A mugshot just released of Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old man accused of the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others in Tucson, has become a focal point for the strong reactions felt across the United States and even global community after last weekend's violence.
The mugshot, which shows Loughner staring straight into the camera with an unsettling smirk on his face, has been splashed across the front pages of American and international newspaper websites. As this is being written, it appears as the lead photograph on the NYTimes.com and LATimes.com slideshows and on the front page of WashingtonPost.com, BBC News, Yahoo News, The Huffington Post, The Times of London, The Daily Telegraph and other top news sites.
Loughner appeared in a federal courtroom in Phoenix Monday with his lawyer Judy Clarke. The college dropout faces two federal murder charges and three attempted murder charges. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson called Loughner a "danger to the community" and ordered him held without bond. Rep. Giffords remains hospitalized in critical condition after being shot in the head.
In the photograph, released by the Pima County Sheriff's Forensic Unit, light shines off Loughner's bald head. He has freckles and what looks like the tracings of a black eye. What makes the image striking is not the face itself, but the look the young man conveys. He grabs the viewer with his eyes, looking straight ahead and not backing down or showing any sign of shame or remorse. Viewing the image — and knowing what the subject is accused of doing — leaves many viewers wondering if the man is mentally ill.
On the social networking site Twitter, the mugshot has been discussed at length with people calling it "creepy" and "eery" and others pleading with the media to stop showing the photograph.
One person wrote: "Have yall seen this Jared loughner mugshot??? My god... Keith olbermann, please stop showing that joint. I am all types of creeped out."
Another wrote, "Jared lee loughner's mugshot will forever haunt me in my dreams."
Another called it "one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen."
What are your thoughts on the image? Why do you think it causes such strong reactions? Should the media limit their use of the image? Leave your comments below.
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