Yet again, America has to grapple with the unthinkable tragedy of a public mass shooting. Time after time, we speak of how regrettable and unfortunate the deaths are, pay lip service to the victims, and then we move on. Until it happens again.
This time, it was in Lafayette, Louisiana, in a movie theater, where two were killed and seven wounded when John Russel House, 59, stood up in the seats and unloaded thirteen rounds of a .40 caliber handgun into the crowd, killing himself as police closed in. He had a criminal history extending back decades, and was treated for mental health problems in 2008.
An investigation into his social media presence reveals he was militantly anti-liberal, a FOX News fanatic and hyper-religious zealot. “America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world…I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm” reads some of his posts on a forum.
Some of his last tweets read: “if you don’t think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do” and that the “Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America.”
He was a Rand Paul supporter, a virulent misogynist, and he hated what he believed America had become. The former mayor, Bobby Peters, said that the man “really didn’t trust government and anything about government.” He wrote a manifesto in 2013 that blamed President Obama for America’s “problems,” and thought that America needs a neo-Nazi party to restore America to it’s “former glory.”
It’s clear that this was an attack of domestic, right-wing terrorism. While FOX News drives America into a frenzy of fear about foreign nations and the threats from ISIS, they hide the fact that the biggest threats to America are themselves. This man got his ideas from somewhere, and while it’s not clear that a hatred of liberals drove him to commit his heinous atrocity, they certainly played a role.
We mourn for the victims: Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.