks carrying colt 45's. The speaker of the house didn't even attenend the serice he was off at a fund raiser. Help us all and call your congress person today.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dena

      Dude, I dig what you're saying, but Colt 45 is a malt liquor not a gun.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      AZLib You are so correct. We slaughter over 30,000 people in our own country EVERY YEAR with guns. So, about 300,000 people are killed in America by guns over a ten year period – say since 9/11. And then we are worried sick about terrorists?? WE ARE the terrorists. "Greatest country in the World" – hardly, with statistics like that.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garlyn

      There are many cases where responsible armed citizens stopped slaughters from happening in universities and other locations. You don't hear as much about it because it was stopped, so not as many deaths. Plus the news says people "apprehended" the gunman but usually fail to note they were also armed. (See Appalachian School of Law shooting) If you find old news feeds it rarely discusses they were armed. If more people had firearms where this occurred how many shots would've been fired before he was subdued or killed by a responsible citizen? The second amendment isn't about hunting, it is about the defense of the population against aggression foreign and domestic.

      If you really are for safety of citizens, you should really target motor vehicles. They kill more innocents than guns ever did. ASk for GPS based governers on cars to stop all the speeding, and remote kill switches for law enforcement.

      Either way this is a very sad case that breaks a lot of hearts and causes a lot of hurt. I feel sorry for all the families that experienced loss without a reason.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anita

      I agree with you. Guns are used by gangs, guns are used by traffickers and other criminal activities that do more harm, and they are buying them "legally". The police, the law should protect us, not guns. In a civilized society, we should use civilized mediums to resolve our problems, guns are not civilized mediums, the human mind is. Education and respect IS civilized. We should be teaching our citizens and our children to use it.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Dena, Colt .45 most assuredly is a gun.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      Anita, guns are not a civilized medium, our minds are? So if someone breaks into your house and threatens to rob and kill you, how are you going to stop him? With the power of your mind?

      January 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • al

      easy with the fear mongering people. there was a shade under 9,500 gun related homicides in 2004. well under this 30,000 number thrown out there. even if there was 30,000 gun deaths a year, there are roughly 312,000,000 people in the united states, that comes out to .01% of the population. yes that's right well under 1% for you statistic fans. take away guns and the nuts will use other methods. think crazy chinese guy who stabbed like an entire kindergarten class in china a little while ago. i didn't know palin, beck and rush had a following like that in china. maybe crazy people just do crazy things. unfortunately people would rather blame those they don't like than use commonsense. you really think a kid in his mid 20's, who spent most of his time playing video games and had a history of drug abuse, listened to political talk radio? this kid probably couldn't pick palin, beck or rush out of a lineup. any individual who blamed this on palin/conservative talk radio has an extremely low iq and anyone who agrees with placing the blame on them probably needs to repeat the first grade. let's not forget obama promised to bring a gun to a knife fight during his campaign, so both sides have said things that hold a violent context. if i wanted to be an idiot like most of you i'd blame obama, he hinted that democrats would have guns, thus this kid needed to have a gun for a fair "fight". see how easy it is to place blame on people by taking their comments out of context to serve your purpose? fools

      January 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phaedrus

      Your good intentioned argument assumes a gun free utopian world by virtue of laws banning firearm sales to law abiding citizens. What should be obvious here is that as soon as guns become illegal, law abiding folks would not have access to them.

      Gun running is already a booming business for organized crime and it would explode off the charts if the legal sales of firearms ended. Just as illegal narcotics has fueled a multi-billion dollar cartel industry (that provides easy access to any illegal drug desired just one phone call or short drive away from practically every home in the country).

      For the sake of this argument, I’m assuming that an armed police officer is, at best, a few minutes away from arriving on the scene of a home evasion / armed robbery / random public massacre, or similar real time crime involving a firearm.

      With all due respect to your valid concerns (and mine) about having the wrong people getting their hands on guns, how does your proposal do anything but absolutely insure that the only folks with access to firearms would be, by definition, lawless citizens and law enforcement? How would that make our country safer? It wouldn't, and anybody who is honest with themselves about the reality and logic of the situation would realize that the proverbial genie (the actual invention and availability of firearms) is out of the bottle and there's no cut and dry option available to put an end to gun related violence. At best we’re looking at risk mitigation and management.

      We need to collectively and creatively work together to find ways to mitigate the risk associated with firearms - but it's naive to believe that outlawing guns altogether is going to solve the fundamental issue that guns exist in our times and bad people will always figure out a way to get their hands on them at the expense of the good. The balance of power between law abiding citizens and lawless thugs (shopkeeper / robber, homeowner / burglar, victim / rapist, car owner / carjacker, etc.) would be so out of whack that it would end up empowering criminals at the expense of law abiding citizens. If someone can explain how this is not the case (for the unique American situation we are in here and now) please do so. Putting emotions, ideology, partisan BS, and wishful thinking aside - what say you about the dilemma that gun banning laws would increase black market gun sales to the lawless with bad intent and eliminate the option for a person of good intent to protect themselves, their family, and property?

      January 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      So, as I understand it your belief is that we shouldn't regulate what kinds of guns are available to civilians because they'll get them anyways. This seems like insanity to me. If we applied the same argument to drugs this country would be chaotic. If people want something bad enough, they'll get it. But by regulating the producting and distribution of it we keep people safe.

      I understand the concern about using guns as security, but you don't need an automatic weapon to protect yourself. By purchasing an accurate weapon, attending gun safety classes, and actually learning how to handle a weapon while being attacked you can greatly improve your chances of survival against a gunman whose intent is to kill you. I personally believe that the guns for home security is a comfort blanket argument anyways. If someone breaks into your home the chances of you retrieving your gun in time to protect yourself are very low, unless you keep it on you at all times which is a little paranoid.

      I understand that guns are used for hunting. If you want to argue this point then please, don't claim that hunting is a necessity. It's a sport where the equipment that is used can also be used to kill people; the same way a baseball bat can be used to kill a person. Should baseball bats in the hands of people that intend to use them for baseball be illegalized? Of course not, their main purpose isn't to hurt someone. Should baseball bats with nails in them wrapped in barbed wire be illegalized? Of course! The same way that guns that are only used to kill people should be illegalized. Nobody hunts with a Desert Eagle .50 and nobody hunts with a fully automatic SCA-R. The only intent of having those guns is to kill another human being.

      The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. This was way before assault rifles and automatic weapons were invented. If you really want to argue that the Bill of Rights gives us the right to bear arms, then let's take it ver batim. The Bill of Rights gives us the right to bear muskets. This was written so that we could protect ourselves in war and against our own government if need be. This was not intended for people to be able to have free access to tools that could cause mass amounts of casualties. If we want to extend the Bill of Rights to have no exceptions then it would be insanity. Through the right to peacefully assemble we could have Soldiers stop fighting in combat and all just stand together in a group. Through the right to free speach we could have those with security clearances giving our country's secrets to our enemies. There is a limit to all our freedoms – that's what keeps us from being an anarchy.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gar

    Ok Cnn, we've all seen his ugly face.
    If you insist on showing it, next time there better be a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jps

      No like button but I like.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo Jones

      Wile E. Coyote, super genius.

      January 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. VIVASU80

    Amazing that all of these instances occurred but NO ONE in his family did anything about it. Although, if they had to tried to get him the help he obviously needed, they probably would have run into all the "red tape" that surrounds the State run mental health facilities. So sad and so scary that it takes something like this to get the State or law enforcement to step and say that there is something seriously wrong with a person and they need behavioral health services. Good luck ever getting an appointment with a place like Magellan in Phoenix. (Not sure if it's down in Tucson. And if you do get one, there will be some mix-up and they will cancel it and not tell you or move it to a different date and not tell you either so you miss it and have to wait another 3 months to see a Doctor. Happens to a family member of mine all the time! It's ridiculous!

    January 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dianne

    I honestly don't think any of this matters. The kid is mentally ill and that is what this is all about. His religion or lack of is not the issue. Mental illness is just that, an illness. I don't think he cared who or where he shot, who knows what was going on in his mind.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. C-man

    Whether he has/had autism or some other mental disorder, he has proven that he is a menace to society and is guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt. Therefore, he should be given the death penalty and it should be soon – not drug out for many, many years making us all suffer more. Do the right thing, protect society forever from this monster.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Kobielski

      I agree. Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity should not apply as he hid the contents of the black bag from his father suggesting he knows the difference between right and wrong. Also current civil liberties standards do not permit involuntary intervention until there is proof of dangerousness. We need to protect the innocent at this time and as you have stated, that is not him.i

      January 17, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. KraMses86

    Let me get this right... +He flails his arms +Speaks Gibberish +Scared people +And causes damage to those close to him...!

    Hmm... Did they just describe Glenn beck?

    January 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • boog

      I bet you loved Beck when he was on MSNBC. And what is the obsession with Beck, Palin, and Rush. OCD runs rampet.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cascinova

    why is everyone trying to put a label on this kid? That he was liberal, conservative, skin head, republican, democrat. Whatever. Does that make you feel better; that you can label this kid, so that it fits into your preconceived notions about what types of people act in specific ways? Cant we just accept that he was a lunatic, he was all over the place! There is no label that fits him other than pscychotic.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cenevia

      I know...They need to see him for who he is a killer....

      January 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      I think we look for labels because every since man came out of the cave and saw another man come out of his cave it was one against the other out of fear rather than friend up and cooperate. That is what our world has become us against them. Look at sports, look at everything we do it incorporates someone against someone else. And with that they have to use labels to position one against the other. That's my theory anyway.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • boog

      It’s for sick political points and nothing more. Those using this tragedy, especially those on the left who didn’t even have the dignity to let the bodies be removed from the scene before they started trying to win political points, should be ashamed. The Sheriff should be removed from office. He was not protecting, serving, or collecting clues, he was pontificating and politicizing the tragedy right from the get go. And if a man who was elected to solve crimes, jumps to unsubstantiated conclusions like this clown did, he should be removed from office for showing incompetents ASAP.

      January 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C

      All the wingnuts and their phoney outrage over thier own guilt. The right asked for this to happen and exaclty as it did and not that it did they will say and do anything to feed thier guilt. Talk radio and fox news are covered in blood on this one and this will not be the last. We need to denounce this hate poltics where they just say the worst things they can imagine and throw rocks because they have no ideas that have not already failed and hurt everyone. TOday right are no different than any other terrorist group. Now they have a body count too.

      January 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Danny

    In my humble opinion these are the kinds of people we need to get help to. Every day people like this are in society silently screaming for help and love and we are too scared to get involved. WE are not trained to see the signs or know how to approach these people with help and that needs to change and ignoring them and putting out on the street angry or disoriented or scared so we don't have to deal with it is what allows situations like this to happen sometimes. We need to be helpful to each other and care more instead of being self centered or scared. We don't necessarily have to be the ones to approach them if we are afraid but we can bring to light the fact that they seem to be having difficulty instead of making fun of them or some of the many other cruel things we seem to do to each other. That is my thoughts anyway. I know through a family member what altered perception of reality can do in the way of causing anger or fear that is not really there. There are all sorts of things that can cause this including pressures, fears, bullying, making fun of someone, medicines, drugs, alcohol, chemicals in the foods we eat, etc. Any number of things can cause these things and it is partly a product of the society we have created. It this kind of survival of the fittest, fast moving, money is everything, pressurized at school and at work and at home type of atmosphere that can lead to these things as well.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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