He became intrigued by antigovernment conspiracy theories, including that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by the government and that the country’s central banking system was enslaving its citizens. His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.
“I think he feels the people should be able to govern themselves,” said Ms. Figueroa, his former girlfriend. “We didn’t need a higher authority.”
Breanna Castle, 21, another friend from junior and senior high school, agreed. “He was all about less government and less America,” she said, adding, “He thought it was full of conspiracies and that the government censored the Internet and banned certain books from being read by us.”
Among the books that he would later cite as his favorites: “Animal Farm,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto.” Also: “Peter Pan.”