- story A second person, 17-year-old Russell King Jr., died late last night of injuries sustained during Monday’s shooting; he was pronounced brain dead. Another person is reportedly in critical condition from the shooting, and two others are hospitalized.
- background T.J. Lane, the gunman in the shooting, has been identified by the family’s lawyer. Lane posted a Facebook note back in December which ended: “Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you.” source
I hate to diminish the violence that happened, but I’m sick of listening to talk about warning signs like dark poetry as if we can somehow cure this plague of school shootings. You have no greater chance of accomplishing this than you do of ridding tailgates of fistfights or the world of wars.
I also hate citing wikipedia, but this roundup is very telling because of its breadth. It describes a number of “school shooting” incidents that are lumped under the banner of “terrorism” dating back to the 1800s in which young people (girls too) used various tools (even flamethrowers) to assist in delivering violence to their peers or teachers. This didn’t start with Kip Kinkel or Harris and Klebold, although they were far more effective than the dozens of others.
The talk of litmus tests and warning signs that can indicate a so-called school shooter is a dangerous and absurd generalization. I’d bet darker poetry has been written by people who went on to win Nobel’s, and while I don’t think it’s particularly impressive, it’s no worse that what the Jesus freaks yelled about hellfire and damnation to the so-called sinners on Bourbon Street a couple of weeks ago.
I also hate it when us media types claim that facebook missives ending in, “die, all of you” are smoking guns without presenting the whole thing.
The following is Lane’s facebook post from The Daily Beast article linked above:
In a time long since, a time of repent, The Renaissance. In a quaint lonely town, sits a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. His luck had run out. Lost and alone. The streets were his home. His thoughts would solely consist of “why do we exist?” His only company to confide in was the vermin in the street. He longed for only one thing, the world to bow at his feet. They too should feel his secret fear. The dismal drear. His pain had made him sincere. He was better than the rest, allthose ones he detests, within their castles, so vain. Selfish and conceited. They couldn’t care less about the peasents they mistreated. They were in their own world, it was a joyous one too. That castle, she stood just to do all she could to keep the peasents at bay, not the enemy away. They had no enemies in their filthy orgy. And in her, the castles every story, was just another chamber of Lucifer’s Laboratory. The world is a sandbox for all the wretched sinners. They simply create what they want and make themselves the winners. But the true winner, he has nothing at all. Enduring the pain of waiting for that castle to fall. Through his good deeds, the rats and the fleas. He will have for what he pleads, through the eradication of disease. So, to the castle he proceeds, like an ominous breeze through the trees. “Stay back!” The Guards screamed as they were thrown to their knees. “Oh God, have mercy, please!” The castle, she gasped and then so imprisoned her breath, to the shallow confines of her fragile chest. I’m on the lamb but I ain’t no sheep. I am Death. And you have always been the sod. So repulsive and so odd. You never even deserved the presence of God, and yet, I am here. Around your cradle I plod. Came on foot, without shod. How improper, how rude. However, they shall not mind the mud on my feet if there is blood on your sheet. Now! Feel death, not just mocking you. Not just stalking you but inside of you. Wriggle and writhe. Feel smaller beneath my might. Seizure in the Pestilence that is my scythe. Die, all of you.
Would you turn someone in for writing this? If you were a counselor, what treatment would you prescribe? If you were a law enforcer, would you arrest someone for such writings? I’m not defending deadly violence, but I am defending the power of using poetry, prose, painting and other artistic endeavors to provide some release from frustration and depression. I worry that simply turning writings like these into red flags will only create more repression that results in deadly violence, not to mention more paranoia when there should be more acceptance.