YouTube Video By Giffords Shooting Suspect Jared Lee Loughner Reveals A Truly Nutty Guy

To add some evidence to Steven Taylor’s admonition that we should all be careful about drawing political conclusions from today’s tragedy in Arizona, I present what appears to be a YouTube video posted December 15th by the man who is currently in custody for the shootings:

This doesn’t strike me as the work of a mentally balanced individual, to say the least. So, trying to put this into one of those neat little political cubbyholes probably isn’t such a good idea.

Update: Ben Smith at Politico uncovers some other social media hints:

His linked MySpace page, no longer available, included statements about the gold standard and about SWAT teams paying for their equipment with illegal currency.

Among his long list of favorite books in his YouTube profile are Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha.

Loughner also “favorited” just one video on YouTube, which shows the burning of an American flag and is accompanied by an anti-government screed. A sample from that screed:

If there’s no flag in the constitution then the flag in the film is unknown.
There’s no flag in the constitution.
Therefore, the flag in the film is unknown.
Burn every new and old flag that you see.
Burn your flag!
I bet you can imagine this in your mind with a faster speed.
Watch this protest in reverse!
Ask the local police; “What’s your illegal activity on duty?”.
If you protest the government then there’s a new government from protesting.
There’s not a new government from protesting.
Thus, you aren’t protesting the government.

Many pundits like Andrew Sullivan, Matthew Yglesias, Markos Moulitsas, and others at Daily Kos were quick to jump on this to score political points, casting blame on the Tea Party and specifically Sarah Palin for violent rhetoric. As it turns out, it looks like we were dealing with a deeply disturbed individual.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Franklin says:

    This seems just as sane as the TimeCube guy, which is to say, not at all.

  2. TG Chicago says:

    Atrios said something along the lines of: these things generally don’t fall into a left-vs-right spectrum, but a crazy-vs-sane spectrum.

  3. Axel Edgren says:

    Can’t prove a negative or a hypothetical.

    He gunned for a democrat – and there simply has been more outrageous accusations leveled against democrats, Obama and Pelosi lately after HitlerCare was passed. Sure, she was out in the open and a convenient target, but how random was this really?

    Eh, they caught the nutjob – perhaps he will have something illuminating to say. Big perhaps.

  4. wr says:

    A deeply disturbed individual — which is different from the average Tea Partier how exactly?

  5. Axel Edgren says:

    wr, if tea partiers were like this guy you would be stocking up on guns as we speak.

    You have every right to be upset and to suspect the maniac was influenced by mainstream right-winger excesses of rhetoric and resentment, but we don’t know enough about this guy.

    If there is no evidence to show that the shooter was less of a random nutcase and more of a premeditating radio-jock acolyte inspired by Palin’s attempts to utterly delegitimize and demonize democrats, then your jibes won’t really be useful.

    If there is something that links the anti-Obama maniacs with the shooter (and thus turns him into a Unabomber) then that will be unearthed. The police, the feds and the media will be investigating like mad.

  6. Axel Edgren says:

    “wr, if tea partiers were like this guy you would be stocking up on guns as we speak.”

    I mean, if the shooter was a good representative for Teepers, then the whole country would be in chaos already. I phrased that a bit clumsily.

  7. jpe says:

    Reminds me a bit of the nut that flew his plane into the IRS building in TX. Not an obvious partisan box to put him in, and clearly insane.

  8. wr says:

    He’s an outlier. But if you stick around here long enough, you’ll see frequent cries to mass murder by the site’s resident Tea Party crowd. (Zels in particular likes to threaten death to large segments of the populace.) And of course the candidate for Senate in Nevada urged violent revolution if she was defeated.

    Maybe some of these people are despicable enough to use this rhetoric to stir their fans. Maybe some of them are crazy enough to mean it, but haven’t tipped themselves over the edge into action yet.

    But the Tea Party philosophy is simple – “we want what we want and we’ll commit violence if we don’t get it.” Maybe a lot of that is just rhetoric, like the travelling salesmen with Gasden license plate frames. But if you go around screaming that the other side is deliberately destroying the nation, plans concentration camps for all good Americans, and the most likely solution is violence — sorry, you take some responsibility when one of your true believes starts shooting. Even if he is a wacko.

  9. RUBEN says:

    Ms Parker said Loughner had encountered Miss Giffords once before in 2007 and had “asked her a question and he told me she was ‘stupid and unintelligent’.”

    However she added that when she had known him, Loughner seemed to be liberal or Left-wing.

  10. Pug says:

    A disturbed nut with a gun who goes off and slaughters people?

    Nothing unusual about that in America. Only his choice of targets distinguishes him your routine mass murderer.

  11. Tlaloc says:

    “This doesn’t strike me as the work of a mentally balanced individual, to say the least. So, trying to put this into one of those neat little political cubbyholes probably isn’t such a good idea.”

    Actually I think being mentally unbalanced very neatly fits a certain political cubbyhole. Hint- people who earnestly demand you keep government’s hands off their medicare are unbalanced.