The mass shooter who killed a dozen people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California apparently posted about the uselessness of “hopes and prayers” on Facebook before his rampage.
Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former Marine who served in Afghanistan and showed signs of mental illness in past encounters, opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill Wednesday night. Although police haven’t determined a motive, they have made note of some interesting social media posts
Authorities have identified a Facebook post believed to have been made by the shooter around the time of the attack, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the ongoing investigation.
In it, the writer says: “I hope people call me insane… (laughing emojis).. wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…”
When CNN read the post to a friend of Long’s, who did not want to be publicly identified, the friend said, “That does not sound like Ian to me at all. I don’t know what was going through his head when he wrote this. It must have been terrible.”
This is incredibly sad. Of course, Long’s point isn’t wrong — we need to do more than offer positive vibes after tragedies. But noting out the weak response to gun violence before committing an act of gun violence is no way to prove your point.
Whatever his motive, it seems unlikely he just wanted to wake people up to the dangers of guns. There are better ways to do it. If anything, his mental illness and access to weapons played the more consequential roles here; those issues need to be part of the focus moving forward.