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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I hope his victims have swift and uncomplicated recoveries.
I can’t mourn his death, but I can mourn his life.
Not glad he chose to do something like this, but glad he hurt so few people and killed nobody but himself.
I’m gonna second VP’s hopes for a swift recovery, for those physically injured and for those who may not have been hit, but were frightened.
I feel sick. I’m sure many of you echo that emotion. It just seems like things are falling apart. I’m going to bed and expect a massive kitty cuddle. In my kitties I trust.
This is a thing I like to think of as Schrödinger’s Gun. It seems like in one person’s hands a gun like an AR15 can mow down dozens of people, while in others it seems a glorified noisemaker.
Based on the above, this guy had next to no experience with guns, but skill sometimes seems to have little bearing on the results, with some amateurs killing many and others with lots of time behind a rifle barely accomplishing anything.
Just seems weird to me, though it is basically just random chance and poor planning that usually makes the difference.
This may sound callous, but with everything going on, all the wars in the world (just because the media is all about Ukraine right now doesn’t mean Myanmar, the Middle East, etc, stopped their activities), the environment in the middle of being utterly destroyed, etc, etc, I honestly see this as mere raindrop in the ocean. It is not a good sign for my empathy or state of mind right now, but there you go.
I’m completely failing to feel at all sorry for this guy. I hope the victims recover quickly and get adequate psychological help. Poor kids.
“I wonder if he failed at everything else in his life as badly as he failed at this.”
Probably, judging by the description of his apartment. But try getting that beam outta your eye and looking in the mirror, “Smug Cat”. And change your handle, it’s an insult to cats.
The woman interviewed in the article seems pretty level-headed. I’m glad she wasn’t there, and hope all her friends are OK.
I do actually feel bad about his death. It seems like it was pointless.
Glad he didn’t manage to kill anyone.
Can’t maybe find the right words for this – but something about mocking him for his incompetence does not sit right – like would he be more worthy of respect if he’d managed to kill a bunch of people? Would he be more manly? Like I say, maybe not the right words, but it’s a thought.
A moment of silence for the mental injury to the policeperson who had to shoot him. While it may be debatable in some (many) situations that police respond with way too much force, in this case the guy was clearly intent on prompting that response. Now he’s made an unnecessary killer out of someone else as well, because of his stupid fucking ideology.
Bmorejoe – I think that sums up what is making me feel sick.
@Big Titty Demon
The shooter apparently took his own life. So no tears need be shed for the police.
As for the shooter? Well I don’t care about him. He made his choices, at least he didn’t kill anyone else. Hopefully his victims make a full recovery.
I find this story equal parts horrifying and heartbreaking. I’ve lurked 4chan, on and off, since it began, and the place is just loaded with edgy trolls who are so repugnant (racist, Antisemitic, misogynist, transphobic, literal f***ing Nazi or Confederate revivalist…the list goes on) that they’re virtually impossible to sympathize with, at all. And while it’s always been a largely unpleasant place, I think in the last decade or so it has become noticeably even worse—much more radical, much more violent in tone, much less likely to try to couch evil views in “ironic” frameworks or other attempts at subversive wit. Once upon a time, they basically invented modern cat meme.
But under a lot (certainly not all, but a lot) of the evil is a lot of trauma, a lot of profound unhappiness, and a lot of social, emotional, and mental pathology. Some of the most miserable people on the internet immerse themselves in its shittiest, angriest echo chambers instead of seeking help, with predictable results. I can’t help but wonder how many people could be saved from ends like this by psychiatrists, counselors, support from… someone other than the assholes on 4chan.
I wish his attempted murder victims peace and recovery, and wish he had made better choices.