UPDATE – 15:55pm: News outlets are now reporting that Devin Patrick Kelley had in-laws or ex-in-laws that attended this church and that he did kill his grandmother-in-law, Lula White. So maybe we do know what switched the chip in his head.
The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
“I Don’t Like Monday’s”
Bob Geldof, The Boomtown Rats, 1979
According to Geldof, he wrote the song after reading a telex report at Georgia State University‘s campus radio station, WRAS, on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, US on 29 January 1979, killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime and her full explanation for her actions was “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day”. The song was first performed less than a month later.
That opening line has always had me thinking this may be the only answer we have to explain all the mass shooting events that seem to be happening with greater frequency. From Charles Whitman, to Brenda Ann Spencer, to Stephan Paddock to Devin Patrick Kelley and all the one’s in between something inside their head got switched.
In Whitman’s suicide note he stated:
I imagine it appears that I brutally killed both of my loved ones. I was only trying to do a quick thorough job […] If my life insurance policy is valid please pay off my debts […] donate the rest anonymously to a mental health foundation. Maybe research can prevent further tragedies of this type […] Give our dog to my in-laws. Tell them Kathy loved “Schocie” very much […] If you can find in yourselves to grant my last wish, cremate me after the autopsy.
Source: Wikipedia – Charles Whitman
So as I read stories about yesterday’s mass killing at that Texas church the only common thread I see is a deeply troubled person who apparently had a switch inside their head flip to overload. This time it took 26 lives and injured more.
As investigators try to determine a motive, they are also probing how the attacker obtained his gun. Kelley had sought a license to carry a gun in Texas but was rejected, Abbott said.
“By all of the facts that we seem to know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun, so how did this happen?” Abbott said in an interview on CNN. “We are in search of answers to these questions.”
I suppose we can get rid of guns, and I mean get rid of them and not just outlaw them, and possibly drastically reduce deaths but that silicon chip is still going to be in some individual’s head and it will switch to overload again. We need to understand how that chip gets there because there are other ways that flipped switch can harm large numbers of people.