Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Trigger Warning: What the Neighbours Think

America’s FBI requires a trifecta of blood to enumerate a mass shooting. There must be three or more victims wounded or killed. Mass shootings are a daily occurrence in the United States. Second Amendment slaughter is rampant and so commonplace down south that news editors tune the boldness of their headlines and story lengths to body counts. And the murder sites: location, location, location; churches and grade schools are especially good. Our feeling of shock and horror over each incident has since plunged beyond numbness into the banality of sports statistics.

For all the victims and their loved ones may their god bestow some grace upon them. While the dead may be worthy of a dated picture and a brief biography, the real news is the killer and the real interest is about what ticks and tocks in a misfiring brain. Why not ask the neighbours?

Naturally there were mass shootings over the weekend and on Monday. The Associated Press yesterday morning reported that a lawyer in Houston, TX described as ‘disgruntled’ began shooting at pedestrians and cars in his neighbourhood yesterday morning with an assault rifle. I’m not certain why his paycheque source matters unless legal is the new postal. Perhaps a disgruntled barista, a less exalted profession, might make for less compelling reading. Neither a lawyer nor barista actually needs to own a military grade weapon with a laser scope.

What struck me about this particular story were the actions of his neighbours, a married couple. The wife called 911 around six in the morning to report gunfire on the street. Her husband left for work anyway because it’s just another day in the US of A, right? This fellow must be the world’s best employee: ‘Sorry I’m late, I had to dodge a sniper.’ Or maybe he works for America’s worst employer: ‘I don’t care if you had to dodge a sniper, the fact is, you’re late!’ The good news is that the man fared better than the windshield of his Mustang.

The couple knew the rifleman casually. He drove a Porsche. The wife told reporters that the lawyer was a quiet man. ‘He’s a normal, average Joe.’ The sniper was wearing a Nazi uniform when shot and killed by Houston police.

Friday night in Mount Vernon, WA a kid named Arcan Cetin allegedly shot and killed five people in a shopping mall Macy’s store. The weapon used was a rifle. The Associated Press reported that the suspect confessed his crime to the authorities and will face five charges of premeditated murder. The cretin was known to police and described by a neighbour as ‘creepy, rude and obnoxious.’

These are the people in American neighbourhoods. Some of the villains are crazy and others are just plain evil. Their neighbours are either aware or they’re not. What’s troubling is the ease with which the lunatic fringe is able to arm itself.

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