Jijo Jacob, International Business Times (New York), May 26, 2011
A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that 22-year-old shooter Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and seriously wounded Congress woman Gabrielle Giffords, was mentally unfit to stand trial.
The ruling came after staff psychologist at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners and a forensic psychiatrist certified that the Arizona killer was not mentally stable.
Even as the law takes its course there is no agreement on the motives that drove him to the shooting spree that killed 6 people and injured 13. There has been a robust debate over his motives, ideological affiliations and if he was politically motivated.
Loughner, who is held responsible for the killing of six people including a federal judge, is variously described as a right wing extremist, a mentally deranged killer, an anti-government fanatic, a white supremacist and as a die-hard leftist who adored Che Guevara.
Following are some key facts about Jared Lee Loughner:
MANIACAL LEFTIST OF RIGHT WING FANATIC?
Was he a leftist? His personal heroes include Venezuela’s communist leader and arch enemy of the U.S. Hugo Chavez as well as iconic revolutionary Che Guevara. But it’s much more complex than it looks–his list also includes President Barack Obama! Conversely, he could, in fact, be far from being a patriot as it’s emerged that one of his videos shows a man burning a U.S. national flag. And then it should be clubbed with his inclusion of The Communist Manifesto among his favorite books.
All this could well be interpreted as his being a left winger! But Mark Potok, writing in Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), discounts this theory. “The main enemy of the Patriot movement is certainly the federal government. And so-called Patriots have certainly engaged in acts like burning the flag.”
However, Potok says inferences can be made about his intellectual leanings from his reading list that includes books that run a theme of “individual versus the totalitarian state”. Some of his favorites were Ayn Rand’s ‘We the Living’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ as well as Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.’
There is also speculation over his possible allegiance to the American Renaissance ideology that espouses white supremacist ideals. SPLC describes American Renaissance thus: “Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites–although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship.”