By Chadwick Matlin
Matlin, a guest contributor, is a freelance writer. The opinions expressed are his own.
Jared Lee Loughner used the American dollar like the rest of us. He used it to pay for classes at Pima Community College, he used it to buy a handgun and he used it to pay for a taxi to the Safeway where he shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others on Saturday.
But apparently the dollar is a currency he despised. Loughner’s YouTube videos are consumed with the idea of creating a “new currency,” one that is nothing like our current, Federal Reserve-controlled greenback. In “Hello,” he writes, “my ambition — is for informing literate dreamers about a new currency.” (All of Loughner’s videos are composed of text or diagrams. He never appears.)
What “new currency” implies is unclear. He seems to oscillate between a new currency backed by gold and silver, and one that allows the individual complete control. But it’s evident that monetary policy was one of Loughner’s many pet peeves. Past violent psychopaths have had their tics — John Hinckley thought he could impress Jodie Foster by shooting Ronald Reagan, John Wayne Gacy dressed as a clown — but Loughner appears to be the first obsessed with the particulars of monetary policy.
In a video called “Introduction: Jared Loughner” he writes, “No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver!” But then later, in the same video, he also suggests that it’s not a gold standard he’s after, but a personal one. “Every human who’s mentally capable is always able to be treasurer of their new currency,” he writes in the same video. Later, he speaks about creating a “new language” in the same terms he uses to describe a “new currency.”