Loughner: 'Social Outcast' With 'Indecipherable Beliefs'

January 10, 2011

Mark Memmott

As Jared Loughner's scheduled 4 p.m. ET court appearance draws near, here's some more of what's being reported about the 22-year-old community college dropout who is accused of killing six people and wounding 14 others Saturday in a shooting rampage at a meet-and-greet in Tucson, Ariz., with Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:

-- Mother Jones magazine spoke with a friend of Loughner's, 22-year-old Bryce Tierney, who says the suspect "held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a 'fake'."

Also, the magazine writes, Tierney "describes Loughner as being obsessed with 'lucid dreaming' -- that is, the idea that conscious dreams are an alternative reality that a person can inhabit and control -- and says Loughner became 'more interested in this world than our reality.' Tierney adds, 'I saw his dream journal once. 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'."

-- The Associated Press reports that "at an event roughly three years ago, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords took a question from Jared Loughner. ... According to two of his high school friends the question was essentially this: 'What is government if words have no meaning?' Loughner was angry about her response -- she read the question and didn't have much to say."

And the AP says that the friends "paint a picture bolstered by other former classmates and Loughner's own Internet postings: that of a social outcast with nihilistic, almost indecipherable beliefs steeped in mistrust and paranoia."

-- "A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was 'obviously very disturbed,' " the Arizona Daily Star reports. " 'He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts,' said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College's Northwest campus."

-- In high school, Arizona's Green Valley News reports, Loughner was: "Troubled. Disinterested. Lethargic. These were a few of the words a former teacher of Jared Lee Loughner used to describe him. One word he didn’t use: Angry. 'He wasn't ever really a huge troublemaker in my class — not vocally, anyway,' said David Low, who taught English at Mountain View High School from 2004-08. 'He wasn’t a total loner, either. He had a couple of friends, but they mostly kept to themselves'." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.