To the Editor:

I was at the Killeen Mall 45 minutes prior to the shooting on Tuesday. I went to window shop before the monthly VFW meeting of Post 9191, down on Zephyr Road. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and the mall security people were visible at the internal intersections. I was saddened to hear of yet another shooting in Killeen.

After my 20 years of counseling people in the Army — many of whom have killed in combat, or are in military jails or state prisons for murder — I offer a few possible insights on the Killeen shooter.

Convicted murderers like talking about what happened and how they did their crimes. If asked as to the why, they get rather defensive and shut down because then the action of murder that they objectified into a thing, and not a person, becomes too intimate.

In 1958, the French author Eugene Ionesco wrote a theater piece called “Tuer Sans Gage” or “killer without remorse.” In the play, the killer sees relatively tranquil settings and kills people without any apparent purpose.

The Killeen Mall shooter appears to be such a man. If related even remotely to the unsolved killing at a Valero station, robbery apparently is not the motive.

Ionesco writes that this type of man is excited by the sensationalism of his attacks, and does not feel any guilt. This genre of man feeds on the attention he gets and the panic caused by his actions.

I would add that in targeting regular people who are just working their jobs, this man apparently feels a void in his life that is only filled by attacking and shocking people that are, at the time, rather helpless.

The attitude of such an aggressive individual to gain a feeling of power through violence indicates a very low sense of self-esteem. To wit, this personal sense of inadequacy appears to be compounded by his lack of seeing any kind of real significance to his life. That perceived void is filled by shock and awe. It could also be that this shooter was victimized in some way. As such, he uses his perceived victimization as an angry excuse to become a random oppressor, disappearing for a time only to return when the satisfaction and pleasure fades. The last of which is an all-too-familiar pattern in unbroken circles of violence.

Even if caught some time from now, this person’s arrogance and assumed sense of invulnerability will be his dramatic undoing.

Hopefully this man will be caught without more innocent lives like the killer racked up in Ionesco’s play.

Paul Passamonti

Retired chaplain, U.S. Army major

Killeen

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(1) comment

Noneofyourbiz

“ Convicted murderers like talking about what happened and how they did their crimes”

That is the key sentence. For your run of the mill shooter/ killer they will brag rather they have been convicted or not. It’s all about the street cred and the shock value when they are talking to councilor. They tend to dive deeper into the why when they speak to someone that has a phd or doctor about the emotional why.

Then you have the other type of Killers that do it for a whole another reason. Pro killers, guns for hire do not talk. Than you have those that are aware and have a motive and know better and don’t talk. These types of criminals are not your average. They plan. They tend to go years with out being caught, some never get caught.

Than you have the serial killers, they can go dormant. Some kill for sport, some stage their kills, some even kill with others. They are a whole level and tend to be very smart.

We can all sit and give our opinion on who, what type of person and so on did this and why.

In the end we will only know a fraction of the truth.

Killeen has seen a growing increase in violent crimes and street fighting. This is a downward trend and it is not going away soon.

As the cost of food, basic needs, and the increase in rent and low affordable housing rise and gentrification coming to the north side, we will see more violence and the violence spread to parts of the city that had no problems.

With very little affordable housing left in Austin and other metro style cities Killeen is going to feel the impact. With very little sustainable jobs and high increases to fees on water bills, people will get frustrated, and when people see no way out they tend to careless what they do unto others.

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