A widely held belief is that Tucson Arizona resident Jared L. Loughner was a severely-deranged individual whose descent into mental illness precipitated the January 8, 2011 Tucson shooting where 18 people were shot, six fatally. Yet to what degree does this dominant media frame diverge from the actual events and Loughner’s comportment and interpersonal relations preceding the massacre?
[Image Credit: WTSP.com]
The New York Times ran a story focusing on Jared Loughner on January 12, 2011 titled: “‘Creepy’, ‘Very Hostile’: A College Recorded Its Fears.” An addendum to that story, archived by the Times, is revealing. It consists of Pima Community College’s 51 pages of public safety reports and documents related to Loughner (PDF).
However, as the cache of materials linked above makes clear, Loughner was never violent prior to the Tucson shootings, nor did he ever threaten violence. The scale and scope of activities by Pima County’s “threat assessment system” was essentially a harrowing witch hunt that likely was the proximate cause of the Tucson shootings.
Here is a breakdown of the documents:
Page 1 begins with a series of “suspicious person/activity” reports. The initial report, dated 2/5/10, stated that Loughner was disruptive, and was “creepy” having a “dark personality”. Additionally, it was noted that a fellow student speculated in an email that Loughner might have possessed a concealed knife. In the third report, on page 5, an instructor alleges that she felt intimidated by Loughner’s hostile response to receiving a “B” on his paper. This incident likely triggered the mobbing.
Again, Loughner was never violent, nor did he ever threaten violence, prior to the Tucson shootings of January 8, 2011. On Page 12 there is a memo written by another instructor. When questioned by Loughner on whether she was a cop, the instructor replied “No”, but retorted that one could be brought in if they failed to maintain a “happy medium”. The essence of her memo, sent to six of her co-workers, was that Jared “has extreme views and frequently meanders from the point”.
Pages 16-28 of Loughner’s file are simply the printout of an internet search he made related to a heavy metal concert he apparently planned to attend. Page 29 is a memo, dated 9/23/10, and created because Loughner became disruptive when receiving half credit on a late assignment. Loughner argued that his First Amendment rights were being violated. Campus police were brought in, and a “mental health concern” was noted.
Page 34 is a college police report of 4 officers involved in delivering a notice of suspension to Loughner on 9/29/10. 2 campus cops went to his residence and 2 remained in the area as “back up”. Again, Loughner was never violent, nor did he threaten violence, before the Tucson shootings of January 8, 2011.
Page 41 is a report, also dated 9/29/10, by Dr. Aubrey Conover. On its face, the report is the only document that analyzes Loughner’s problems with any objectivity and constructive design. Page 43 is an evidence sheet, in support of a Grand Jury investigation of Loughner, dated 9/29/10, and referencing a YouTube video rant Loughner made that was critical of the school.
Page 44 is a Grand Jury Subpoena, dated “9/30/10”, in which the aforementioned YouTube video and printout of an internet search of a heavy metal concert event are the only evidence of an alleged felony crime. The Grand Jury failed to indict Loughner on such specious evidence. The untold story here seems to be that of Pima County College’s grossly negligent mishandling of the case that was perhaps the proximate cause of Loughner’s rampage some 3 months later.
Keith Labella is a non-practicing attorney. Originally from New York, he presently resides in Hemet California. Mr. Labella blogs at gangstalkingismurder.com.