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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 10, 2011 11:35pm-12:05am PST

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tonight on "nightline" -- inside a troubled mind, the mug shot of jared lee loughner is revealed. a smile to follow a horrific crime. but who is he? what kind of family did he come from? and what made him finally snap? we have the inside story. single but deadly. they are ready to murder. but they brood alone, prepare alone and act alone so how do you stop them? "nightline" investigates the phenomenon of the lone wolf. and the freezing south. a fierce storm leaves dixie blanketed and shivering. chaos on roads and runways. we'll tell you where it's headed next.
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good evening. i'm bill weir. it is part of the human condition to seek rationale explanations for the most irrational of crime. emptying a glock into the crowd of innocents goes against logic but we have to try to understand. what was the nature of loughner's apparent sickness? who could have stopped him? those are the questions out of tucson. here is david wright with the very latest clues. >> reporter: the first glimpse of jared lee loughner since his arrest, a mug shot released today. head shaved. eyes bright. on his lips, the hint of a smile. shortly after his arrest for mass murder. today, police surrounded the federal courthouse in phoenix. inside, shackled hand and foot, loughner had his day in court. his first of many. it was a brief proceeding. the judge informed him of the charges.
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the defendant said he understood them. loughner had a public defender. but none of his family members were there to offer moral support. [ bells tolling ] today across the country, a moment of silence for the victims. but there are still many unanswered questions about the shooter and his possible motive. the warning signs were there. plenty say they weren't surprised. including neighbors. >> i told my mother i thought he was a serial killer the first time i saw him. >> reporter: former teachers. >> jared was not your normal student. he was just mentally unstable. i was not too surprised of who the killer was, that jared committed this act. >> reporter: even law enforcement from what the sheriff told diane sawyer today. >> this is somewhat dysfunctional family. and this individual has probably been troubled for some time. >> reporter: you think there's little question that they knew he was very troubled? >> i don't think there's any doubt about that at all. i think the entire neighborhood, where they lived, was aware. >> reporter: but apparently no one followed up on those warning
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signs until it was too late. loughner grew up in the northwest corner of tucson in this modest ranch house where, until saturday, he lived with his parents. neighbors described them as a family of loners. >> it was times when we would be out with other neighbor kids playing in the street and jared wouldn't be allowed out. he'd have to sit and watch us from the door, the window. it just became very isolating. >> reporter: at mountain view high school, he started off as a regular kid who played saxophone in the jazz band and in his spare time played drums. >> pretty much hung out with a group of like five or six of us. we'd spend time in this little hallway there. it was just a little concealed hallway. we'd hang out, talk music, talk politics, things of that sort. >> reporter: friends describe him as dressing a little goth. >> don't want to classify him as anything but trench coat kind of kid, you know. long hair, skater. heavy metal music. ♪ you're one of them >> reporter: and say he was fond
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of the punk band black flag. in other words, he was about as alienated as most teenagers. >> it was just, you know, we want to change the government. we want to, you know, have a different kind of government and change -- but nothing -- kill someone -- >> reporter: in 2006, after his junior year at mountain view, loughner abruptly dropped out. it's not clear why. that's when his friends start describing a change. by that time, he was smoking a lot of pot. and according to friends became a sort of anile lift. one friend told mother jones magazine he became obsessed with the practice of lucid dreaming. >> lucid dreaming is when a person has not only very vivid dreams, but clear dreams, but they are consciously aware that they are dreaming and that they're able to influence or manipulate or work within the dreams. >> they take control of their dreams? >> they can take control of the dreams. they can change the plot of the dreams. they can change the outcome of the dreams. >> reporter: if you've seen the
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movie "inception" you know all about this. lucid dreaming is not just a hollywood fabrication. lucid dreamers actually claim in their dreams they can have super human powers, defying the laws of gravity and the laws of society without fear of consequences. >> he might have been living a life like the movie "inception." >> in some respects, he may have been living a life like "inception." could you imagine what it would be like if you had to live in a fantasy world in order to be fulfilled? >> reporter: that interest in dream life seems to coincide with a diminishing interest in reality. friends safe loughner became interested in pop culture interpretations of mayan prophesies about 2012. >> the world was going to end. he was sure of it. >> reporter: it was at that point that loughner first met congresswoman gabby giffords. >> he met her once in '07 and told me he asked her a question that made absolutely no sense to me, but he said, i can't believe she doesn't understand it. politicians just don't get it.
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i was like, okay, whatever, jared, and just passed it off. knowing now, what i know now, that's probably a trigger. >> reporter: the question that stumped giffords is, what is government if words have no meaning? the friend told mother jones, i told him, dude, no one is going to answer that. tierney said ever since then loughner thought the congresswoman was a fake. he had something against her, he said. psychologists say politics may have had little to do with any alleged motives for assassination. >> the key to understanding jared lee loughner is not his political ideology, however incoherent as it is. it is his disorganized disru disruptive psychotic behavior. >> reporter: he voted in 2006 and 2008. he did not vote in 2010. despite his avowed distaste for government, he tried to enlist in the u.s. army in 2008. the army wouldn't take him because he admitted to the
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recruiter he had smoked marijuana hundreds of times. instead, he turned back to his education. at pima community college with his classes included at vanced poetry writing. >> a heavy storm is leaving. in the fields of the ancient wild forest, a wild field of mushrooms is growing. i'm going to stop there. it ends though with the line, the dodo is finally dying. >> reporter: not only was his poetry a little off the wall, agca bra seems to have inspired him even less. >> he was kind of doodling a lot, drawing, listened to his i-pod, just minded own business. on the test he wrote something interesting. like an equation. said eat plus sleep plus brush teeth equals math. it was just -- it was just something very random, you know, just off the wall comments that just showed you how disconnected he was from the class and from the students. and just seemed like he didn't care. >> reporter: mcgahee found loughner's behavior so odd he
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told school officials. the school told him and his parents he could remain enrolled if he sought mental help. school officials say he declined. >> he finally got kicked out with the force of the dean, the counselor and the campus police officer. i coordinated with all of those people and kept in good contact. >> reporter: that was october of last year. my december, loughner posted a video on youtube called "my final thoughts." a rambling rant about dreaming and other obsessions. by this point, friends say he had retreated further into his dream life, preferring his dreams to reality. i'm a sleep walker who turns off the alarm clock, he writesp the youtube video. is it possible when he allegedly pulled that trigger saturday morning, he thought he was dreaming? >> of course, nobody knows for sure. but it is certainly possible. >> reporter: early saturday morning, according to mother jones, loughner did leave a voice mail message for his friend bryce tierney. he said, hey, man, it's jared,
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me and you had good times, peace out, later. it sounded like a good-bye. but it sure seems like peace was an odd choice of words, given the bloodbath that followed. i'm david wright for "nightline" in tucson. >> as for his targets, congresswoman giffords remains in an induced coma tonight. doctors say her brain has not shown signs of hufurther swelli. our thanks to david wright for that report. when we come back, killers who act alone. from mark david chapman to three dear kaczynski, we go inside the phenomenon of the lone wolf. can a trading site help make you a sharper trader? mine can. td ameritrade can. they've got trading specialists i can call for help. and paper trading. free practice trading that helps me hone my technique. complex options. and free tutorials. online or in person. can a trading site really make a difference?
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the night before his alleged crime, jared loughner left a voice mail for an old friend. mentioning good times and today that friend told a tucson tv station that it had been almost a year since he had heard from loughner and had no idea what happened to him since. by hatching his plan and reclusive secrecy, loughner fits the kind of pattern that worries cops in all corners of the country. brian ross is here to explain why. brian. >> reporter: bill, for all the warnings about and the money spent to prevent terrorism law enforcement authorities say facts show the greater and more likely threat in this country comes from people like the suspect in this case. people known as lone wolves. america has been plagued for decades by acts of violence
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attributed to lone wolves. the assassinations of the 1960s made household names of the men responsible. and the number of men, mostly young, who have sought similar notoriety, only seems to have increased every year since then. up to this weekend's accused murderer jared loughner. >> i think we call them lone wolves because it's like they can't work in a pack. in other words, they can't work in society. >> reporter: are there a lot of these lone wolves in this country? >> i believe there are thousands of people like mr. loughner. >> reporter: the loner who shot and killed the beatle john lennon is a textbook case. the common theme with mark david chapman and history's other lone wolves is not ideology or politics or religion. according to forensic psychiatrist dr. michael welder of new york university. >> the mass shooter will always justify in some righteous or ideological way that at the end of the day what drives that person is a sense they had high expectations for themselves. they recognized that they never
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will amount to everything they dreamed of. and they choose something that the public has given so much attention to. and make a decision at some point, i can be larger than life. and make a decision to destroy the society around them. >> reporter: in a prison interview with abc news, chapman told barbara walters why he killed john lennon. >> john lennon fell into a very deep hole. a hole that was so deep inside of me. that i thought by killing him i would acquire his fame. >> reporter: the celebrity musician had somehow disappointed chapman. >> and i see this real somebody who i perceived at the time to be a phony. my nobody was wanting to strike
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down that somebody. i heard this voice. and not an audible voice but an inaudible voice saying over and over, do it, do it, do it. >> he decided that john lennon was a fake. john lennon's assassination gave him immortality. >> reporter: the lone wolf shooters almost always leave behind signals or now on the internet video statements. he mailed this tape to nbc news before he killed 32 students at virginia tech four years ago. >> he methodically went room to room and people described him as basically not changing expression, looking at people, because he's not shooting human beings. he's shooting things that have caused him pain and anger. >> reporter: law enforcement professionals and psychiatrists say another classic lone wolf trait involves sexual dysfunction. 48-year-old george sedini killed three women at a pittsburgh
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health club after months of rejection by women he had asked on dates. >> it is easy for me to hide from my emotions for one more day. >> reporter: law enforcement officials say spotting a lone wolf before he can kill is highly unlikely. the family of so-called unabomber ted kaczynski knew he had mental health issues. but did not realize he had turned violent until his manifesto was published in newspapers and his brother david saw it and called the fbi. david kaczynski talked with "nightline" tonight. >> there are cases like my brothers where the psychotic delusions precipitate violent behavior, and it's very, very difficult to predict. >> reporter: the shooting in arizona has led to condemnation of talk radio and hard-edged politics that some say incite the mentally unstable. dr. welner does not agree. >> if we feel that civility in the public discourse is going to take away mass shooting, we're mistaking because the one common
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thread of mass shooting is what does the shooter get out of it. and the shooter recognizes, if you assassinate a political figure, you will be notorious. i think john lennon had more to do with this than sarah palin. >> reporter: now in washington, the great fear among law enforcement is of copycat lone wolves who may target other unguarded members of congress. >> what can we really do? if you're talking about thousand, upon thousands of people out there, it's a scary thought. >> in this country, these lone wolves do pose a danger as great as the organized terrorists? >> i think maybe even more so, just because they're here, they're in our communities. >> reporter: the suspect in arizona was easily and legally able to buy his weapon at this store outside tucson. every country has unstable people. but not every country has such liberal gun laws. what that means is that in order to lower the number of shootings and lethal shootings, whether mass shootings or not, you have
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to do something to address the availability of guns. >> reporter: does the easy availability of weapons play a role here, do you think? >> in my professional opinion, it doesn't. >> receive the thanks of a very grateful state, daniel. >> reporter: focus on the heroes of the shooting, such as the intern who was recognized today. and to focus less on those responsible for the pain and suffering. >> it's an attention-seeking crime. which is why the perpetrators of mass shooting should be remembered as rejects, losers, perverts -- because then they won't be copied. >> reporter: he says that is a message not just for the news media but for teachers and parents and neighborhood leaders as a way to eliminate something he sadly calls distinctly american. bill? >> brian ross, our thanks to you. coming up next, we'll shift
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just 40 flights left the airport which canceled over a thousand flights because of the crippling storm that blew through on sunday. 4 to 6 inches of snow fell. more than the city's average for an entire year. travelers are camping out. most are good natured for now. >> so we were supposed to leave again this morning. that flight got canceled. now here we are at the airport, you know, the day after we're supposed to leave and we're still waiting for something to come through for us. >> reporter: with the exception of a brave few, downtown atlanta was a ghost town. >> i'm from wisconsin. we know how to deal with this stuff. >> reporter: the rest of the south has not fared much better. the sunbelt looked more like the snowbelt. alabama, louisiana, tennessee and the carolinas are all digging their way out. >> this is a no school, no work day. wow. >> reporter: those who stayed
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home made the best of a very chilly situation. >> had my kids out but they got cold. it was too cold for them. now i get to play. >> reporter: i did exactly what you're not supposed to do. tried to drive home. so we are going from birmingham to atlanta. yesterday this drive took us about three hours. it is now 1:00. we'll see how long it actually takes us to get there. the streets were deserted. with good reason. highway shoulders and ditches were littered with cars and trucks that couldn't handle the slippery conditions. >> it's slick. it's real bad. we shouldn't even be out here. >> stay home. stay home. roadside service can't help you if you're in a ditch really. >> reporter: the storm has caused at least nine traffic-related fatalities. we're ice skating in the car. not a great idea. it's not awesome at all. we're the only ones on the road right now. one semi up ahead. so i'm a little bit scared. birmingham and much of the south
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will be digging their way out of this mess for the next few days. sam champion says all of this is heading straight to the northeast. strengthening along the way. >> so far, the conversation has really been about a southeastern ice and snowstorm. and then a separate snowmaker that was in the middle of the plains dropping a pretty good bit of snow. those two systems are going to get together and they're going to make a turn up the eastern seaboard and that means by tuesday night into wednesday night, somebody in that northeastern corridor is going to come up with 12 to 18 inches of additional snow. >> reporter: back on i-20, i've reached the end of the road. we're stuck. we've been driving over an hour. we've probably gone what, 20 miles. not very much. and we are stuck. there's a whole blockade. i don't think we're getting anywhere. bye-bye, traffic. let's go find a hotel. i'm yunji de nies for "nightline," still stuck in birmingham. >> isn't that title of a country song?
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thanks to yunji for that. stay warm out there. when we come back, the message of the massacre. that is the subject of tonight's closing argument. first, here's what's next on jimmy kimmel. >> tonight, scott foley is with us. we have music from far east movement. and cameron diaz. yes, the cameron diaz. a wipe is a wipe unless it's also a scrub. lysol complete clean dual action wipes have 2 sides that go beyond ordinary wipes. you can feel the difference. one side for everyday touchups. and one to scrub tough messes. all while killing 99.9% of germs. for tips on a healthy home visit
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