While the BBC look for the Palin connection, at left American magazine Mother Jones, reporter Nick Baumann interviews an old friend of Jared Loughner, Bryce Tierney :
On Sunday, federal prosecutors charged 22-year-old Loughner with one count of attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, two counts of unlawfully killing a federal employee, and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. Giffords was the target of Loughner’s rampage, prosecutors say, and the sworn affidavit accompanying the charges mentions that Loughner attended a Giffords “Congress in Your Corner” event in 2007. The affidavit also mentions that police searching a safe in Loughner’s home found a letter from Giffords’ office thanking the alleged shooter for attending an August 25, 2007 event.
Tierney, who’s also 22, recalls Loughner complaining about a Giffords event he attended during that period. He’s unsure whether it was the same one mentioned in the charges—Loughner “might have gone to some other rallies,” he says—but Tierney notes it was a significant moment for Loughner: “He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question. The question was, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?'”“He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question.’ Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”
Giffords’ answer, whatever it was, didn’t satisfy Loughner. “He said, ‘Can you believe it, they wouldn’t answer my question,’ and I told him, ‘Dude, no one’s going to answer that,'” Tierney recalls. “Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”
One gets a distinctly Mark Chapman vibe from that. From his Youtube videos we can deduce that Loughner, to put it charitably, is running on a different mental track from most of us. His ramblings about grammar seem like a bastardized version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
– that language and grammar can determine, or at least influence, thought. It was unfortunate for Ms Gifford – and even more so for the six people murdered, including a nine year old girl – that he chose to ask her his unanswerable question – and resented her inability to answer.