Panama City police have answered some of the questions in the wake of yesterday's horrific hostage crisis in Florida that was caught on video. The shooter-who thankfully hurt no one but himself-had been rambling on during the event about his wife and her firing from the school district. The police have confirmed that there is indeed a wife, and she had indeed been fired. Their comments seem to indicate that she's not under suspicion.
The gunman's name was Clay Duke, and he was 56 years old. Unsurprisingly, he had a history of violence against women . He did five years in prison for stalking and shooting at his wife's car. It's also unsurprising that he was a paranoid political crank . Sad to say, these events happen frequently enough that there's a type we've all come to associate with them, and Duke seems to fit the profile. As Max Read at Gawker noted , it's just a matter of time before the scattershot of links that Duke put on his Facebook page gets interpreted through a partisan lens.
The reality is more complicated, as I noted back in February when Joseph Stack flew a plane into a federal building in Austin, TX. Duke shows signs of having a paranoid political landscape that likely won't map out neatly as right or left, but more believing the whole world was out to get him. As the paranoid style moves more into the mainstream through the adamant work of folks like Glenn Beck, the 9/11 Truthers, and the Birthers, I fear we're going to see more cases of unhinged people swallowing it all and then acting out their violent fantasies.
Editor's note: Video embedded below. May be upsetting for readers to watch, so please proceed with caution.