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Surge Desk

Jared Lee Loughner's Worldview a Conspiracy Theory Laundry List [VIDEO]

Jan 10, 2011 – 2:03 PM
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Torie Bosch Contributor

We're starting to learn more about Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old Arizona man in custody for the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as well as for the deaths and injuries of the other victims in Saturday's shooting in Tucson.

The people who knew Loughner are starting to share their stories with the world and are painting a remarkably consistent portrait of him. To hear them tell it, Loughner became a loner in his late teens and became obsessed with certain conspiracy-theory-influenced ideas and philosophies.

Surge Desk has prepared a short guide to the various theories that Loughner subscribed to and obsessed over:

The gold standard and a new currency
On his YouTube channel, Loughner often discussed creating a new currency and fumed that U.S. currency is not backed with gold or silver. According to Mother Jones, "Currency has been a staple issue of the Nativist right; its members fear that the shift from the gold standard to the Federal Reserve system (and the printing of paper money) has imperiled the country."

Lucid dreaming
Loughner also talked in the videos about "conscience dreaming." By that, he apparently meant "conscious dreaming" or "lucid dreaming." His old friend Bryce Tierney told Mother Jones that Loughner thought "lucid dreaming" meant "that when you realize you're dreaming, you can do anything, you can create anything." Lucid dreaming is something that has been investigated by academic researchers, but Tierney says that Loughner took it to the extreme, becoming "more interested in this world than our reality." Loughner kept a dream journal that Tierney thinks may be of interest to those investigating the shooting.

Grammar and government control
Along with lucid dreaming, Loughner's YouTube videos discussed his fixation with grammar, saying "the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar." His statements echo those of David Wynn Miller, whom Politico calls a "far-right activist." Miller believes that "if you only use the correct grammar and punctuation, you can throw off the shackles of the tyrannical government," says Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, who discussed the Miller-Loughner philosophical connection with Politico and on MSNBC. Miller says that he agrees with what Loughner's video says, but that he had nothing to do with Loughner's violent acts.

9/11 Truther
One former Loughner friend told The Associated Press that in high school Loughner expressed a belief in the 9/11 "Truther" movement -- the idea that the government was behind the Sept. 11 attacks. This makes the death of 9-year-old Christine Green, who was born on Sept. 11, 2011, all the more poignant.

The 2012 apocalypse
Soon after Loughner's name was released to the public, his former classmate Caitie Parker began tweeting some details about him. According to Parker, Loughner was "oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy" -- the idea that the Mayans predicted that the world would come to an end in 2012.

Many media reports have labeled Loughner a "nihilist." According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the definition of nihilism is "the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy."

In this YouTube video, uploaded three weeks before the shootings, Loughner briefly discussed lucid dreaming, currency and more of his odd beliefs:

More Surge Desk coverage on the Tucson shooting:
Jared Loughner Mugshot Released [PHOTO]
Judy Clarke, 'Unabomber' Lawyer, Will Represent Jared Lee Loughner
Do Palin and the Tea Party Bear Any Responsibility for the Giffords Shooting?
Was Palin Crosshairs Imagery Targeting Giffords Inapropriate?

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Filed under: Nation, Politics, Surge Desk