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Postings of a Troubled Mind - WSJ

Postings of a Troubled Mind - WSJ

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Published by Damiano Crognali
inchiesta del Wall Street Journal in cerca di comprensione della follia
inchiesta del Wall Street Journal in cerca di comprensione della follia

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Published by: Damiano Crognali on Jan 16, 2011
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JANUARY 12, 2011
Dow Jones Reprints: This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visitwww.djreprints.com
Postings of a Troubled Mind
 Accused Shooter Wrote on Gaming Site of His Job Woes, Rejection by Women
Journal Community
Last May 9, at two in the morning,Jared Lee Loughnertyped a question to a group of about 50online 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, providesinsight into Mr. Loughner's mind-set in the yearleading 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 adisturbed young man trying to impress his peersand struggling to find a purpose to his life. They range from prosaic chatter about weight liftingto nonsensical philosophical ramblings that leftsome of the gamers who read them wondering whether he was using drugs or had a mentaldisability.On Tuesday, after a search of the Loughners'home, federal investigators found a letter fromRep. Giffords's office in which Mr. Loughner hadscribbled 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 hadalso referenced an assassination in handwritten notes on the letter.The letter, dated 2007, was a form documentsent by the staff of Rep. Giffords to thank Mr.Loughner for attending one of her events.Capt. Nanos confirmed that Tucson localauthorities had visited the Loughners' house inthe past for minor incidents unrelated to thesuspect, except for once: Around 2006 or 2007,the suspect called the authorities to report a case
Online postings last year by accused gunman JaredLee Loughner.
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of identity theft. "Someone had used his nameon MySpace or Facebook," Capt. Nanos said.The online-forum messages exhibit a growing frustration that, at 22 years of age, Mr. Loughnercouldn't land a minimum-wage job and was spurned by women. By May 15, he wrote, he hadn'thad a paycheck in six months. A month later, he wrote that he had submitted 65 applications, yet"no interview." At times, Mr. Loughner seemed to be reachingout to fellow gamers for help and advice, albeitin a disturbing way. Sometimes they offered it,such as giving him pointers about job hunting. Atother times, his postings seemed so outrageousthat the gamers mocked or ignored him.The online postings, written using pseudonyms, were shared with the Journal by a person whohad access to them. Two fellow gamers whoparticipated in the online forums say the author was the accused gunman, and some of thepostings discuss incidents from Mr. Loughner'slife that others have corroborated.Judy Clarke and Mark Fleming, two defenselawyers assigned to represent Mr. Loughner,didn't respond to phone messages left at theirSan Diego offices. Federal authorities have saidthey have seized Mr. Loughner's computer andare trying to examine all of the online places where he spent time. A Justice Departmentspokeswoman declined to comment.Mr. Loughner's family on Tuesday made its firstcomments since the shootings. In a writtenstatement, Randy and Amy Loughner said they couldn't understand what motivated their sonand expressed condolences for the victims andtheir families. "There are no words that canpossibly express how we feel," they said. "We areso very sorry for their loss."Mr. Loughner had a history of askingprovocative questions. In early high school, heasked unusual questions that were innocent,such as one time when he asked a friend aboutthe purpose of human toes, recalls JosephHeadlee, a former high-school classmate.His recent online postings are more disturbing. On April 24, he asked: "Would you hit a Handy Cap Child/ Adult?" On May 20 at 12:03 a.m., he remarked: "I bet your hungry....Because i know how to cut a body open and eat you for more then a week. ;-)"The postings exhibit fixations on grammar, the education system, government and currency,
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 which some friends and acquaintances have described separately in the days since the attack.They are peppered with displays of misogyny.Mr. Loughner's posts don't mention Rep. Giffords, who is believed to have been the target of theattack, nor do they give any indication that Mr. Loughner was plotting a shooting. But severalmention mental breakdowns and violent thoughts. One post alluded to the Fifth Amendment, which aims to protect citizens against the government abusing its power in legal proceedings.Mr. Loughner posted the messages in a privateforum associated with the online game EarthEmpires. On Tuesday, the site's administrator ina public forum admonished members for sharinginformation with the media.In a separate forum, the administrator wrotethat he would cooperate with federal authoritiesif asked. "I want this information to get to theright hands, but I want to make sure it's donethrough the proper legal means," he wrote.Gaming appears to have been an important partof Mr. Loughner's life. In the 7th grade, he and afriend, Alex Montanaro, began playing the multiplayer online games Starcraft and Diablo, whichfeatured complex virtual worlds where players assume roles and play against other peoplearound the globe, Mr. Montanaro said in emails over the weekend and Monday. Around the 9th grade, recalls Mr. Montanaro, Mr. Loughner abandoned the old games andstarted playing Earth: 2025, now called Earth Empires, a text-based game in which playersassume the form of a country and develop its economy. Players form clans and battle other clans.The game includes social networks built around the clan alliances—private online forums in whichplayers conversed. In those forums at that time, Mr. Loughner often spouted conspiracy theoriesand got into heated debates with others, according to a forum participant who has been readingMr. Loughner's posts for years. Mr. Loughner originally played under the pseudonyms Cries andCry. At various times he also used the aliases Heroin, XTC and Erad, according to two peoplefamiliar with the matter, and played for various clans. Around 10th grade, Mr. Loughner began actingmore strangely and separating from his friends,according to Mr. Montanaro. Mr. Loughner took a break from the gaming world in 2008 butresumed a year later, says Mr. Montanaro. Mr.Loughner joined an online alliance calledSancTuarY/Collab. He wrote under thepseudonym Dare. After last June, he stoppedplaying, says the games administrator.Mr. Loughner seemed consumed with the outletthe private-posting world provided, says Mr.Montanaro, who was also part of SancT/Collab.Compared with the debates he had engaged in asa young teen, his postings were often nonsensical, say people who knew him in both settings. Mr.Montanaro described them as "weird poems coupled with 'logic' statements."
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A high-school classmate shows reporters hisyearbook.
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