On Congresswoman Giffords, Mother Jones reports:

Loughner would occasionally mention Giffords, according to Tierney: “It wasn’t a day-in, day-out thing, but maybe once in a while, if Giffords did something that was ridiculous or passed some stupid law or did something stupid, he related that to people. But the thing I remember most is just that question. I don’t remember him stalking her or anything.” Tierney notes that Loughner did not display any specific political or ideological bent: “It wasn’t like he was in a certain party or went to rallies…It’s not like he’d go on political rants.” But Loughner did, according to Tierney, believe that government is “fucking us over.” He never heard Loughner vent about about the perils of “currency,” as Loughner did on one YouTube video he created.

Of all the “friend/classmate says” reports we’re seeing, this is perhaps the most illuminating to date. Tierney seems to have known Loughner long enough and intimately enough to offer genuine insights.

And yet those insights still don’t offer anything close to a clear picture of who Loughner is or what he believes politically. If anything, the piece adds to the confusion and seems to confirm, at least for now, that his beliefs were far outside the mainstream and near impossible to place on any simplistic political spectrum. Which may well be the case when all is settled. What is clear in this piece is that, as many earlier reports have noted, Loughner is probably deeply mentally disturbed.

It’s important to note too that while Tierney seems a trustworthy source and his views as a close friend are valuable, he can only represent part of the story. There may be aspects to Loughner politically which he never revealed to Tierney—he may have been a Tea Party member, he may have bee a communist—and Tierney’s claims are difficult to verify. The bottom line: we’re still waiting for more. All for now seems a kind of speculation.

*Correction: Post initially incorrectly identified Balz a working for The Washington Times.


Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.