Just hours before he shot 20 people outside a Tucson supermarket, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 9 year-old Christina-Taylor Green, Jared Lee Loughner called his old friend Bryce Tierney. It was 2:00 in the morning, and Tierney, awake and watching television, decided to let the call go to voicemail.
“I sort of wish I would have,” Tierney said in an interview with Mother Jones. “I wonder what would have happened if I answered it.”
When Tierney heard that Giffords had been shot, his mind immediately turned to his close friend Loughner: “They hadn’t released the name, but I said, ‘Holy shit, I think it’s Jared that did it.’”
Tierney and Loughner became friends during their sophomore year of high school. Back then, Loughner was just an average teenager. “He was playing drums, doing band things, playing sax,” Tierney recalled. “He was raised on writing and reading music.”
It wasn’t until junior or senior year that Loughner began showing signs of trouble. He became a “nihilist” according to Tierney, obsessing over semantics and “lucid dreaming.” He became convinced that he could control his dreams and create an alternative reality where he could do whatever he wanted. “I saw his dream journal once. That’s the golden piece of evidence,” according to Tierney. “You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner’s mind, there’s a dream journal that will tell you everything.”
Loughner smoked pot as a teenager, but Tierney says he had quit by the fall of 2008. After he got clean, “his theories got worse.” He became increasingly angry with the government, although Tierney notes that Loughner did not support a particular political movement or party.
Tierney remembers that Loughner complaining about Giffords years before the shooting. In 2007, Loughner met the congresswoman at a rally. “He told me that she opened up the floor for questions and he asked a question,” Tierney said. “The question was, ‘What is government if words have no meaning?’”
“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 continued. “Ever since that, he thought she was fake, he had something against her.”
“When I heard Gabrielle Giffords has been shot, I was like ‘Oh my God…,’” Tierney said. “For some reason I felt like I knew…I felt like if anyone was going to shoot her, it would be Jared.”