FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail