By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Land
I had every intention of writing a polemic on the American Empire’s latest shit show in Venezuela this week, another erudite contemplation on the sour virtues of imperialism in some violent dirt floor theater, time zones away from my small town tranny middle class existence. But this week violence came to visit me through the all too common place spectacle of the active shooter situation. It’s so fucking cliche that I bite my tongue just saying it out loud but you really do feel like that’s a problem that happens somewhere else but not here.
‘Here’ for me is Central Pennsylvania, in the foothills of Appalachia where the Rust-Belt gives way to Amish country. It’s an area where the most heinous thing on the evening news is typically some meth-pocked trailer urchin shaking his girlfriend’s baby to sleep or maybe the latest round of kids coming public about their sexual debasement at the hands of Penn State or the Catholic Church. But last week was different. Last week an angry young veteran came to a Ramada Inn bar with a gun and his girlfriend. He only left with one in his hand. After badly wounding his lover and brutally murdering two innocent bystanders, the 21 year old killer raced off in his Mazda only to crash it at an intersection in front of my grandmother’s nursing home. In a daze, he stumbled away on foot and murdered an 84 year old man next door before turning his weapon on himself and blowing his own face off.
For what? Four people dead, another grievously injured. And why? Nobody seems quite sure. We may never be. The shooter had a common story. White, middle class, no record aside from a recent DUI that may have put his hopes for a future in the military and law enforcement in jeopardy. Always a quiet kid, no violence, no broken home, no tour overseas. What possesses such a human being to obliterate himself and everyone around him? What is the source of this hidden vein of black rage that could only come to the surface in a irruption of senseless savagery?