Jared Lee Loughner: seeking insight from his reading list
Jared Lee Loughner's favorite books include many with anti-government themes.
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Another theme in his reading list? Paranoia. Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic theorizes, “What unites [the assassin’s reading list] is paranoia, a sense of others controlling you, of conspiracy theories and government plots, of illegitimate government and its agents of control.”Skip to next paragraph
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If “Animal Farm,” “Brave New World,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest,” provide a sampler of paranoia and conspiracy theories, unfortunately, so does 21st-century politics. Some Americans still believe 9/11 was an “inside job,” while scores of others continue to claim President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim/Fascist/Socialist/terrorist intent on killing Americans through health care “death panels.” As yet, we don’t know Loughner’s views, but he may have absorbed some of the paranoia he read and observed in politics.
Indeed, speculation has run far and wide – some say Loughner was an anti-Semite, as indicated by the inclusion of “Mein Kampf” on his reading list; Others have posited he is a proponent of conscious dreaming, the idea that reality is perceived and we live in a holographic universe. Evidence? “Alice in Wonderland.”
Still others wonder not about what’s on the list, but what’s not on the list. “Catcher in the Rye” isn’t on the list. It was a novel favored by two other mentally-disturbed shooters: Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon, and John Hinckley, who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan.
Whatever insight Loughner’s bookshelf offers into his mind, “the idea that this list will tell us much about Loughner and any political motives he had for shooting those 19 people is sorely misguided,” Salon.com reports.
Loughner’s story isn’t likely to be found between the covers of his favorite books. The real story lies in his garbled, rambling, imcomprehensible statements on YouTube, indicative of a mentally disturbed young man whose grip on reality had become increasingly weak in recent years.
Husna Haq is a Monitor contributor.