Waiting for America’s next mass murder

October, 2015

We won’t have to wait long. He’s out there right now. We don’t know his name, or where it will happen, but he will do it. We Americans will know his name within the next week or so.

It will be a he. Very few mass murders are committed by shes. It’s hard to even think of any.

He’s likely early, maybe mid-20s. He’s probably white, but not always. The mass murderer at the Navy Yard in Washington DC was black, and the one at Virginia Tech was Asian-American — but these were unusual. They are almost always white.

He’s a loner. He has trouble associating with people. He’s never had a girlfriend, which he blames on women. He’s probably smarter than he appears, but he also may have some kind of mental disability. Something that made the others pick on him, something that made them call him names in the schoolyard, names that stung like nettles, outside classrooms, maybe on the bus, names that just make him feel more isolated. And angry. Angry enough to want to get even in the worst way.

He’s brooding. Maybe he really needed that job but his damn supervisor at work just didn’t understand the pressures he was under. Or the way the others made fun of him. He knew they were glad to see him go. It was just like all the other places where he had worked and where they had fired him. They’re not going to be so glad to see me when I come back, he tells himself as he plans what he will do next.

Most likely somebody knows. Somebody always knows. But they just don’t think it could ever happen. Not here. Those kind of things happen in other places. To other people. He’s probably just talking out of his ass, the others think. He really doesn’t mean it. But he really does.

He feels like he’s a nobody. But he knows what he will do next will turn him into a somebody. Somebody important. Somebody who will lead national newscasts. Somebody whose invisible life will suddenly be visible to the entire nation. That excites him.

He knows people still remember the names: Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, Jared Loughner, Adam Lanza, Dylann Roof. Some people will say his name should not be mentioned. But he knows the media. The media will mention it again and again and again and they will talk to his friends (if he has any friends), and his neighbours, who will tell the media that he was a quiet boy, kept to himself. His parents will say they don’t understand how this happened, and his teachers who will say he was a good student. Oh yes, they will talk about him.

And they will talk about his guns. How he loves guns. They were so easy to get. Maybe he acquired them himself. Maybe his parents love guns and keep dozens of them in his house within easy reach. So he didn’t have to go far once his plan was set. He has so many guns because there’s really no way to stop him from getting them. The National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers have made it easier for him to get his hands on every weapon he wants than it is for him to get a drivers license.

He really doesn’t care what the gun rights people will say after the event. In fact he’s probably not even thought about it. He’s an American, and he knows Americans love guns. Because the truth is that Americans don’t care how many children, or employees, or bosses, or teachers, or students get mowed down in his revenge, as long as it’s nobody they know or love. And too bad for the ones who do know them. Second Amendment uber alles!

He also knows that no one will be able to stop him. There is no “good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy,” as the NRA likes to say. He’ll have no idea that in the last 30 years there has not been a single case of an armed individual on the scene of a mass shooting stepping forward to shoot it out. Oh, there have been cases when unarmed people have stopped mass shooters, particularly when they pause to reload. But he doesn’t have to worry about that, because he lives in the state that says you can have an ammunition clip with as many bullets as you want, because that’s the American way. He’ll just be able to shoot and shoot and shoot as long as he wants.

And then it will be over. The bodies will be lying all around him or down the hall, or in the classroom or in the office. And he knows the police will be coming. He’ll probably exchange a few shots with them just to make it more dramatic. And then he’ll sneak away into a back room and rob everyone of that sense of closure they always talk about. He’ll end it himself, but he knows he will be front page news … until the next one.

He’s out there. Truly any day now. It’s brewing up inside him. And because we in America have made it so easy for him to act, he and the others like him will kill many, many people, again and again and again. And we will wring our hands and gnash our teeth and then do nothing. Because we are hollow men and women. Full of sound and fury that signifies nothing … except an expanding body count.

Copyright Tom Regan 2015

The NRA’s primary goal is not to serve its members, but to ensure the gun manufacturers that sponsor and fund it make as much money as possible, writes Tom Regan. Above, the wares at a gun show in Houston, Texas. Photo by M&R Glasgow via Flickr, Creative Commons

Facts and Opinions is a boutique collaboration that’s independent, non-partisan, employee-owned, and funded only by readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded” fake stories, or solicit donations from partisan organizations. We appreciate, and to continue we require, your support. Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Above, the wares at a gun show in Houston, Texas. Photo by M&R Glasgow via Flickr, Creative Commons

Contact Tom Regan:  motnager@gmail.com

Related on F&O:

America’s gun cult, Switzerland’s firearms culture, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs, Oct. 2015

Blame massacres on America’s National Rifle Association, by Tom Regan, Opinion, June, 2105

Maybe this time America won’t run away from better gun laws, by Tom Regan, Opinion, June, 2105

Meet the American Doctor who Donated $1 Million to Fund Gun Research, by Lois Beckett, report, April, 2014

American Republicans Oppose Gun Violence Research, by Lois Beckett, report, April, 2014


Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded content,” or solicit donations from partisan organizations.  Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Please tell others about us..