Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jared Loughner, Conspiracy Fanatic

Details are slowly emerging about Jared Loughner, the accused gunman in the horrific shootings and murders in Tucson. While much political blame has been assigned, by all sides, the truth seems to be that Loughner did not belong to or sympathize with any organized or even halfway-organized political group. Unlike the Unabomber, Laughner's incoherent political screeds reveal no consistent political vision. But what they do reveal is a mind deeply steeped in conspiracy belief.

Loughner's Youtube videos (actually more like Power Point presentations accompanied by music) clearly reveal this conspiracy mindset. For example, he claims that "government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVBZkeedvfM&feature=fvwk  at 3:35 ) . His videos are filled with absurd and pointless syllogisms, such as
  • If B.C.E. years are unable to start then A.D.E. years are unable to begin.
  • B.C.E. years are unable to start.
  • Thus, A.D.E. years are unable to begin.
More ominous is his short video about Mind Control (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZCYhx8YXEI&feature=related ): "I'm able to control every belief and religion by being the mind controller."

But it now appears that Loughner has been posting to at least one internet conspiracy site using the name "Erad3" (which would be an anagram of his first name if we substitute "J" for "3"). Erad3 posts some of the very same inane content that we find in the above YouTube videos, such as "infinite currency," and the pseudo-syllogistic style of both writers is clearly the same. It's virtually certain that Erad3 = Loughner (see http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/archive/2011/01/11/loughner-on-war-ufos-and-corporate-prison.aspx ).

On the UFO and other conspiracy-related site "Above Top Secret," Erad3 began a long thread titled, "All aboard with the empty NASA Space Shuttles!" ( http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread593100/pg1 ) In it he argues not that astronauts never went to the moon, but never even went into space at all, using ridiculous "syllogisms" such as
  • If the design of the NASA Space Shuttle keeps the black body temperature of −454 °F from the outside orbit then the NASA Space Shuttle is at a temperature for human life.
  • The NASA Space Shuttle isn’t at a temperature for human life.
  • Hence, the design of the NASA Space Shuttle doesn’t keep the black body temperature of −454 °F from the outside orbit. 
To their credit, the other conspiracy aficionados on that site argued with Erad3 fiercely. His conspiracy syllogisms obviously made no sense - this wasn't even a good conspiracy story, just the delusions of some madman.  

Erad3 also started a thread claiming that the Mars Rovers likewise were faked  (http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread592730/pg1):
  • If NASA creates a mars rover that communicates from mars then the signal reaches from the distance of mars.
  • The signal doesn’t reach from the distance of mars.
  • Nonetheless, NASA creates a mars rover that doesn’t communicate from mars.

Space journalist and skeptic James E. Oberg brings up the possibility that this shooting may have been more than just blind anti-government anger. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who Laughner is accused of shooting, is married to NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. Oberg writes, " This raises the disturbing possibility that Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, may not have been a coincidental feature of Laughner's delusions and murderous hatred. If he really had the belief that NASA was faking its space missions, then Kelly would have been one agent of that fakery -- and perhaps in his weird world, so would his wife."

Probably that was not the only reason for Laughner's mad anger, but likely contributed to it. Proximity - simple geography - could well have been the main one. It's easier to be upset with people who are nearby that one sees than those far away that one never sees. And for someone with obsessive beliefs about government mind control, unconstitutional government acts, and NASA space conspiracies, the "power couple" of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who represents his district, and astronaut Mark Kelly, a supposed participant in a huge NASA conspiracy, would represent everything that he opposed.


  1. As usual, Sheaffer had contributed a cogent and valuable observation. This also alerts us all to the real danger we can face from the conspiracy nuts...

  2. Fellows: I run into this sort of belief system a lot. It seems to be expanding, or maybe just the Net makes it easier to find. What is the solution to this sort of thing? Censorship is not going to help, as these nuts will find a way to publish somehow. It seems that they have a strong need to expound, to everyone...

    Dale Martin

  3. I believe everything you stated was a conspiracy to make him look like a conspiracy nut when in actuallity he was a victim of mind control and essentially played the role of the manchurian candidate. you are a skeptic hence you only believe the hard evidence offered, the "hard evidence" in this case happens to be internet postings claimed to be by the shooter released to the media, since when do skeptics believe internet videos in text? I want to see a video of this kid actually speaking the beliefs purported by these posts.

  4. Interesting...

    James and Vonmazut lump anyone that considers the possibility that the official story is not the true one into the same group and the real psycos like loughner.

    Even though, in the article, that author states that the people of AboveTopSecret all battled AGAINST loughner's ridiculous claims. It's obvious these "conspiracy nuts" at least most of them, can spot a true nut, like loughner, when they see him. Several posters on ATS even suggested to loughner, seemingly out of genuine concern, that he should seek help as he seemed to have a few screws loose.

    Then this other Anonymous poster cooks up a strange conspiracy about this whole incident. Without any supporting evidence, really.

    Seems like both sides of the spectrum are being represented here, those who will turn anything into a conspiracy, and those narrow minded folk who refuse to even consider anything that doesn't fit into their neat little box of reality.

    And I posted to represent those who reside in the middle, because they are almost never represented.

    1. I don't get the sense that the conspiracy theories were the cause of the problem, more like a symptom of the greater problem.

      One helpful note: A spectrum does not have two sides, and calling someone else narrow-minded basically indicates narrow-mindedness on your own part.

  5. What does David Wilcock say?


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