There were no missed red flags as far as I can tell. The Arizona Republic has brief summaries of 12 reports, the most damning of which involve him being drunk at school and being caught with pot paraphernalia while driving with his friend. See the Smoking Gun for more details. In fact, until the morning of the shooting, when he was stopped for running a red light but behaved unsuspiciously with the officer, Loughner had no run-ins with county police since 2008 — which at first blush seems surprising but makes sense in light of what his friends have said about him becoming more withdrawn as his illness progressed. It may be that, aside from going to class at community college, he spent much of his time over the past few years in his room, online, hallucinating.
Speaking of community college, the campus police released their reports too. There are red flags in those, but then we already knew that given what his classmates have said about fearing for their lives. A taste:
The final report was taken in September and led to the school serving Loughner a “notice of immediate suspension” after he disrupted another class.
The officer who took the report noted that “there might be a mental health concerns involved with Loughner,” according to the documents.
Later, when an officer served Loughner with the suspension notice at the family’s home in Tucson, the officer wrote, “While inside the garage, I spoke with Jared who held a constant trance of staring as I narrated the past events that had transpired,” the report states.
As the officer left, Loughner broke his silence and said, “I realize now that this is all a scam.”
And of course, there were red flags galore missed by Loughner’s friends. Big, bright, wavy red flags:
“He would ask me constantly, ‘Do you see that blue tree over there?’ He would admit to seeing the sky as orange and the grass as blue,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “Normal people don’t talk about that stuff.”…
“He would call me at 2 a.m. and asked, ‘Are you hanging out in front of my house, stalking me?’ He started to get really paranoid, and said he did not want to see us anymore and did not trust us,” Mr. Gutierrez said, referring to himself and another friend. “He thought we were plotting to kill him or steal his car.”
A lingering question mark: If this is all there is to the file, what did Dupnik mean when he referred to death threats (to some unspecified person(s), not necessarily Giffords) that Loughner had made? Were those outside the county’s jurisdiction? The odd thing about the detail regarding threats — and yet another blow to the left’s narrative about tying this somehow to the threats made against congressmen during the health-care debate — is that truly dangerous nuts typically don’t contact their targets. In fact, according to a 1999 study cited by Ronald Bailey in his piece yesterday for Reason, not a single one of the 83 would-be assassins they looked at made threats to the target or to police before the attack. Which, again, makes sense per the point above about psychological withdrawal. As these guys retreat further into fantasyland, they may simply drift away from communicating with people even to the point of forgetting to harass their hate object.
Exit question: On the morning of the shootings, Loughner did something that alarmed his father enough for the old man to chase him into the desert before giving up. What was it?