by Mark Scheinbaum
Angel Fire, N.M.
January 9, 2011
A TOUGH DEMOCRAT HAS ALWAYS FACED TOUGH CHOICES
ANGEL FIRE, N.M., Jan. 8, 2011, 4:31 p.m. ET (UPDATED) -- Like so many Americans, the 22-year-old man, Jared Lee Loughner, identified as the shooter of Tucson, Ariz., Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others this morning at a constituent event outside a Safeway store, had a Facebook profile. But it may have been created by a right-wing hacker who wanted to pin blame for the shooting on the far left.
The real Jared Loughner apparently posted a message at 5 a.m. on MySpace, a social networking site owned by FoxNews magnate Rupert Murdoch, saying goodbye and apparently asking for forgiveness for what he was about to do.
Loughner did have a MySpace account, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star. he used to say "Goodbye," and "Please don't hate me" in posts at 5 a.m. Mountain Time Saturday morning. The first report of the shooting reached 911 dispatchers at 10:11 a.m. MT, police said.
Gifford has survived the point-blank shooting and is in critical condition with gunshots to the head in a Tucson hospital. She is apparently able to respond to commands. Six others among the 20 shot have died, including Federal District Court Chief Judge John Roll, also a lightning rod for controversy following a ruling on a murdered rancher's case last year, and an innocent 9-year-old girl.
The shooter was captured by a wounded member of Giffords' staff, who tackled him as others jumped in shortly after he began firing about 28 shots from a legally purchased Glock 9-mm semi-automatic pistol at everyone around him, said witnesses. The gun was reportedly fitted with an extended magazine, and Loughner reportedly was captured when he stopped to reload it. Loughner, a long-haired junior-year dropout at Marana High School in Tucson with a minor police record, he is now in federal custody and being questioned by the FBI.
A key part of the qwuestionming may be focused on whether he had any help, or accomplice, in the killings. Police say they are searching for a white man who appears to be about 5'10", 51 years old, about 181 pounds, with a full head of salt-and-pepper hair, dark blue eyes and a narrow nose and face, wearing a denim jacket, shirt and jeans, who was videotaped standing near Loughner as he started his run towards Giffords. It is unclear whether the man is a suspect or a possible witness to Loughner's statements immediately beforte the shooting. No one has conme forward to repeat the words he allegedly said at the time of the shooting.
In the age of social websites, anyone with a computer could search for the name of the Tucson shooting suspect "Jared Loughner" and find a Facebook home page in which the alleged suspect's "profile" picture is that of the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Long after the real Loughner had posted a farewell message on MySpace, some Facebook users apparently could not resist the opportunity to paint him as a far left radical..
On one Facebook site that purports to be Laugher's, the blogger says he is "inspired" by Barack Obama, Saul Alinsky, Noam Chomsky, Hugo Chavez, and Ché Guevara. His favorite quote, the blogger says, is "Ask for work. If they do not give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take the bread."
Anyone - including a right-wing hacker - could plant and invent that information. At least two other people created Jared Loughner sites on Facebook after 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon. .
Anyone with a small degree of skill can create a website and Facebook profile in minutes. A man named "Dr. Deeds" called into CNN and said websites that he thought Loughner himself had created a site that listed his favorite book as "Mein Kampf," as did a shooter in the Columbine, Colo., high school mass shooting. It is unclear what the CNN caller's bona fides were. In "Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington," a famous film classic, the lead character has the same name.
Accessible from a drop-down box on the faux Facebook page are additional "inspirational" photos of Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-Tung, Yasser Arafat, and Josef Stalin. The author of the site describes himself as a "Male" who is "interested in: Men."
Under "Additional information" is listed:
Basic Information- About Jared Fight the Right! Obama and the Progressives will overcome the tyranny of big business and the racist Tea Party BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!
Again, the information appears to be the work of a right-wing hacker who wants to associate the shooter with the far left.
The Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson daily newspaper, reported that Loughner had a police record dating back a few years for minor crimes:
In October 2007, he was cited by the Pima County Sheriff's Department for possession
A photograph of the real Loughner from Tucson's Marana High School 2007 yearbook shows a small-jawed, young white teenager, with long, curly brown hair and a very cautious smile.
The real Jared Loughner also apparently posted a farewell message on his MySpace web page before dawn in Saturday morning. Last year, he posted videos on YouTube claiming the government was engaged in mind control "through grammar" and calling for the creation of a new currency. A photograph acquired by the AP displayed a Loughner with short brown hair, a round face and a big smile, apparently just a few months ago. He is wearing a paper nametag with the word "JARED" on it.
Nothing yet has been heard from his parents or family.
Loughner, once a high-school dropout, attended Pima Community College, and while there posted rambling written statements on YouTube about paying for college courses in U.S. currency, calling those payments and the currency "unconstitutional." In one, he makes the unusual argument that since no one knows exactly when the first year was, no can say with authority when the B.C. period started or, thus, when it ended and the A.D. period began. The rants, which are plainly unrelated to any mainstream conservative thought and do not evoke the names of any political figures, suggest a serious thinking disorder and delusions, if not mental illness. College officials had ordered him to get a mental evaluation before he returned to school from his current suspension.
Tucson's Arizona Daily Star carried comprehensive coverage of the events surrounding the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords. The Arizona Republic, which like the Tucson Citizen cannot update its website during the day, did add a RSS feed link to a story on its related website, azcentral.com. The site reported:
"Goodbye," Loughner posted on his MySpace account at approximately 5 a.m. Saturday. "Dear friends ... Please don't be mad at me."