In the months leading up to a violent Tucson shooting spree, gamers and friends say Jared Lee Loughner spent time in gaming forums rambling and talking about anger issues under a variety of drug-inspired user names.
In one post found in the forums for massively multiplayer online game Earth Empires, the 22-year-old high school drop out asks “Does anyone have aggression 24/7?” He also seemed to wonder, perhaps randomly, about what life would be like at 60, or why someone who says they would go on a date with him never does.
A group of gamers helped the Wall Street Journal unearth 131 online postings written by Loughner between April and June of last year. They seem to be the ramblings of a unbalanced, angry man, though there is little context provided.
Loughner is accused of killing six, and wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) along with 13 others.
Over on the Earth Empires forums, gamers who knew Loughner for years, were shocked to learn that a man that they knew was disturbed, who some thought abused drugs, would go on a shooting spree.
“Jared Loughner was his name,” one forum poster wrote. “He played under the names ‘Dare,’ ‘heroin’ and ‘cry’. I cant fluffing believe this.. i knew the guy was nuts. but omg.. i cant stand that i know him.”
Another called Loughner a “sick, sick mind”.
Earth Empires is an online military strategy game, one that allows gamers to team up in larger alliances. These alliances also have their own private forums, forums where Loughner seems to post most often under names like Heroin and XTC.
Some of the gamers say that Loughner was removed from these private forums, not for his ramblings, but because he was accused of using them to cheat in the game.
According to those in the forum, Loughner also spent quite a bit of time playing strategy game Starcraft and was interested not only in writing, but the nature of words. Something he mentions in one of his two YouTube channels.
On one channel Loughner wrote “My favourite interest was reading, and I studied grammar. Conscience dreams were a great study in college!”
A forum poster says he took a creating writing class with Loughner in 2006. The poster, who described himself as a childhood friend of Loughner, said he met Giffords before, even spoke with her.
“He asked her what she thought about words and what they mean and how language is ‘man-made.’ ” The poster wrote. “She replied to him in Spanish and it aggravated him. I also sadly know Jared is a good shot from when we went shooting when we were younger. Scary.”