I‘ll start with the good news: a mass shooting yesterday near the Edmund Burke prep school in Washington DC left only one person dead — the shooter himself, who took his own life before police found their way to his fifth-floor apartment, which had been converted to something like a sniper’s nest for shooting at the streets below.
But the suspected shooter, 23-year-old Raymond Spencer, was no sniper; the vast majority of his 100-plus shots missed their targets.
Like several mass killers before him, Spencer announced his shooting on 4chan, where he also uploaded a hastily edited video of the spree shot from the perspective of his gunsight. The footage shows just how out of his element he was; seemingly overwhelmed by his gun’s recoil he sprayed bullets seemingly at random at the Burke school and the street below. He injured three, two adults and a 12-year-old girl, and one of his bullets grazed but did not injure an older woman.
Seemingly more interested in notoriety than in actually killing anyone, Spencer stopped shooting long before the police busted down his apartment door, taking time not only to post to 4chan (where he was mostly ignored, drawing only six comments replying to his announcements) but also to edit the Wikipedia page for the Edmund Burke school, adding two sentences on his shooting spree. (They were reverted.)
As of today, we still know very little about Spencer and his specific motives for the attack. He seemed most interested in shooting up the school, and timed his rampage so that it took place just as the school began letting students out for the day; this might suggest an incel–like fixation on middle school Staceys and Chads. But there’s no evidence — at least not yet — that he was an incel. Given his online habits and the fact that his apartment contained little more than his guns and a mattress on the floor, I do think he could be classified as incel-adjacent.
Of his devotion to 4chan there’s no doubt. Even aside from his posts there, he decorated one wall of his minimally furnished apartment with a painting of Yakub, an important figure in the National of Islam cosmology whose image has become a racist 4chan meme.
The Daily Beast spoke to a woman who had known Spencer in middle school, who described him as “the nicest kid in our grade” and “the last person I would expect to do something like this.” But she also thinks he did it for the fame. “I’m pretty sure he already wanted to commit suicide, but he was afraid of not being remembered,” she told the Beast. “So he appealed to these internet movements because he knew that people would continue to make conspiracies about his life, as if it was some kind of thing.”
But instead of this he’s gotten mostly ridicule from the edgelords he seemingly hoped to impress.
Over on Kiwi Farms, an online forum devoted to tracking and cruelly mocking so-called “lolcows” online who have offended the trolls there in some way, the regulars were less than impressed with Spencer’s shooting and non-existent body count. “Bruh what the fuck was that?” wrote one commenter. “I could commit a better shooting with a butter knife.” Added another: “This is what happens when you outsource your school shooters.”
“I don’t know why but these absolutely pathetic mass shootings make me angry in a weird way,” wrote someone called Smug Cat.
Like it’s obviously better that the shooter is incompetent and kills nobody but himself, but there’s something so unbelievably pathetic about caring enough about killing people to be willing to give your life for it and then not even managing to put in the effort to do that well. I wonder if he failed at everything else in his life as badly as he failed at this. What a useless fucking loser.
Not, I gather, how he hoped to be remembered at all.
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