The Conversation: Decoding Alleged Arizona Shooter's YouTube Posts
What was Jared Loughner talking about in rambling video messages?
Jan. 10, 2011— -- Almost immediately after Jared Lee Loughner allegedly pulled the trigger outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket Saturday, Americans began to look for clues as to what prompted a 22-year-old suburban student to allegedly go on a rampage, taking the life of six people and injuring 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Millions have turned to Loughner's apparent YouTube channel, which includes a series of rambling videos, including one called "Final Thoughts." Loughner posted the videos Dec. 15, about three weeks before the Tucson attack.
The videos, which consist of slates of white text, are seemingly incoherent rants from what appears to be a disturbed individual, but they may offer some clues as to what Lougher may have been reading and how he chose his target.
"It's absolutely correct to say that he appears to be very mentally ill," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, but "it seems pretty clear that he's absorbed at least some ideas from the radical right."
Potok, who wrote about the videos on a SPLC blog, points to specific ideas that Loughner seems to heve glommed on to, including the idea that the federal government controls through grammar.
"You don't allow the government to control your grammar structure, listener?" the video states.
Potok believes the idea comes from David Wynn Miller, a conspiracy theorist who believes the government manipulates the public through such things as the use of capital letters on official documents.