Here's a local account of the killings in DeKalb, IL, on the Northern Illinois University campus. As I write, we're learning details about the killer, but investigators are withholding his name. I presume that's because they want to contact his family before the media does. It's too early to learn anything about his motive; it'll probably be predictable enough.
This appears to be a busy shooting season so far. The BBC says this is the fourth school shooting (counting one-on-one attacks) in the past week, and counting the assassinations in Missouri last weekend, it's the second mass killing in a week. It makes you wonder whether the presidential candidates will talk about the trend. The Republicans could be depended upon to wish that more students had been armed in the classroom, and maybe Huckabee in particular would say this all had something to do with people turning from God. I would expect the Democrats to say nothing at all about it, since any opinion is bound to offend someone who can vote.
Understandably, the news takes me back to my ruminations from earlier this week. It reminds me of one distinctive feature that distinguishes the school shooter from the terrorist. In the terrorist's case, the target is an enemy clearly defined along some demographic lines. To the Palestinian Muslim, the enemy is obviously the Israelis. To the Wahhabi Sunni, the enemy is the Shia. To the school shooter, and to many mass murderers, the enemy is anyone in his path. To put it another way, his enemy is everybody. The only selectivity emerges when he chooses the site of his last stand. In his mind, at the ultimate moment, it is literally him against the world. That strikes me as a distinctively American way of thinking, and our capability for thinking that way may further explain our peculiar national form of murder.