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The gunman who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others in Arizona this morning has been identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner. He uploaded a number of strange videos to YouTube expressing convoluted philosophical and political views. And he hates Giffords.

Here's what we know so far:

  • According to his YouTube page, Loughner graduated from Mountain View High School and attended Northwest Aztec Middle College and Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Catie Parker claims to have been in a band with Loughner, as well as his high school and college classmate. In a Twitter exchange with Anthony De Rosa, she said that when she knew Loughner he was a radical liberal, a "loner" and "very philosophical:
  • "He was a political radical and met Giffords once before in '07, asked her a question and he told me she was 'stupid and unintelligent.' He was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix, The Doors, Anti-Flag.... As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal and oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy."
  • Parker says Loughner dropped out of school after getting alcohol poisoning in '06.
  • In one YouTube video, Loughner claims to be a military recruit at the Phoenix, Arizona Military Entrance Processing Station.

[There was a video here]

  • About those YouTube videos: They are very strange. All of Loughners videos feature only long passages of text which express quasi-political beliefs that could broadly be called anti government. He writes, "If the property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution then the revolutionary's (sic) from the revolution are in control of the land and laws." Loughners main gist in his videos is that people will be freed through the development of a "new currency," whatever that is. His strange insistence on proper grammar is belied by his own horrible writing, and his one favorited video features a guy lighting an American flag on fire.
  • Laughner's now-defunct Myspace page, with his last status update, via Animal New York: "Please don't be mad at me." (Click to enlarge)
  • Loughner posted this picture of a handgun, possibly the one used in the shooting, on a copy of "united states history"

[Image via Loughner's defunct MySpace page]