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Posted at 10:17 AM ET, 01/10/2011

Friend of Loughner: 'I felt like if anyone was going to shoot her, it would be Jared'

By Emi Kolawole

Credit:AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Mamta Popat

Updated 1:12 p.m.

Bryce Tierney, a friend of alleged shooter Jared Loughner tells Mother Jones magazine that Loughner had always had a grudge against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), and that it was a missed voice mail message Loughner left on his phone that led him to believe Loughner was involved in the mass shooting. In the message Loughner said, "Hey man, it's Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later."

Tierney, described as "an old and close friend with whom he had gone to high school and college" in the Mother Jones report, said that Loughner had repeatedly called Giffords a "fake," and that his hatred of Giffords intensified after he attended a campaign event where he posed a question to the congresswoman. According to Tierny, Loughner's question was, "What is government if words have no meaning?"

"He said, 'Can you believe it, they wouldn't answer my question,' and I told him, 'Dude, no one's going to answer that,'" Tierney recalls. "Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her."

The Wall Street Journal reports that Alex Montonaro, who describes himself as one of "Jared's best friends," recounts the question-and-answer exchange between Loughner and Giffords somewhat differently.

Montanaro said his friend "was never really political," but "really tried to be philosophical." Loughner liked "contemplating the meaning of words and the origin of language," said Montonaro.

Loughner said he asked the lawmaker, "How do you know words mean anything?" recalled Montanaro. He said Loughner was "aggravated" when Giffords, after pausing for a couple of seconds, "responded to him in Spanish and moved on with the meeting."

Tierney and Montonaro are not the first to weigh in on Loughner's behavior. E-mails supplied to The Washington Post by Lynda Sorenson, a former classmate of Loughner, reveal her growing alarm at Loughner's strange and disruptive behavior in early June.

Kent Slinker, an adjunct philosophy professor at Pima Community College, taught Loughner in Introduction to Logic during the spring semester of 2010. In an interview with Slate, Slinker described Loughner as "someone whose brains were scrambled."

"His thoughts were unrelated to anything in our world," said Slinker.

Tierney also told Mother Jones that Loughner was obsessed with "lucid dreaming" -- the idea that conscious dreams could be controlled by the dreamer. "I saw his dream journal once," said Tierney "That's the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner's mind, there's a dream journal that will tell you everything."

(Source: The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Mother Jones)

More on PostPolitics:
-- Loughner classmate felt growing alarm
-- Loughner may get 'Unabomber' lawyer
-- Sheriff: Gunman 'targeted' Giffords
-- Fed Eye: How often are officials attacked

By Emi Kolawole  | January 10, 2011; 10:17 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hillary Clinton on Tucson shooting: 'That is not who we are'
Next: Giffords sent e-mail before shooting calling for 'moderation'


I kind of doubt that he was truly "mentally ill"... it sounds like he was simply stupid, arrogant, and deluded enough to actually shoot down someone who happened to, in his own eyes, humiliate him by not giving him the answer that he wanted to hear.

Posted by: GFDD | January 11, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I kind of doubt that he was truly "mentally ill"... it sounds like he was simply stupid, arrogant, and deluded enough to actually shoot down someone who happened to, in his own eyes, humiliate him by not giving him the answer that he wanted to hear.

Posted by: GFDD | January 11, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

His friends really screwed up by not taking their concerns to the police.

Please, please report the crazy people in your life--classmates, colleagues, employees, relatives--to the authorities. It's the best way to prevent the next one of these.

Posted by: kennedy6500 | January 11, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse


The real issue is why was he able to pass a NICS test when he already had two arrests for drug-possession.

Those arrests and the convictions that most would face might have been expunged by his court-ordered service. But they shouldn't have allowed him to pass a NICS test. They would mark him as a "known drug user" and as such it would be a felony for him to have a firearm or ammunition.

So this is yet again another example of state offenses not making it up to the federal level.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | January 10, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

What is surprising is that there have not been more like him.

Take someone unhinged from reality. Give them access to firearms and fill them with a steady diet of hate speech. And viola.

Posted by: John1263 | January 10, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Chapman shot Lennon because he believed Lennon was a fake too.

Actually, the shooter's question about empty promises of government is really very easy to answer. At the time, he was just a dejected youth who needed a pep talk. Any politician can field a question about the challenges that young people face today and why things can look worse than they are.

Posted by: blasmaic | January 10, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Find the "dream journal!"

Posted by: johng1 | January 10, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

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