Right now, there are a million people googling the names of the various rampage shooters we’ve had in this country this year, and the rampage shooters in other countries who have made the news this year. The searches want to know what school they went to, what their parents did, what he did on Facebook. Did he play violent video games? The unspoken question is – how could I tell if this guy were in my life. There has to be an obvious sign, right, nobody just picks up guns and kills people for no reason, there has to be some underlying motivation to make someone do something so unconscionable.
They aren’t even asking the right wrong questions. There’s not a school for psychopaths (aside from the quite arguable para-psychopathic military special forces), there’s not a specific thing that happens to you when you’re a kid and makes you think, “Hey shooting kids ain’t so bad, in fact… sounds fun.” But I can tell you this – there’s a specific thing that happens to you when you are a young man living in despair, and you see the grim specter of age and irrelevance marching toward you. Wealthy people experience this as a time of shaking off the old and exploring the new. People with no options, people who have lived for years and years in the same rut, they experience it like a fucking vise clamping down around their heads. Can’t do this anymore, can’t afford anything else, can’t stop time so maybe I should stop being me and start being a legend. Everybody remembers those names!
In short this is my bio for every American shooter. I don’t have the cultural awareness to make these generalizations about other countries killers but I can say without a doubt about the big hitters in America, 2012 – He was a lazy, privileged American asshole who couldn’t see past the end of his nose and wanted desperately to have a legacy. Just like every rampage shooter, he was a young man whose hepecker and gutsjuice were telling him he was about to become forever irrelevant and he better do something about it _soon_. Guns load up real quick and it only takes a few minutes to drive to the mall. Having been sold all-in-one lifefixes and get rich quick schemes his whole life, he saw the absolute shortest shortcut one-step-plan to people remembering his face and decided to give that a try, because if it ain’t easy then fuck it it’s not worth doing. He was first and foremost an asshole, who spent his life tricking the small and dwindling number of close friends around him into thinking he was fine because he was afraid to ask for help, and once he finally felt alienated enough, he was self-justified into his nihilistic suicide drama. A lazy asshole coward who has conned the television set into paying attention to him, at long last.
Do yourself a favor – Turn off that search box, take that picture of him off your screen and stop searching the face to find violence in it. It’s like staring at the Dali Lama to try to see God or sifting the Pope’s shit to foretell the weather, it just doesn’t work that way.