Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jared Lee Loughner, student

Two New York Times articles recount Jared Lee Loughner’s time at Pima Community College in Tucson. A sample:

Don Coorough, 58, who sat two desks in front of Mr. Loughner in a poetry class last semester, described him as a “troubled young man” and “emotionally underdeveloped.” After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a “terrorist for killing the baby.”

“No one in that class would even sit next to him,” Mr. Coorough said. Another fellow student said that he found Mr. Loughner’s behavior so eccentric — including inappropriate remarks and unusual outbursts — that he wondered if he might be on hallucinogens.
The Washington Post has interviewed Pima instructor Ben McGahee, who had Loughner in a summer 2010 algebra class:
“I always felt, you know, somewhat paranoid,” McGahee said. “When I turned my back to write on the board, I would always turn back quickly — to see if he had a gun.”

McGahee said he had to make several complaints before administrators finally removed Loughner.

“They just said, ‘Well, he hasn’t taken any action to hurt anyone. He hasn’t provoked anybody. He hasn’t brought any weapons to class,’” McGahee recalled. “‘We’ll just wait until he takes that next step.’”
McGahee’s fears are not exaggerated: they will be familiar to anyone who’s put in time in a classroom with a disruptive, unstable student. The Post also has three e-mails from a student in the class.

Administrators at Pima suspended Loughner in September 2010 and required a mental health clearance before he returned to campus. That of course never happened.

Arizona Suspect’s Recent Acts Offer Hints of Alienation (New York Times)
Suspect’s Odd Behavior Caused Growing Alarm (New York Times)
Jared Loughner’s college instructor: I was worried he might have a gun in class (Washington Post)
Jared Loughner's behavior recorded by college classmate in e-mails
(Washington Post)

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