Killing for Stuff

by MISSY BEATTIE

The Oregon mall shooting’s been the “top” story most of the day (Wednesday) at Google News, dirty dancing and dipping with the fiscal cliffhanger.

Steven Forsyth and Cindy Yuille are dead.  Kristina Shevchenko, a high school student, is hospitalized, in serious condition.  The killer, Jason Tyler Roberts, committed suicide.

I wasn’t going to write about this.  I’d started another article.  One about an email I received from a friend, a man who’s talked with me about his son and only child.  This in his subject line:  OUR SON’S A SOLDIER.

I responded that I’m not happy about the news.  Sad, in fact.  And told him he knows why.  He’s heard me.  He’s sat in my family room, listened to my run-ons.

He sent another email—a statement of his hope that his son never has to take the life of another, unless in self-defense.  I thought about this.  That if his son ever has to take a life, he hopes it will be in self-defense.

Killing someone only in self-defense, killing a man or woman who is defending his or her country from U.S. invasion, Empire.

So, I was going to make that my theme.  Until, until….  Um, maybe there is a theme.  This self-defense. Defense of some thing.  Or an offense.  Perhaps, both.

What was Jason Tyler Roberts defending in Portland?

It’s Thursday now, and I just hit Google News.  This report no longer holds the number-one position, but there’s an ABC article on the page.  Jason Roberts wanted to travel.  And on his Facebook page, he’d posted:  “I’m the kind of person that is going to do what I want.  There’s no reason for another person to tell you what to do, I’m the conductor of my choo choo train.”

Then, there’s that story receiving little attention—the death of the 27-year-old mother of two who was shot and killed by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, Louis Campbell, working as a security guard in Houston.

Her name:  Shelly Frey.  And she was suspected of shoplifting.  Taking STUFF from the crime scene known as Walmart.

The gun-wielding Campbell pursed Frey, and the women who accompanied her, to the store’s parking lot, opening the door of their vehicle. As the car moved forward, Campbell shot Frey in the neck.

Two children were in that car.

The two killed at the “maul” have been described as caring and having a zest for life.

Probably, Shelly Frey was caring, had this zest, as well.  According to her father Sheldon Frey, “Shelly was the perfect mom, perfect friend, perfect daughter,” this daughter who’d moved to Houston after Hurricane Katrina, for a new start with her children, one of whom is a two-year-old with sickle cell anemia.

Was Frey acting in self-defense when she allegedly shoplifted?

Was Campbell acting in self-defense—an  offense, in self-defense?  How does he feel, knowing he’s killed another human being?

What about Roberts?  His girlfriend, Hannah Sansburn, said he was happy and liked to joke, but had changed suddenly, conducting his “choo choo” to a station of violence.

And my friend’s son, a graduate of basic training, a soldier.  Will he kill?  And if he does, please let it be in self-defense. Defense of mighty righteousness.

At the mall, a cliff, a Walmart parking lot, in countries targeted by capitalist greed.  All war zones.  Killing for stuff.  Two of the stories, top news.  The other two, not so much.

Missy Beattie is in Baltimore.  Email: missybeat@gmail.com

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care about Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks