Patterico's Pontifications


Nebraska Mall Shooter: “I’m Going Out in Style” “Now I’ll Be Famous”

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE 12/6/2007: Title altered to reflect a more recent news report regarding the contents of a note left by the perpetrator.

Fox News reports that a 19-year-old man with a rifle opened fire today in a Westroads Mall department store in Omaha, Nebraska, killing 8 and wounding 5 before taking his own life:

“A man with a rifle opened fire at a busy Omaha shopping mall Wednesday, killing eight people before taking his own life, police said. Five others were wounded, two critically.

The alleged shooter, a 19-year-old man, left a suicide note stating, “I’m going out in style,” a local news station reported. The man’s vehicle was found in the parking lot.

Shoppers and employees ran screaming through the Westroads Mall and barricaded themselves in dressing rooms after hearing gunfire. The gunman was found dead on the third floor of the Von Maur store with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his victims were discovered on the second and third floors, police said.

Witnesses said the gunman fired down on shoppers from a third-floor balcony of the Von Maur store.

Sgt. Teresa Negron said the gunman killed eight people, then apparently killed himself. His name was not immediately released, and authorities gave no motive for the attack and did not know whether he said anything during the rampage.

Police received a 911 call from someone inside the mall, and shots could be heard in the background, Negron said. By the time officers arrived six minutes later, the shooting was over, she said.”

Witnesses reported hearing “dozens and dozens” of shots. The incident coincides with a recent report of a grenade on Mall property and today’s visit to Omaha by President Bush for a fundraiser:

“The sprawling, three-level mall has more than 135 stores and restaurants, according to the Web site for General Growth Properties, the manager of the mall. It gets 14.5 million visitors every year, according to the Web site.

On Friday night, authorities removed a live granade from the parking lot of the same mall.

President Bush was in town Wednesday for a fundraiser in Omaha, but left about an hour before the shooting.”

We look for answers to help us understand “Why?” when events like this happen. If this is like many cases, there will be reports that this man was troubled or had a history of altercations, bullying, etc., or encouragement for broader concealed carry laws, or demands for better gun control and more security in public places.

At the end of the day, however, I think the most practical answer is to hope family, friends, teachers and/or co-workers speak up if they believe someone poses a threat to others. Unfortunately, sometimes there are no warnings.


46 Responses to “Nebraska Mall Shooter: “I’m Going Out in Style” “Now I’ll Be Famous””

  1. I disagree with his style choice.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. Sheesh! No, WHY is because they get so goddamn much attention from everybody. Mass murder is the quickest way for an untalented asshole to become a rock-star — albeit, usually, in a dead-end way.


    You people…

    S. Weasel (8dda2b)

  3. Missing MSM headline:
    Hillary remained calm during the crisis.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  4. This is why I carry a gun off duty.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  5. At the end of the day, however, I think the most practical answer is to hope family, friends, teachers and/or co-workers speak up if they believe someone poses a threat to others. Unfortunately, sometimes there are no warnings.

    Very true. One of my daughters had dated a young man who was more enamored of her than she of him. She told me he had expressed some suicidal thoughts when they stopped dating. I called his mother the same evening and let her know so she could address any issues he might have had. Fortunately he went on to be a model citizen but my point is that it is not easy to intervene. I am quite sure she wasn’t the only person to have heard these things.
    But intervene we must. It is very likely that he wouldn’t have killed himself and my phone call served little real value. I always try to err on the side of caution.

    voiceofreason (014f99)

  6. Presumably blowing him away would have been the only suitable Texas solution, “Just in case.”

    /sarcasm off

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  7. Did the gun man take an antidepressive drug ???

    eric rosseel (520def)

  8. I think we’ve let behavior devolve to the point were truly clinical, antisocial behavior is barely recognizable from mainstream.Add the hate and mistrust they’re told they must feel by the socialists, and… voila, shaking heads , same old story. DRJ you hit the nail on its flat head… Family.

    wonkanator (3da0d9)

  9. When I heard the first outlines of this (rifleman firing from an elevated position at random targets), my first thought was of Charles Whittman (IIRC) and the Texas Tower Massacre what seems such a long time ago.

    I feel confident that as all of the details come forth, we will find that there were many red-flags that were ignored. And, we will be reminded that when someone wants to truly go ’round-the-bend, there really isn’t much we can do about it except to terminate with extreme prejudice ASAP to minimize the loss of life.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  10. There may be some parallels with the Austin shooting. A Texas Monthly article on Whitman revealed he had sought psychiatric help beforehand. Since he was the first modern-day mass murderer of his kind, it was hard to foresee what he might do – but in hindsight the signs were there.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  11. More Whitman comparisons…
    Watching CNN, and they report that Hawkins used an “SKS ‘assault rifle'” (of course, to the media, any semi-automatic rifle that holds more than 3-rounds is an “assault rifle”); Whitman used an M-1 Carbine. Comparable arms.
    He had just been fired, had just broken up with his girl-friend.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  12. Calls for gun control… as with the VT shootings, and probably all others like this, the only thing that could have stopped these events, or reduced the loss of life, is more people having guns. It’s not a PC answer, but somebody determined to do something like this will obtain weapons no matter how much regulation there is.

    What happened to the guy that brought a knife to a gunfight?

    Justin (747191)

  13. It’s not a PC answer, but somebody determined to do something like this will obtain weapons no matter how much regulation there is.

    Yes, and all of the armed citizens in the world are unlikely to stop them.

    I’m not advocating gun control laws when these things happen but neither am I buying into the “if everyone were armed it wouldn’t happen” sentiments.

    voiceofreason (014f99)

  14. Guns are good. While you’re right it wouldn’t stop violence, armed citizens certainly reduce it plus reduce the damage it causes.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  15. Christoph & voiceofreason:

    Imagine if one person with a concealed carry license fires just one shot back from down below, but misses. The round whizzes by and hits the ceiling. This punk hears a bang but may not see where it came from. Would the person who was about to be his next victim now have a better chance of surviving? Yes. Would he be able to shoot as many innocent people at his leisure as this punk did? No.

    Guns in the hands of the police save lives; guns in the hands of other good guys also save lives.

    Ranten N. Raven (e5e6e1)

  16. Yes, and all of the armed citizens in the world are unlikely to stop them.

    If they’re on scene they are quite likely to do just that. Had there been a cop on scene, do you suppose he would have been able to shoot 13 other people? Or do you think he might have gotten shot himself well before he chose to shoot himself?

    Pablo (99243e)

  17. In fact, the mall shooting in Utah was cut short by an off-duty police officer using his off-duty weapon.

    Nebraska only adopted a “shall issue” concealed carry permit scheme last year if memory serves.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. Christoph, Re your comments in #6, how would you deal with an active shooter? Talk nice & give him a hug? I’ll let you in on something. You would be dead long before the hug. In a situation like this, it’s a time for action, not tea & crumpets.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  19. Well…

    The more I read about stuff like this the more I support concealed carry permits, and I’m liberal as all get-out.

    Which isn’t to say that I believe that “an armed society is a polite society”; that’s bullshit. An armed society is a dangerous society, but at least a concealed carry permit and a lot of practice allows me to be more dangerous than some fucking Okie psycopath with a death wish.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  20. This incident is another symptom of the sick society we live in. In this greed-based, mass production/consumption culture where spiritual values take a back seat to materialism, it surprises me that more people don’t go postal like this everyday.

    Look into this kid’s background – I’m sure you’ll find that he was abused and neglected as a child, mercilessly ripped on at school, and once his parents kicked him out, he experienced the harsh realities of trying to make it in the world. No doubt his spirit was crushed as he made less than a living wage at McDonalds while being degraded by an evil corporation that puts profits before people.

    Wake up Americans! The purpose of your lives is just to work and consume, serving the political and corporate elite who control you. Such a spiritually unfulfilling arrangement will surely result in people snapping like this guy. Another sad reality is that this will be used to further justify taking away our rights and freedoms in the name of heightened security, just like the war on terror.

    When we restructure America into a society that cares for and nurtures its citizens instead of one that exploits them and breeds mental illness is when tragedies like this will go away.

    The Light (659591)

  21. Re #20. So just give them everything they want & screw any hard work or hard knocks in life? Life is tough. It’s even tougher when you are stupid.

    Stan Switek (7cfd24)

  22. guns in the hands of other good guys also save lives.

    Comment by Ranten N. Raven — 12/6/2007

    I’m trying to imagine a scene where you have one bad guy and umpteen “good guys and gals” all armed. The bad guy shoots, reasonable to assume not all of the good guys are staring at him, they get excited draw iron and then watch the carnage begin as they kill the wrong folks…

    In a mall environment all too believable. CCW for off duty law enforcement folks I’d be all for because they are trained for such scenarios. Everyone else is trained on gun safety NOT urban combat.

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  23. Re #20. So just give them everything they want & screw any hard work or hard knocks in life? Life is tough. It’s even tougher when you are stupid.

    Stan, did I say give them everything they want and absolve them from all hard work? No! So don’t try to set up some liberal hippie strawman argument about doing away with all personal responsibility and attribute it to me. I wasn’t suggesting that at all. I am suggesting corporations and governments behave morally and ethically. Instead they just exploit people and ruin the environment all in the name of profit. The government and the media feed the American SHEEPLE with propaganda and lies so that elite billionares who prop them into power can continue enjoying their yacht cocktail parties at the expense of millions of suffering workers.

    I am also suggesting American consumers behave morally and ethically. Don’t give money to evil corporations. Support sustainable businesses and companies that treat their employees humanely.

    The fact remains that we live in a sick culture with obvious symptoms. Ask yourself why our country has so many incidents like this? There is something unique about our society which results in a higher rate of disgruntled shooters on public rampages than any other nation. An actual thought out response would be nice instead of suggesting that all people who struggle are stupid.

    The Light (659591)

  24. Don’t give money to evil corporations

    Please define.

    JD (2c9284)

  25. Voice of Reason, it is interesting that you must resort to ridiculous scenarios as an excuse to oppose civilian concealed carry.

    The reality is that there simply has not been any basis to your exaggerated fears in the scores of states that have legalized it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. “Christoph, Re your comments in #6, how would you deal with an active shooter? Talk nice & give him a hug? I’ll let you in on something. You would be dead long before the hug. In a situation like this, it’s a time for action, not tea & crumpets.

    Comment by Stan Switek — 12/6/2007 @ 7:37 am”

    It would depend on the tactical situation, but I’m both a strong pro-guns-in-the-hands-of-civilians advocate and a former infantry soldier. My goal would be to kill him.

    The sarcastic reference was to the Joe Horn case, which I think was willful (and unnecessary) murder.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  27. The reality is that there simply has not been any basis to your exaggerated fears in the scores of states that have legalized it.

    Comment by SPQR


    Where exactly do I say the CCW should be illegal? Malls are private property and as such can ban weapons, just as casinos do. The scenario I described is the likely outcome if everyone was running around armed.
    The sentiment that if we could just all be armed wherever we go the world would be a perfect place is much more ridiculous than the thought that a bunch of cowboys in a mall are going to shoot some innocent bystanders.
    These types of incidents are horrific but thankfully very rare. Suggesting CCW is the end all answer is no more realistic or effective than suggesting banning all guns.

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  28. The mall was a gun-free zone. As usual these mass-murders occur in places where others have no guns, schools, universities, malls.

    So, while it is crucial that we look after each other and help those who are mentally ill, it’s also crucial that we have as few gun-free zones as possible, and an armed populace. Such would discourage these shootings, or at least move them to other gun free zones that I can avoid more easily. And if people do decide to start killing people around others with guns, I doubt 9 people will die.

    Dustin (c6b6b8)

  29. Giving money to evil corporations means you invest in or you buy products or services from companies who exploit labor, excessively degrade the environment, serve you food that kills you instead of keeping you alive and downplaying the dangers of it, sell you other dangerous products and understating the risks, lie to consumers, promote war, or engage in unfair business practices such as conspiring with public officials to pass laws that make the economic playing field unfair/uneven. Now for some examples:

    Wal Mart has been proven to pay below a living wage. New study examines Walmarts effect on poverty rates.
    They also tell their employees to rely on government services for health care and they use tax-payer dollars to help build roads and stoplights into their shopping centers. They have been caught red-handed carelessly polluting the environment and they import products from Chinese factories where people work 12 hours per day 7 days per week for pennies a day and then are coerced into lying about it to factory inspectors. Wal Mart is evil. Please don’t shop there if you have any conscience at all. If you need more convincing go to or watch this movie: Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price.

    Another evil corporation that should not be supported is McDonalds. Please visit McSpotlight for more info, or read the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, and watch the movie Supersize Me.

    Moving on to another example, Haliburton and their war profiteering. They get contracts in Iraq without having to bid because of personal connections to Dick Cheney. Here is one source of info on that:

    Ethical companies do not breed websites like WalMartwatch, McSpotlight, or Haliburtonwatch.

    I could go on, but a final book I will recommend is Rule By Secrecy by Jim Marrs, which documents all kinds of shady connections between business and governement.

    I know all this seems far from the subject of the Omaha shooter, but he is a product of the sick society dominated by corporations like the ones mentioned above.

    The Light (659591)

  30. The Light,

    You must be pleased that Halliburton has moved its headquarters out of the US so fewer Americans have Halliburton’s money soiling their wallets.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  31. I know you’re being sarcastic, but I didn’t know Haliburton moved. According to their Yahoo finance profile they are in Texas, and Americans can still buy the stock and “soil their wallets” or in this case their brokerage accounts.

    The Light (659591)

  32. The Light, I guess being filled with nonsensical propaganda like that would indeed make you think that corporations are “evil”. And indeed your conspiracy theories are far from the topic of this thread.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. There are something like 2500 carry permit holders in Nebraska. If Nebraskans want there to be a decent chance that there’ll be a permit holder in a position and with a mind to interfere with a one of these remarkably (and that’s a good thing) rare multiple victim public shootings the next time that happens, they’ll need to get a lot more permits issued, and persuade people to carry a lot more routinely.

    Disclosure of interest: while I don’t do it in Nebraska, I do teach carry permit classes, and get paid almost all of the time I do so.

    In addition, I was an advocate for carry permit reform in Minnesota, and had a small role in helping the law to pass in 2003 and a slightly less small role in re-passing it in 2005. I’ve written what is by default, if nothing else the definitive book on the subject of legally carrying a handgun in Minnesota.

    While I do think that widespread permit issuance and routine carry is a good thing, I can’t say that it’s something where I’m a disinterested observer.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  34. The Light,

    No, I wasn’t being sarcastic. Given your beliefs, I would think you are glad Halliburton has moved its corporate headquarters to Dubai. I assume you believe other Americans will step in and do Halliburton’s work in a kinder, gentler way – maybe so but I’ve seen plenty of mom-and-pop organizations that do bad things, too. Alternatively, maybe you hope that no one will offer those services but I assure you that will not happen.

    What this means is that America may not have any organization that can tackle large scale projects that Halliburton handles. Thus, in the future, Halliburton will be governed by Dubai’s laws or the laws of the countries in which it works. Their standards will govern Halliburton’s actions. Do you think that is a better result?

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  35. Joel Rosenberg and Dustin,

    Dustin said in an earlier comment that the mall is in a “No Gun” zone. To your knowledge and/or in your experience, is this common for malls? Is it typically the mall owner’s choice or is it a matter of state law?

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  36. DRJ, according to the article you linked to:
    “The oil giant will keep an office in Houston but the posts of chairman, president and chief executive will be based in Dubai.”

    It doesn’t say Haliburton will stop doing anything in the US. They are a global corporation and I don’t expect them to hand over any local contracts just because they moved the bosses closer to the oil. What large-scale projects do you think they will be abandoning? Why cant they work all over the world?

    The Light (659591)

  37. DRJ: It varies widely, but it’s rare (I’m weaselling; I think it’s unknown, although one reading of the North Dakota Century Code might apply; nobody’s ever had it applied to them, though) for a mall per se to be a “no guns” zone under the law. It’s very, very common for establishments (including malls) to be able to “post” themselves as such zones, and in some cases, violating the posting has legal penalties.

    In Minnesota — where I’m most familiar with the law, for obvious reasons — it’s a bit complicated, but the short form is that it’s legal for a permit holder to carry into the Mall of America, which does have signs of the proper size, placement and font*, but the permit holder might or might not be obligated to leave if asked**; if he is so obligated and doesn’t leave, he could be fined as much as $25 for the first offense.

    * Yup. Minn Stat 624.714 specifices sign size, placement and a “black arial” font. Nobody’s actually conducted a “Helvetica Defense,” for reasons both obvious and not.

    ** It’s not clear if the Mall operators have a right to post the Mall. That wasn’t the intent of the law, but I’m not sure how the courts would rule. It’s clear that the shop renters within the Mall do have the right to post their own shops, and of all the proprietors in the Mall, I believe that as many as one or two still do.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  38. Halliburton will continue its domestic US oilfield services but, over time, it may even divest or spin off those assets. After all, oil exploration has peaked in the US given current laws.

    I think Halliburton’s large scale projects, and those are primarily international like the Iraqi contracts, will be based out of Dubai. That was the point of the move.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  39. Thanks, Joel. I think this is very interesting. I’m in favor of concealed carry laws but it’s not easy to decide the details of how it will work.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  40. DJR — agreed. When the Minnesota law was going through our legislature, Joe Olson (professor at Hamline) and David Gross (local attorney with extensive experience in criminal matters both as a prosecutor and defense lawyer) spent a lot of time analyzing all then-existing states’ carry laws, and most of what they drafted ended up in Minnesota’s law; they’d looked at what does and doesn’t work, and how it does and doesn’t work. (Their work is why our posting language is the way it is.)

    Many moments of interest during the passing, and 2005 repassage, like very early in the morning on May 17 2005, when somebody — trying to prevent repassage — sent an email to every member of the MN House, threatening them . . .

    . . . and signed my name to it.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  41. Err, that should have been “DRJ”. Apologies, and arghhh.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  42. This is disgusting, it pisses me off to hear about this stuff happening. The Light, I do agree that American corporations exploit the working class, and as a communist, I myself feel the way you do. Did our economic situation cause him to commit this horrid crime? It’s impossible to know. I am even more saddened by the massive amounts of people who post hateful replies to you, labeling you a “conspiracy theorist” and other such negative names. I would like you to know that I support your views.

    As for the idea of “Let’s get more people to carry guns,” I disagree. I would like to know, why in hell are assault rifles such as the one used, legal? We must keep rifles, shotguns, handguns, and the like legal to buy, I do agree that if you outlaw those types of guns problems only grow. But how come I can buy a military-grade weapon and with a simple modification, make it full auto?

    We must also think about why our society has so many problems with massacres such as this one. We have school shootings left and right, mall slaughters, why is our society so violent? We must look at the underlying issues that our population is presented with. I do agree that some of this has to do with our capitalist system and the mentality that it creates, but there is much more under the surface.

    Simon (ce5190)

  43. Simon, your claims are no more factual that The Lights’.

    “Assault rifles” are not legal since the ban on registration of new full automatic firearms was adopted in 1984. This is because the term “assault rifle” describes a specific type of firearm in military service that is chambered for an immediate power rifle cartridge and has both full automatic and semi-automatic modes of fire.

    The term is deliberately misused by gun control advocates to frighten and confuse.

    Additonally, you cannot “can buy a military-grade weapon and with a simple modification, make it full auto”. In fact, the ATF actually examines each semi-automatic firearm for the purpose of determining how easily they can be converted to full auto. Seldom is it a “simple modification”. And no one has any idea what a “military grade” firearm is, other than rhetoric.

    School shootings remain relatively rare as well, despite your rhetoric.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  44. Simon: one thing that communists and conservatives should be able to agree on is the RKBA. Do you expect the proletariat to rise up and throw off the chains of the oppressor with tofu?

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

  45. Your #40 describes an interesting legislative experience (except for the email part). Good job.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  46. Respectfully, I disagree in part — the email part was very, very interesting, if only in the Chinese curse sense. (I got very lucky, in part because of the clumsiness of the attempted framing, and in part because I just did: the state cop who happened to be assigned to the case was somebody who my lawyer and I had known casually for ten years, and while that wouldn’t have gotten me any slack if he’d thought I was responsible for it, he knew me well enough to know that the most likely explanation was an attempted frame-up.)

    It is a small world. The attorney who represented me — I wasn’t at any point arrested, detained, charged, or hit with a search warrant, but I obviously did need good representation, and had excellent representation — was the same David Gross who had been instrumental in drafting the law.

    Joel Rosenberg (677e59)

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