Most of us have now heard the tragic news. Virginia Beach police identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since the Borderline Bar & Grill in California in 2018.
Some reports suggest Craddock was fired or a disgruntled employee. Society is aware too frequently workers are frustrated after companies treat them unfairly, similar to Ko’olau who was fired by Hawaiian Electric Industries CEO Constance Hee Lau. Not all of course react violently, and seems Craddock had an active employee badge. We may never know what motivated him. He is dead.
Christal Hayes says she’ll only post this photo one time. What kind of nonsense is this? What’s her point? She wants to be the first to show us, then hides his face forever. We all wanted to know what he looks like. We all need to know his name.
First question I had, most of you likely had, was whether this was another White guy. Was somewhat surprised to see he’s African American. We think of Black shootings as drug- or crime-related. Mass shooters historically are more likely to be White males.
This is the point of my commentary today. We really have no idea what is going on. This scares all of us. It’s random and something out of our control. For people who surf, it’s like being in the water around sharks.
What I do know is our political leaders are inept, incompetent and incapable of doing anything about this seemingly growing and unacceptably deadly threat to all of us. We hear the same useless and feeble official reactions:
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.
The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”
Mayor Bobby Dyer
“It’s a horrific day for Virginia. It’s just a horrific day.
Our thoughts are with these victims and their families.”
Gov. Ralph Northam
Democratic leaders demand gun control. They currently want to ban long guns, the military assault rifle models. Craddock used a .45 caliber handgun with a silencer and multiple extended magazines. I’ve argued a ban on long guns will be ineffective. It’s actually easier to spot a shooter with a long gun.
It’s also much more difficult to maneuver a long gun in tight spaces. A couple hand guns with multiple clips would be far more lethal. Craddock proved this. Democrats are useless!
Republicans hold tight to the 2nd Amendment. They want to focus on mental health of shooters. What shooters though? How does society know who will be a shooter? Do they want mental health assessment on all Americans daily? Republicans are useless.
One witness said he doesn’t want Craddock painted as “an evil person — something happened, but it wasn’t his nature.” He added he lost many friends that day. Do we believe someone has to look evil before committing evil? This assumption seems flawed.
The witness continued, “I’m sure I’m going to hear all kinds of things about DeWayne, but I liked him. I worked with him. He was what I thought was a good person. When we were together, we would talk about family, friends, things that we were going to do, trips we were going to take and things like that.”
It appears Craddock had taken a moment to brush his teeth next to the witness. He asked Craddock, “How are you doing?” He said he was doing OK. I asked, “Any plans for the weekend?’ Craddock answered saying, “No.” The witness wished him, “Well, have a good day.” He said do the same.
We aren’t used to hearing reports like this. Coworkers thought he was quiet, polite and a “nice guy” with no visible warning signs or Red Flags. Craddock’s parents said they weren’t aware of any trouble he was having with his employer.
Neighbors described him as reclusive though, “No pet, no wife, no visitors, no nothing. I’ve never even seen that man take groceries up to his apartment.” Anyone without groceries should be on our national watch list!
A young female who lived below Craddock said he was awake during all hours of the night. “You heard him walking around; he would drop stuff at like 2am and me and my roommate would try to figure out what he was doing.” Neighbors rarely saw him. Makes me wonder what would have happened had they found out.
Borrow a cup of sugar. Take the guy a couple cookies. I know most of my neighbors. Not all of course. We live as and amongst strangers today.
The female witness added he didn’t engage in much talk. “In the year I’ve been there, we’ve maybe had three conversations and that’s about it. I know what gym he goes to. I never saw him take trash out, never saw him bring groceries in, never saw people coming in or out. He was very to himself.”
Here’s the most dangerous lesson from this event. The young woman now says she’s petrified. “I live right under him, so that could have easily been me or my girlfriend or my roommate.” More fear; more isolation. So many people don’t enjoy surfing because they are petrified of sharks.
Another female witness said she saw Craddock sitting motionless in his white Subaru early the morning of the shooting but, she thought, he didn’t like to be bothered. “It’s like now I can’t help but think, what if I did say hello? Would it have changed things, maybe brightened his day? Or would it have made me the first victim?”
It’s an unknowable concern. I ask you to think about her comment carefully. Life is risk. You might be the first victim if you speak to someone. The probability is extremely small. Should we succumb to our fear? I call this the coward’s death of 10,000 slashes.
If she says hello, there is a high probability she brightens his day or learns he is having a difficult one. There might be something she can do. One smile; one kind word — might make a difference with one who is struggling. And truth is, we are all struggling.
Yes, this young woman might be the first victim. For me, I would rather live — and die — this way. I will take the risk hoping to add positivity to those around me and my world. If I’m wrong, I’ll die the Braveheart’s immediate death. This is how the courageous leave this existence.
Give me liberty or give me death. I will not suffer the chains of oppression due to fear.
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