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Seattle’s Rave murders: Why? March 29, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in just my blogs, life.

I feel the need to say something about the tragedy that struck Seattle 5 days ago. The second worst murderous event in our city’s history is bound to leave it’s sobering mark, and there are still so frustratingly few answers to why this happened. I’ve read the papers, listened to the reports and just stopped short of attending last night’s memorial service, at the steps of the house where 7 people lost their lives. I’ve even managed to locate some of the deceased’s Myspace sites, which prompts me to offer the following thoughts … after first adding my utter sorrow for this needless and brutal loss.

There is lots of wondering why this happened and what made the gunman – an invited guest to the after-rave-party – snap. I think it’s pretty obvious. We’ve seen this before with plenty of other twisted white boys with guns. As a white male I think I can speak to this. It’s about coping in the world and in society, and basically about the decisions we make. Tragically these decisions can spiral into a mindless state of frustration, which leads to… well … depression and anger, until for some they become trapped and out of control.

After learning a bit about those involved, I saw some comparisons and contrasts could be made between the killer and one of his victims. Now obviously I know very little about either of these men, but what I do know draws some remarkable connections. It’s obvious how one’s efforts to live life impacts the path they travel down.

Justin Schwartz, aka “Sushi” was one who was killed. A native of Alaska, an ‘eskimo’ who had to deal with people assuming he was Japanese (hence his nickname), was adopted at birth. He, like his killer, was a twin, but his brother was separated at birth. He attended military school and served in the armed forces. Like his killer, he was from a small town, delt with family troubles, had been around guns, and was looking for a group to fit into. Like his killer, he found some interest in the Rave community, and entered into it’s social circle.

That’s about where the similarities end. The killer was a huge hulking white man, and Sushi was a diminutive “minority.” Sushi had found his place. On his myspace site he wrote with glee “I GOT IN THE RAVE SCENE AND I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!” He adds on a poll question: “Number of things in my Past I Regret:Alot but I know I have a great future ahead.” He was a college student.

His killer likely had nothing similar to share. No one seems to know what he and his twin brother were up to, living in the ‘big city.’ I’ve seen no mention of any current job, life plan, girlfriend, except maybe he was a gun collecting pot smoker – perhaps a dealer, from all the ‘vegetable matter’ found in his apartment. Unlike Sushi, the killer did not seem to click with Seattle’s social network, or at least grow, and one wonders how much an effort he made.

Little is mentioned of drugs in this case, and I know speculation is useless until the real toxicology reports come back in 2 weeks.

So this is what it comes down to for me: Frustrated White Boy Syndrome. It’s like we sense some sort of entitlement in life, being the world’s power demographic. But when reality hits, we realize that, like everyone else on this planet, we’re pretty powerless, and then how do we deal with that?

Do we embrace family and community as the factors that can help us get over the rough spots? Or do we become disillusioned mini-Hitlers, and bitterly plot against those who we identify as robbing us of some so-called ‘birth-right?’ – feeling excluded, while also withdrawing, yet compelled to pull ourselves up by our own individualistic American boot straps, and reassert the superiority fantasy?

Everyone whines about their ‘disenfrancisement.’ It doesn’t sound like Sushi ever did. He accepted he was different than those around him, to the point where those differences didn’t matter anymore …

The killer likely perverted those differences in his mind. He was probably lonely, but couldn’t let go of his barriers and stayed fragmented. He kept his rugged individualistic outsider stance, and kept looking in on all the fun he was being excluded from. He missed out on the enjoyemnt and sacred quality of life Sushi must have felt once he was able to let his hair down and loose it on the dance floor. The killer was probably too self-concious and cowardly to even dance – but I dont really know, that’s what I think, knowing he was a metal head, and metal heads can’t dance.

Cowardliness is the key to Frustrated White Boy Syndrome. It’s a culturally ingrained resistance to stretch beyond yourself and realize that God makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on all of us. We are all alike, who walk on a common earth, and who must yield to a common unscheduled death. It’s a cultural fear that the differences one sees in others are to blame, not one’s self or one’s decisons. Well that a**hole finally had his moment of power assertion killing people unawares, some as they slept.

I wish peace upon all their souls. I hope that before anything like this ever happens again, we can find out how someone like the killer can break out of that trapped cycle where inner conflict outweighs hopeful opportunity, and make the GOOD DECISION to find help, peace and pursue happiness, which is a truer American legacy than the cowards way out.



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