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Posted at 8:08 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Story pick: Chronicles of Loughner

By Ian Shapira

In the scramble to trace a portrait of Jared Loughner, the alleged gunman in last weekend's Arizona shootings, the three major newspapers -- The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post -- came out swinging today with stories chronicling the 22-year-old's descent into fantasy and madness.

Both The Journal and The Times published pieces focused exclusively on Loughner's suspension from Pima Community College, where students and professors said he imposed a menacing attitude on the academic environment. The Journal's piece includes a startling anecdote from a student in Loughner's poetry class who said that Loughner once told the class: "Why don't we just strap bombs to babies."

The Times based its story today largely on a 51-page confidential police report that included observations by students and faculty, who said Loughner was "creepy," "very hostile," "suspicious," and had a "dark personality." The most disturbing part of the Times's story is the description of a YouTube video that Loughner apparently made in which the narrator says: "This is my genocide school."

For those seeking a definitive profile of Loughner, check out today's front page in the Post. The article explores the entire Loughner family history. It turns out that the alleged shooter's grandfather, A.M. Loughner Jr. was arrested in 1952 for robbing a series of grocery stores. Loughner's father, Randy Loughner, had odd jobs and isolated himself so much that he scared his neighbors. He ended up marrying Amy Totman, who worked for the county parks department.

But the Loughner family, according to the Post story, has a history of depression or bipolar disorder. As Loughner grew older, he seemed like he was on the right path. And then, a multitude of seemingly minor but negative events weighed on Loughner's life and everything veered out of control.

By Ian Shapira  | January 13, 2011; 8:08 AM ET
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It is our society "always giving the benefit of the doubt", including the Tucson Police Dept. that allowed this extremely psycopath, to 1. continue in society as "normal". and 2. passing thru the FBI background check to purchase a Glock 9MM pistol, when in fact, his history would indicate he was "not normal" and should never have been allowed to purchase a gun. There were many "signs" that this guy was completely off the deep end, and in need of medical and psycological help. The schools missed it, the police missed it, his parents missed it,the FBI missed it, the gun dealer missed it. All are somewhat to blame, but Loughner himself must pay the ultimate price for his crime. The USA has made such a "case" against "profiling" that it allows the mentally deranged to buy a gun and shoot people in public. Lets get this profiling straightened out, to good of society. Lets "not be offended" if "profiling" causes a few more checks and balences. It can only help everyone. Both the Good and the Bad.

Posted by: stormpost | January 13, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

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