‘Well #VSU homecoming was lit until somebody got shot smh’

This tweeter expresses surprise (smh: shake my head) that one of America’s most violent campuses – Virginia State University – features violence. It was homecoming; there was a hiphop concert; the evening featured gunfire, injury, and a bunch of fights.

A little counterpoint, if I may, between the editorial staff of the Texas Tech newspaper…

… and a Lubbock insurance blogger.


With the Las Vegas shooting happening so far away from here, it’s easy to separate ourselves from the idea that [a nineteen year old Texas Tech freshman – Hollis Daniels – could be a cold-blooded murderer].


The FBI recently released 2016 data for crime in the United States. Lubbock was ranked as the 2nd most dangerous city in Texas with 825.4 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents.


It feels like our little West Texas world has been darkened by the threat of a shooting.


[T]he violent crime rate in Lubbock is 88% higher than the average across Texas.


[A]s Red Raiders, we are closer than ever and will continue to support each other.

That’s the spirit of Tech and everyone associated with this university, and that will never fade away.



Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Dad!

There are a couple of things you need to know if you’re going to survive a culture where huge numbers of people – some as young as nineteen, a rather volatile age – carry and, at the drop of a hat, shoot, guns.

1. If you are loving parents who worry that your drug-addled, illegal-gun-toting nineteen year old is becoming suicidal, do not call the university he attends and ask for a welfare check. Things could get dicey, and he could pull out his gun and shoot off the head of one of the people checking on him. Then you get to spend the rest of your life and all the money you have trying to keep your pothead kid from graduating to the harder stuff (“An anesthetic such as sodium thiopental or pentobarbital is used to induce unconsciousness, pancuronium bromide [Pavulon] to cause muscle paralysis and respiratory arrest, and potassium chloride to stop the heart.”) In order to avoid this outcome, call the local SWAT team, not the campus cops. SWAT teams are better at approaching babies with berettas.

2. This is directed to university staff: As the Scientologists put it, Go Clear. Shake your head of cobwebs and understand with piercing precision where you are and what’s going on. Situational Awareness is another way of putting this.

Let’s start with where you are. You are in the state of Texas, where people start sucking glock about the same time they start sucking teat. Guns are in the DNA. They are in the bloodstream. Concepts like “minimum age,” “legal,” and “illegal” are quaint nothings. For your own protection, assume that everyone, as soon as they can walk on their own, carries. Under no circumstances assume that the skinny, well-dressed, tow-headed little freshman from a prominent family in Seguin who is standing just to your right while you type up his report does not carry.

Unless you want to die, you will have to adopt a new attitude toward college freshmen at NRA Blue Ribbon schools like Texas Tech. You will have to deal with them as the cold-blooded killers that some of them are. Protecting yourself against the freshman class of Texas Tech University is a matter of life and death. That’s the new reality of legal and illegal, infant, baby, toddler, pre-teen, and teen (“Snap, Crackle, Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop!!”), campus carry.

And a word to Texas Tech professors: …. : ….

Ah, forget it.

‘A student at Texas Tech who claimed to be Daniels’ lab partner in Astronomy class said he seemed “absolutely normal.”‘


I mean … I guess by Texas gunny standards
a nineteen year old university freshman who
– left alone with a random policeman –
takes out his weapon and shoots the man’s
head off — and before running away
coldly removes the body cam from the
corpse he just created — is absolutely


He really told that guy, huh?

Don’t mess with Texas.

Can’t Wait to Do it Again!

Member of the freshman class,
Texas Tech. Smiling cop-killer.

Don’t mess with our young ‘uns!

They’ve got guns and some of them will
blow your head off and lock down the campus.


Time to dust off Amazing Grace one more time.

That song is getting a real workout.


And it’s true what they say! More guns really do make us safer!


Cut the little one some slack.

According to the warrant, [the shooter] told … officers that “he was the one that shot their friend.” He also told officers he “f***** up” and he “did something illogical.”

Texas Tech does offer logic, but the wee lad with the gun hadn’t had a chance to take it yet. Maybe next semester.


Great timing, by the way. Yesterday, Texas Tech’s president gave a big ol’ speech on how great the school’s doing, but it can do even better! Today one of its new admits kills a campus policeman in cold blood. Talk about stealing someone’s thunder.

A Texas Tech policeman pisses off a 19-year-old freshman who was found to have drugs in his room.

So the kid whips out his gun and blows the policeman’s head off.

Guns Up!


UD thanks Charlie.

Motive in Mandalay? Think Leopold and Loeb.

UD and her theory of her country’s latest massacre will graciously step aside when investigators discover some simple, graspable motive on the part of the gunman. Until then, how about this.

This was a crime of boredom and intellect. A metaphysical crime mixing a sense of entitlement with a sense of having run out of amusements. This was a hobbyist murder.


UD will be surprised if, like Leopold and Loeb, Stephen Paddock had any acquaintance with Nietzschean nihilism. Maybe he read Cormac McCarthy. That’s the mental landscape I’m sketching.


His brother calls Paddock highly intelligent, successful, and rich – quite like the buddies who decided, in 1924, purely out of boredom, curiosity, grandiosity, and intellectual enjoyment of the complex technical and analytical steps it would take to carry out a perfect murder, to kill a local boy.

If it’s true that one of the cameras Paddock placed in his room was positioned for him to film himself (this hasn’t been confirmed), this would complete UD‘s picture of a narcissistic game-player (he was a compulsive high-stakes gambler) at the very end of his distracting, engrossing pastimes, a man who never grew up (two divorces, no children) and who decided to leave, at the end of his maddeningly empty life, the ultimate roomful of a bad boy’s toys.

Paddock died surrounded by more guns than he could possibly fire.


Since what I’ve written reminds one of my readers of Don DeLillo, here he is:

This is World War III. It’s a fact. It’s everywhere. Innocent people are being slaughtered everywhere. It’s terrorism that is expanding … almost geometrically. What’s left? What happens next? We have our lone shooters, our individual terrorists. Where do they come from? What motivates them? I think in many cases the gun is the motive as well as the weapon itself. A gun makes it possible for an individual, a man—a young man, usually—to make sense of everything that’s happening to him, either in three dimensions or in his mind. It gives him a motive. It gives him a sense of direction. It’s a substitute for real life and it’s the way he will choose to end his life, as well as the life of innocent people, of course.


UPDATE: Not quite the same, but an affiliated theory.

Stephen Paddock very well may have contemplated mass murder as a sensualist exercise.

Again, recall Leopold and Loeb: “They did it to see what it would feel like.”

Nothing Could Have Been Done, Nothing Could Have Been Done…

… says everyone this morning, after the Las Vegas bloodbath.

There’s a simple … well, it’s not entirely a solution to some of America’s many massacres, but it’s something that could perhaps be effective in certain situations.

For all public outdoor events in urban settings, require the presence onstage of at least one rocket-propelled grenade. At least one speaker/performer would have to demonstrate competence in its use before the event could take place. A child could do it.

These things are reasonably portable and can be positioned to hit pretty high up, so once you detect the source of the gunfire, you could blast the RPG in that direction.

Serious damage will be done to the building, and to some of the people in it. But this is war.


James Melton [whose son was killed] described other “angels” who helped his son and daughter-in-law in “that killing field that must have resembled the Marines landing on Omaha Beach.”


“At one point I looked up and I thought, ‘are we at war?’

Gearing Up for …

fall semester.

Reach Out and Shoot Our Trucks

Thank God the Second Amendment is alive and well in this country.

Dad’s Special Day in Myrtle Beach, America!

Make next year’s reservations now.

‘Campuses are meant to be peaceful enclaves of introspection, deep thought and learning — not wondering whether the librarian has “Romeo and Juliet” or a Smith & Wesson.’

But the beauty of it is that she has both. Capulet, Montague, Smith, and Wesson – they’re all there now at the University of Kansas:

It’s [now legal] to walk down the middle of Kansas’ serene Midwestern campus with a hidden firearm. The carrier will need neither a permit nor training.

Coaches are being real wussy about it.

“It is a deal that I will be very adamant about in a way of banning [guns],” [a] Kansas third-year coach said. “I don’t want weapons around for our team. I know it’s a bad, bad deal for us. I understand the politics involved in it. I get that. But we’re talking about kids with lives and kids getting pissed with each other and kids that are highly competitive with each other. I fear what it could blow into.”

You can’t ban guns for the team, dummy! That would be illegal.

“It’s a little scary,” said Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor.

Ooh, little Genie’s scared…

So is Oklahoma State’s coach:

“I was in college, been to a bunch of parties, been around a lot of football players,” the coach said. “Moderation that should have been part of what we did, wasn’t. It was college, we were dumb. If you throw a gun in the mix, it’s not good. You make poor decisions. When you have a gun there, you have a chance to make a decision you can never make up for.”

And back in Kansas:

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self called the law “unbelievable.” He did not elaborate.

Who needs to elaborate? You bring a bunch of big macho guys to a college campus. You pump them up to be even more macho, more violent, on the field. If you’re the University of Oregon, you put up signs in their cafeteria that say EAT YOUR ENEMIES. You and everyone else treat the guys like kings, giving them free muscle cars, willing “hostesses” among the coeds, tutors to write their papers for them. The local cops look the other way when the guys do bad stuff. The guys learn that they can get away with anything because they play the game really violently.

Doesn’t it stand to reason that giving them a concealed weapon can only be for the best?

Fanfare for the Common Man

Off it goes, an unsecured gun in the Myrtle Beach Cracker Barrel.


Myrtle Beach, where, this week, after five shootings in twenty-four hours, they barricaded Ocean Boulevard.


‘A man was eating his lunch with his family in the restaurant’s back dining room when a small revolver fell out of his pants pocket and went off.’

‘The bullet lodged itself in the wall of the restaurant.’


‘The joke about Cracker Barrel is that it’s exactly what it sounds like: a container for backward white people.’

‘A Change.org petition in 2015 called for the company to change its name to Caucasian Barrel, and 16,000 people signed, in mock protest of P.C. culture.’


“It was complete chaos because people were going on like who has a gun and the man that had it didn’t realize that it was his that had went off.”

“Yeah, all day today we’ve been showing off the bullet hole to customers, they’ve enjoyed the story, so at the end of the day everyone was okay and our customers are getting a kick out of it.”

The American Way of Death Revisited

The image of an important American politician crawling in agony across a baseball field, trying to limit himself to just one semiautomatic bullet, comes right out of the novels of this nation’s most celebrated contemporary writer, Don DeLillo.

Anyone who has read White Noise or Players knows that postmodern death and near-death à la DeLillo typically involve some combination of playtime activities, guns, and videotape. In DeLillo, death has lost the majesty, the redemptive possibilities, it had as late as, say Tolstoy’s famous story, “The Death of Ivan Ilych.” Now it’s a sudden violent event that happens while adults are playing miniature golf; and someone’s usually around to film them expiring on the little fake putting green.


In Players, affluent American death occurs on a grownup golf course on a bright shiny day, with middle-class men, dressed in crayola colors, engaged in “that anal round of scrupulous caution and petty griefs.”

The golfers on this sweet green morning attend to their game. Together again momentarily on a particular fairway they appear almost to be posing in massed corporate glory before a distant flag. It is now that the vigilant hidden thing, the special consciousness implicit in a long lens, is made to show itself.

A man, his back to the camera, rises from the underbrush in the immediate foreground, about two hundred yards from the golfers. When he turns to signal someone, it’s evident he has a weapon in his right hand, a semiautomatic rifle. After signaling he doesn’t reassume his crouch. One of the golfers selects an iron.

This leisure-time massacre is actually part of a film being shown first-class passengers on a WhisperJet. None of them watches with much attention; they’re in an alcoholic/anxious haze.

The audience’s emotional distance from the bloody mess on the screen is deepened by the fact that they’re in an in-flight piano bar, with a performer who uses his instrument to comment in a campy way on what he’s seeing — on the irony of simultaneous golf and terrorism.

Watching golfers being massacred, to trills and other ornaments, seems to strike those in the piano bar … as an occasion for sardonic delight.

Not all postmodern deaths involve bullets, but virtually all, as presented in the work of DeLillo, involve playtime. In White Noise, set in a university, Professor Dimitri Costakis is “lost in the surf off Malibu. During the term break.” The school’s dean, who once “serve[d] as adviser to Nixon, Ford and Carter,” has recently met “his death on a ski lift in Austria.” Death in America is something that happens when you’re having fun. The ski lift dumps you out; the surf engulfs you; men with guns interrupt your game.


A blimp flying over the U.S. Open went down Thursday just beyond a rim of trees surrounding Erin Hills. The pilot, the blimp’s only occupant, was airlifted from the scene of the crash but was reported as alert and conscious, according to police.

Fan video caught the deflated blimp as it floated to the ground.

That one happened on the same day as the baseball game. It’s hard not to laugh at some of these misadventures, hard not to greet them sardonically. The disparity between the triviality (“petty griefs”) of blimpish voyeuristic activity, and the deflation and airlifting is just funny. It’s just so graphic an illustration of our superficiality, our childish spectatorial lives, so utterly unprepared for seriousness, reality, the crash, the spray of bullets.

A gunman at Ohio State University has wounded at least eight people…

… and has now been shot dead.


Update: Maybe not a gunman.

[A] university spokesman …. said some of the victims had been stabbed and others hit by a vehicle. It was not clear whether the attacker used a gun.

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