Texas February 2013. A veteran and his friend take a young man they believe to be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the shooting range as a type of therapy. The alleged PTSD sufferer shoots both killing them. The veteran is Chris Kyle a former Navy Seal sniper who is credited with killing over one hundred of the enemy in the Iraqi war. Routh’s military record would show he never saw combat. Routh had been arrested for several misdemeanor offenses and had used his PTSD claim to influence police officers to give him a break in some cases.
This is not the first time a misfit has killed a man proficient with weapons (a “gunman”). It is my opinion they do it to become famous and to bask in the notoriety.
On a summer afternoon in Deadwood, later to be South Dakota, a war veteran and former lawman who had survived several gunfights sat playing cards in a bar. A person moved behind the former lawman pulled a revolver and shot him in the back of the head. Death was instantaneous. The date was August 2, 1876. The murdered man was James Bulter “Wild Bill” Hickok. Hickok had survived being a Civil War scout and had been a Deputy United States Marshal, Sheriff and town marshal in different places. Hickok had used deadly force on several occasions and was a noted “Gunfighter”. His exploits had been widely reported in newspapers and even inflated in cheap “dime novels” of the period. His assassin, Jack McCall was by all accounts an unknown drifter described by the Daily Leader, a newspaper of the time, as “…a medium sized man. His brown eyes are slightly crossed and restless, and he has an impediment in his speech. “Thus a famous, even at that time, “Man of Arms” was gunned down from behind by a shifty miscreant for no apparent reason.
In the living room of a house in St. Joseph, Missouri a man removes his coat due to the heat. He then unbuckles a pistol belt with two holstered revolvers saying “I guess I’ll take off my pistols for fear somebody will see them if I walk in the yard.” As he either attempts to straighten up or dust off a picture on the wall he is shot in the head from behind. Death is instantaneous. The date is April 2,1882. The murdered man was Jesse Woodson James another Civil War veteran who had survived being seriously wounded during the war. Jesse had become famous after the war for a series of bank and train robberies. His assassin was a then unknown person Bob Ford who was basically a “wannabe” who had become a member of Jesse’s gang.
Another August but this time in El Paso, Texas a man is gambling with dice in the Acme Saloon. He has just rolled and tells another gambler “You have four sixes to beat.” A man limps through the swinging doors of the bar and fires a revolver shooting the gambler behind the right ear. Death is instantaneous. The shooter fires two more shots with one hitting the gambler in the chest. The gambler is noted gunman John Wesley Hardin who is credited with killing 42 men. The shooter is a former cattle rustler previously indicted and arrested by the Texas Rangers. However, he had escaped evidently put his past behind and has now been elected town constable of El Paso.
I believe that there were similar motives for these killings. Here are four cases in which famous men of arms were gunned down by men who were either failures and/or small time criminals.. I think it should be noted that in three of these murders there was no apparent reason for the killing. Jack McCall gave a lame story about being hired to kill Hickok. Bob Ford could have led Jesse into a trap but instead chose to shoot him from behind. Routh said later he wanted to “steal their souls (of Kyle and friend). Only Selman may have had some small reason for his killing of Hardin. (Selman’s son had arrested Hardin’s girlfriend).
I believe that these types of “assassinations” will continue to occur where envious hangers on or wannabes who covet the fame and recognition of another kill the famous person. These assassins seem to think that the killing of some famous “gunman” who they have fixated on or somehow peripherally involved themselves with will make them famous. Sadly it often does.
This may also be the reason that many (if not all) of the deranged evil mass shooters of recent years carry out their murderous attacks. They want the fame, actually infamy attached to committing these heinous crimes. In most cases these cowards get the attention they want. This is the reason some countries don’t publicize the names or photos of these craven warped criminals. Some of the American media have adopted the policy of not using the shooter’s name. Perhaps all the media outlets should adopt this policy. I realize this quest for fame is not the only reason some of these contemptible psychos carry out their attacks. However it needs to be recognized and addressed as a probable reason these shootings are committed. Otherwise we may just keep having cowards killing innocents to attain recognition.
As I finish typing this there are reports of a mass shooting in Charleston. The shooter has been arrested and I have heard his name numerous times. He reportedly left one person alive so that they could tell the world what he had done.
I rest my case.
– Mark Haskins
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