Jared Lee Loughner and the Dogs

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 12 2011 10:32 AM

Jared Lee Loughner and the Dogs

The Associated Press keeps building on the tick-tock of Saturday's shooting, and adds more details about Jared Lee Loughner's life before. File this under "why didn't anyone see this coming?"

A year ago, he volunteered walking dogs at the county animal shelter, said Kim Janes, manager of the Pima Animal Care Center. He liked dogs; neighbors remember him as the kid they would see walking his own. 

But at the shelter, staff became concerned: He was allowing dogs to play in an area that was being disinfected after one had contracted a potentially deadly disease, the parvovirus. 

"He didn't think the disease was that threatening and when we tried to explain how dangerous some of the diseases are, he didn't get it," Janes said. 

Loughner wouldn't agree to keep dogs from the restricted area, and was asked to come back when he would. He never returned.

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The incoherent BBS messages, the incoherent outbursts in classes, the disbelief that a disease would cause disease -- Loughner didn't avoid tasks or human interaction, he just didn't understand them.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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