Report: Jared Loughner Called a ‘Big Video Gamer’ By Former Classmates

Jared Loughner is obviously mentally ill, but the media will not let that fact get in the way of a juicy story. In the hours after the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona when he gunned down twenty people at a Safeway supermarket on Saturday, seriously injuring Arizona congressional representative Gabrielle Giffords, and killing several people including a sitting federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, the media jumped to conclusions about Loughner’s motivations and inspirations.

First they reported that he was a Tea Party supporter who was inspired by Sarah Palin’s 2010 campaign election rhetoric and a map with targets on it; next conservatives pegged him as a progressive liberal inspired by a primary map and strong rhetoric from the Daily KOS. Others looked at his MySpace page and his YouTube videos for answers. All they found were incoherent ramblings about conscience dreaming, burning the flag, mind control, and currency. A book list on his MySpace page listed Alice in Wonderland and the Communist Manifesto as his favorite reading material, among a bizarre list of books.

The media searched for old friends and classmates. Some old high school classmates said he was very liberal, a quiet loner who liked to go to school drunk and smoke pot in the boy’s bathroom in between classes. In college several former classmates said that Loughner was abrasive and scary at times, yelling out odd phrases during class and looking and reacting to people in menacing ways. One report said that Loughner might even be affiliated with a hate group in Arizona that hated Jewish people and illegal immigrants. Another noted a satanic "altar" in his back yard that might show he worshipped some dark force.

But as more and more real information comes in, it is becoming apparent that Loughner was simply mentally ill; and though he seemed to be obsessed with conscience dreaming and government mind control, no one really knows why Loughner did what he did.

Today some more former classmates of the killer say that he was a "big game player." One classmate claims he spent most of his time playing video games and listening to heavy metal music like "Drowning Pool." While these latest media reports take hearsay and vague recollections of past classmates as unassailable truth, I point you back to just a few hours after Saturday’s tragedy when the media began speculating on what would drive this man to try to kill a crowd of people in cold blood with a handgun.

No one really knows why Loughner did what he did, beyond the fact that he is probably insane. Below is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal story on Loughner:

"Mr. Loughner was a scrawny, average teenager with a mop of curly hair. He played saxophone at football games and jammed with a friend’s garage band. In his freshman and sophomore years at Mountain View High School, Mr. Loughner flew under the radar.

‘All he did was play video games and play music,’ said Tommy Marriotti, a high school friend. Mr. Marriotti said much of Mr. Loughner’s free time was devoted to the school band. He wasn’t especially political, Mr. Marriotti said, though he expressed frustration with the Bush Administration."


The Arizona Central report pegs Loughner as "a nice kid" and "disruptive" during his time at Pima Community College. One former student who shared a class with Loughner said the following:

"Chris Walker, another PCC sophomore, said Loughner came to house for dinner ‘all the time.’ Loughner liked heavy metal and classic rock music and was a ‘big video gamer,’ said Walker, 19. ‘He was the nicest kid, quietest guy,’ said Walker."

Loughner was charged with two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and a count of attempting to kill a member of Congress in a federal court Sunday. He will face additional charges, according to federal authorities.

Source: WSJ and by way of Kotaku and our own TheSmokey and Uncharted NES.

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  1. vellocet says:

    As I’ve been reading through this thread, it disturbs me how many articles have been written about this guy in less than a week.

    Fame could very well be a major motivator in situations like this.  If you feel like you’re a nobody and you think you’re going to be forgotten by the world.  How else would you get the entire world to notice you?  To dig into every facet of your life. 

    Everyone might hate you, but they all want to know everything about you.  This might be very appealing to people of questionable mental health.

    ——- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

  2. black manta says:

    I also commented on Gerrold’s Facebook thread on this.  The problem with that line of thought is, if we agree that what people like Palin and Beck say really do influence psychos like Loughner to commit violent acts, then we must also agree that ANYTHING in media would do the same thing…including video games.  For years we’ve been vociferously arguing up and down that video games DO NOT influence violent behavior, and that they had nothing to do with the actions of people like Seung-Hui Cho, Steven Kazmierczak, Kimveer Gil, Harris and Klebold and the rest.

    So if we say that what one thing in media can influence people and not another, then we look like hypocrites.  Worse still, we would be in effect admitting that JT, Col. Grossman, Brad Bushman and others have been right all these years, when we’ve spent so much time and energy explaining why they’re wrong.  So as intruiging as the idea is, I really can’t agree with it.

  3. gellymatos says:

    For the record, I read the second link.

    First, intent. How do you know that it was any of those commentator’s intent to stir the pot to get someone killed. I mean, all types of groups might be considered to be "stochastic terrorists". Keith Olberman with his "Worst People in the World" segment, or Rush Limbaugh for… being Rush Limbaugh. The fact is, rhetoric will always be the fuel for those of questionable mental health. As for this specific incident, this guy’s got too many variables for one consistent reason, except for lack of mental health:


    1. Apparently an atheist and believed that life had no meaning:

    2. Many, many conspiracy theories.

    3. Youtube channel showed his favorite books to be Mein Kampf, The Communnist Manifesto, We The Living, Plato’s RepublicAnimal FarmFarenheit 451I could go on. 

    4. Considered a woman who had an abortion to be "a terrorist"

    So, nothing consistent with any political commentator. Or anyone that I could think of that spits out rhetoric enough to enrage a nut. Mental disease however does allow for all of these. I believe schizophrenia was mentioned, but I lost can’t find the source I thought I had.

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  4. Attack_Gypsy says:

    Cue Jack Thompson in 5…4…3…


    He’s a looney toon. Video games didn’t make him that way. Nor did Sarah Palin. He’s just a whackjob. Period.



    Yes, I am a liberal. I also believe in a strong military, less government, and the right to bear arms. ~ Me

    Calling an illegal alien an undocumented worker is like calling a crack dealer an unlicensed pharmacist. ~ Me

  5. nightwng2000 says:

    David Gerrold brings up some good points about "stochastic terrorism" on his Facebook page.  He’s always raising some good discussion topics.  🙂

    Some links he also references include:

    (Well, he linked to a different discussion in that same forum, but this one is also there.)



    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  6. Neeneko says:

    I would rather the blame fall where it probably belongs.. on a broken mental health system that resulted in a sick person not getting treatment and thus doing something horrible.

  7. Slipperman says:

    My fears about Loughner have been completely founded 🙁 I feared that people would dub him as a gamer (and they also said he listened to classic rock, too? I hope this doesn’t lead the gov’t to banning Yes and Tull CD’s!), and also they claim that he also suffers from Asperger’s syndrome like myself and many other gamers (which I also worry would cause further bigotry towards Aspies…we struggle more than enough as it is to be accepted by society).

    I just wish I could move to Canada or England and get away from all this mess and the government’s desire to regulate every last aspect of my life. At least blaming this shooting on the Tea Party would have been acceptable in my eyes.

    My condolences to the families affected by the shooting. But I stress to people that not all gamers – and not all Aspies, for that matter – are monsters like Loughner.

  8. vellocet says:

    I often see Americans say how they wish to move to Canada or Europe because they regulate less.

    This is simply not true.  Canada (where I live) regulates our lives FAR more than you Americans… but we really don’t mind.  It protects us from being exploited by the corporations, gives us free health care and a whole lot of other things.  There’s plenty to complain about government regulation but there are also plenty of benefits.

    Saying you want to move to Canada or Europe because you want less regulation is simply misinformed.


    ——- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

  9. DarkTetsuya says:

    Cheater87: I disagree, I mean if that were the case games would’ve been history after columbine or 9/11.

    Though IMO I fail to see how ‘he was a gamer’ is news, doesn’t everyone play games nowadays?

    300 Episodes and counting:

    AE: If you want to reply to a specific comment, please use the reply button.

  10. Left4Dead says:

    "He was the nicest kid, quietest guy"

    There’s your clue.  Did he have friends he could talk to about deep subject matters or did he just keep to himself?  Conversely, did people reach out to him to be his friend or just leave him alone?  I’m a big video gamer but I’ve got friends who care about me.  I’m going to spend a good chunk of my evening with them.  But I’ll also manage to squeak in a half hour of game time tonight too, check my e-mail, and still get eight hours of sleep.

    – Left4Dead

    Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

    -- Left4Dead --

  11. Kincyr says:

    if he was, the WBC wouldn’t have said that god sent him to kill that 9-year-old whose funeral they’re protesting

    岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women’s Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

  12. Avalongod says:

    I’m not sure I see a huge deal here.  These look like just off-the-cuff comments about him being a slacker, not so much deliberate attempts to "link" his behavior with games.

    In fact I find that these media sources didn’t follow the games issues more quite a change from 10 years ago.

  13. BearDogg-X says:

    And a 2nd cousin of a star of the TV show One Tree Hill.

    The congresswoman is a 2nd cousin of Gwenyth Paltrow.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  14. Andrew Eisen says:

    Anther bit of interesting trivia: the same 9-year-old was reportedly born on 9/11/2001 and featured in "Faces of Hope," a book highlighting 50 babies, one from each state, born on that day.


    Andrew Eisen

  15. babyhenchy1 says:

    Interesting trivia, the nine year old girl was the granddaughter of a former Cubs GM.

    The guy is obviously insane and I actually feel kind of bad for him as well as all of his victims. Something really f*&ked him up badly. Sad event for everyone involved.

  16. MaskedPixelante says:

    Well, video games have been fun while they lasted. I’m sure this offhand comment will in no way sway the SCOTUS case.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  17. vellocet says:

    I don’t think you can even blame the mental health system.  A lot of people actually get help and consider it not broken.

    In order to place the blame firmly where it belongs you can go no further than Loughner on that day and that time in those circumstances.

    ——- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

  18. vellocet says:

    And Satanism is inherently christian (or judeo-christian).

    No Torah, Bible, Quran… no satan.


    Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

  19. Kincyr says:


    岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women’s Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

  20. Slipperman says:

    I know Drowning Pool isn’t "classic rock". But the article mentioned he did listen to classic rock as well as DP.

    I’m just sick of people blaming random acts of violence on video games, rock music and Asperger’s. Not that I’d want to see any other tragedies happening in this world, but just once I would like to see something bad get blamed on Beyonce, Kanye West or Justin Bieber (all of whom I dislike) and how the media and government would react to them afterwards…

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