Sherry Weddell, who lives in Colorado…

has an idea that has crossed my mind too: Make the penalty for such crimes utter anonymity.

Thou hast rebuked the nations, thou hast destroyed the wicked; thou hast blotted out their name for ever and ever. The enemy have vanished in everlasting ruins; their cities thou hast rooted out; the very memory of them has perished. But the LORD sits enthroned for ever, he has established his throne for judgment; and he judges the world with righteousness, he judges the peoples with equity. – Ps 9:5-8

There’s something to be said for blotting out the name and memory of such people. Also, self-serving idiots who instantly turn horror like this into dumb culture war narratives so that Team My Tribe can score a point should be banished from the airwaves and sentenced to dig the graves of the victims.

The only response to this is prayer and penance–and cultivation of a culture that does not glorify violence as a quick ticket to fame.

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  • I am for this, as long as we can still memorialize the people whom they kill.

  • Ted Seeber

    Since when is carrying a concealed handgun a “Christian belief”?!?!?!?!?

    While I agree with the punishment- personally I think such people should be assigned a number and have all of their public records altered to erase their name from history- it will not be enough to stop anything other than the copycats.

    Some people struggle with same sex addiction and never give in to the temptation. I struggle with homicidal anger, and thank God I’ve never given into the temptation yet.

    I currently understand it to be PTSD from years of growing up with undiagnosed Asperger’s. And my special needs son has taught me so much patience that I haven’t had even a truly violent thought for about 9 years now, gee, right around the time he was born.

    But I do understand the anger from being told, over and over, that you are a bad and worthless human being. That you have to be perfect to deserve to be loved. That if you’re not perfect, you won’t even be allowed to ever have a career or raise a family.

    I understand that despair. I don’t know what to do about it, other than to teach people to be kind to sinners. Not necessarily to agree with their sin- don’t downplay it, don’t insult their intelligence by pretending it does not exist- but be charitable and offer other ways out.

    A mass shooting is the act of a desperate man trying to commit suicide by cop.

    • Tim Jones

      Except that the shooter rather obviously elected not to do that. He was captured “without further incident”. Seems more likely he was shooting people, causing panic and despair *for fun*… for the pleasure of watching the reaction he would get.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        You obviously don’t understand what suicide by cop means. That he was captured without further incident demonstrates nothing more than the police did their job right, for a change.

        • Tim Jones

          Actually, I do know very well what the term means. He could have forced a confrontation, he didn’t. There is absolutely zero evidence that he was suicidal or trying to get killed at this point. None. If that were the case, the body armor is an odd choice. He appears to have been murdering perfect strangers for his own *entertainment*. Why the insistence on making him out to be a tortured soul?

    • Mark Shea

      No. This mass shooting appears to be the act of a demonic man filled with inhuman pride and nihlism. In a more civilized age, someone would call an exorcist.

      • “In a more civilized age, someone would call an exorcist.”

        That would be a very good idea.

    • Ted (and anyone that has experienced significant trauma)
      Check out Freedoms Calling…a Catholic trauma institute. I have seen them on EWTN. The founder was on Women of Grace, and it was very, very interesting. I know people that went there and said it was life-changing.

  • Michelle

    I’m afraid all that will accomplish is turning people like this into “He Who Must Not Be Named.” Rather than not naming, perhaps we should concentrate on not splashing this kind of news across the TV networks and the Internet. But that would require a pact among publishers, other news generators, and Madison Avenue not to exploit such tragedies for beer and shampoo revenue.

  • Not sure about this. Anonymity of sorts can be a war crime. In the Balkans, one of the things done by whichever side was imparting the latest round of terror was to destroy gravestones…thereby eliminating even the memory of the dead.
    Total living anonymity is beyond comprehension, but then so is mass murder.
    One thing we can perhaps do though is to stop giving credit. “Such and such terrorist group has claimed responsibility”. Is it possible that eliminating the news infamy would reduce the desire for potential ‘fame’?

  • enness

    I think people’s curiosity is going to win in the end, like it or not.

  • trespinos

    I’m pretty sure we don’t know enough yet to form an idea of why he did it. It is important that we try to do that. Quashing all news about him wouldn’t aid that effort. Nice idea, but totally not feasible, or probably even wise.

  • Alister

    I remember something similar from Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” novels: those found guilty of heinous crimes are renamed “Imbecile 1” “Imbecile 2” and soforth, and only identified by those names.

    I’ll wait until more information comes to light on this person’s motives though before making a choice. Though I am a bit disturbed (from a non-American’s view) at how easy it appears for idiots to get access to high-power firearms. We had ONE major shooting here in Australia (the Port Arthur massacre) and instantly outlawed every semi-automatic rifle and shotgun and brought in some pretty tough gun laws. Now, while criminals can still get guns (can’t stop the black market), its much harder for the run-of-the-mill lunatic to get his hands on an arsenal and go to town.

    • Harpy

      I apologize for having jump onto this, since I find it distasteful that the topic is broached in the first place in in regards to this heinous act. But in any type of incident like this, gun-control proponents come out the woodwork and start making claims like Alister. The problem is that many of these statements are not backed by any significant tangible results aside from removing the ability for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. For example, Alister claims that “Now, while criminals can still get guns (can’t stop the black market), its much harder for the run-of-the-mill lunatic to get his hands on an arsenal and go to town.” – the fact of the matter is this (source – wikipedia):

      “In 2006, the lack of a measurable effect from the 1996 firearms legislation was reported in the British Journal of Criminology. Jeanine Baker (a former state president of the SSAA(SA)) and Samara McPhedran (Women in Shooting and Hunting) found no effect detectable with ARIMA statistical analysis of the data[44]. Weatherburn described the Baker & McPhedran article as “reputable” and “well-conducted” and stated that the available data are insufficient to draw stronger conclusions.[45] Weatherburn noted the importance of actively policing illegal firearm trafficking and argued that there was little evidence that the new laws had helped in this regard.[46]”

      Although there are some statistics that indicate firearm suicides were reduced, this was offset in many reporting periods by an overall increase in suicides.

      There is an argument to be made that the concealed carry laws in CO that disallow firearms into places with “paid admission” *guaranteed* that all of “Imbecile N”‘s victims would be unarmed. Now, we’ll never know whether an individual with a concealed carry would have made a positive difference, but even the possibility that one or more of the victims were possibly armed might have had a discouraging effect from the start. Just remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away. And just to head folks off at the pass, the so-called “90 second” police response in this case proves that point, and was probably measured from the first phone call, and not the first shot. It was all over and then some before the police arrived.

      Finally, here in the U.S. – counties and states that have “must issue” concealed carried laws have generally not seen an increase in violent crime, and (depending on the study) some show significant decreases. This undermines the fundamental basis of the gun-control advocates. Further, there are few statistics on the crimes that were “prevented” simply because of the presence of a legitimate firearm. In my case I have a friend and a brother-in-law that have concealed carry permits and each has been in a situation were simply making their firearm visible deterred individuals that were clearly circling in for criminal activity. These types of incidents cannot even be tracked.

      Again, I apologize for further diverting the thread, but this event is going to continue to be exploited by well-meaning but mushy-thinking non-logical gun control advocates with an agenda and without supporting data, and the lack of a response is a response in itself.

      Incidentally, I like the anonymity idea… I also like the idea of giving the victims “faces” and to show the real human costs to their families instead of focusing on the shooter.

      • Harpy

        ugh ,,, where – not were …. 😉

  • CV

    I predict that we’ll eventually learn that this guy has paranoid schizophrenia or a similar form of mental illness, which often manifests itself In young adulthood. He apparently had no police record of any kind apart from a traffic citation.prayer and silent reflection is called for, including prayers for the perpetrator and his parents and family. Can you imagine getting a phone call telling you that your child has done something like this? My heart breaks for everyone involved in this horrific event.

  • Claire

    I’ve always thought that permanent obscurity would be the best punishment for mass murderers, whether or not they themselves survive the crime. Of course there are 1st Amendment issues, but it might effectively deter would-be killers who want to go out in a blaze of glory.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    I am told that in the choir loft of the main chapel at Sodom-on-Hudson (West Point Military Academy) there are large bas relief shields commemorating all American Generals in the Revolution. One, hidden near the organ, is a shield with no name, just dates. It used to say Benedict Arnold, like all the others, but immediately after carving his name, it was then removed.

    Always liked that story.

  • Because isn’t “murders for fun ” a pretty decent example of one type of tortured soul?

  • whether or not they themselves survive the crime. Of course there are 1st Amendment issues, but it might effectively deter would-be killers who want to go out in a blaze of glory big bang vn
    forum big bang

  • Tom R

    Hmm, tricky if the mass killer leaves a manifesto of some kind, like Breivik or the Unabomber or one of Dawkins’ various disciples who get more enthusiastic than the master does over speeding up natural selection. Because part of working out how to prevent these tragedies is knowing why people do them. Not necessarily so as to give in to their grievances, but so as to know what ideological waters these particular fish swim on.
    If they don’t leave a manifesto, then yeah, treat “public murderers” as the Athenians treated the citizen who defaced the statue of Athena to earn notoriety: they blotted out his name and so defeated the purpose of his action.
    By odd coincidence (?) I was watching “We Need to Talk About Kevin” the night this hit the news. (I’d also rented a Batman cartoon for my kids. Remind me not to rent “The Omen” or “Amerika”…). I found myself yelling at the smirking teenage killer (facing life in adult prison): “Yeah, that worked out real well for you, didn’t it?” (which is admittedly a very irrational thing to do to a TV set). I can understand the utility of seeking “suicide by cop/ blaze of glory”, just as I can understand pulling an armed robbery or a mugging, but surrendering and being in likely solitary for the next five or six or seven decades? Maybe they lose their nerve when death actually stares them in the face.

    • Tom R

      I’ve been rethinking this.
      If a terrorist attack is by a member of a coherent group – not necessarily an organised one, but can include freelancers whose members act spontaneously in pursuit of a common goal or understanding – then it might be useful to pore over the manifesto over the last attack to help pre-empt the next attack
      But on the other hand, if the attack really is a “lone wolf” whose particular mix of grievances and crank causes is unique to him, then it can be burned. You shouldn’t be able to get any more attention for your views by killing people than by posting on YouTube.
      So it’d be worthwhile for scholars, officials and pundits to pore over Mein Kampf, or the Koran, but not over Seung-Hui Cho’s incoherent and highly personal manifesto.
      Not sure where this leaves the Unabomber’s or Anders Bering Breivik’s manifestoes, as some would say their “ravings” are the distilled, 100-proof version of views that others express in mainstream political discourse, whereas neither Al Gore nor Mark Steyn would want to publicly associate themselves with Kaczynski or Breivik.

  • bob

    Someone recently reminded me of something said by Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Some things I have a right not to know . There are more of those every day.

    “Because instant and credible information has to be given, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumors and suppositions to fill in the voids, and none of them will ever be rectified, they will stay on in the readers’ memory. How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus we may see terrorists heroized, or secret matters, pertaining to one’s nation’s defense, publicly revealed, or we may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: “everyone is entitled to know everything.” But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era: people also have the right not to know, and it is a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk. A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information.”

  • David Place

    Oh, that’s really brilliant.

    Mark, you kill me

    • Mark Shea

      It’s not about punishment. That’s for the state to inflict. It’s about not further toxifying the culture by glorifying these people. Must *everything* be a culture war narrative?