Zach Osler, an old friend Jared Lee Loughner, says that the man suspected of shooting Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Tucson on Saturday steered clear of politics and the news.
“He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right,” Osler told ABC News’ Ashleigh Banfield in an interview.
Loughner’s biggest influence, according to Osler, was the popular online conspiracy theory documentary series Zeitgeist.
“I really think (Zeitgeist) had a profound impact on Jared Loughner’s mindset and he viewed the world that he lives in,” Osler said. “He wasn’t shooting at people. He was shooting at the world.”
After a girl broke up with him in high school, Loughner began drinking and smoking salvia, a legal hallucinogen. As Loughner became stranger, Osler began to distance himself from the accused mass murderer.
Osler, who lost touch with Loughner two years ago, began to cry when shown the suspect’s now infamous smiling mug shot.
“I wish I could have helped him,” Osler said, fighting back tears. “I wish there was something I could have done or said to help him or try to get him help. I just didn’t. So that’s why it’s hard to look at the picture of him. He looks like a monster.”