Friday, December 21, 2012

COMMENTARY: Which one was the shooter?

One of the NRA's proposed solutions for gun violence today is a national registry of mentally-disturbed people.  Sounds a lot like the Stasi to me, a bit too "big government" for a conservative group. Besides that, how are they going to determine who is capable of violence?

Determining who's mentally unstable and capable of killing isn't that easy--even for trained professionals.

Just for fun, I am offering a real-life test. About twenty years ago, I worked with two women. Both left the agency under a cloud. One of these two women had the means, motive, and opportunity to shoot her co-workers and she made threats toward several of them.  Yes, I was one of the people she said would be "better off dead." 

See if you can read the twenty-four word bios I've provided and tell me which woman it was.

A.  Single woman in her thirties lived with her cat.  She was  introverted, soft-spoken, and tended to keep conversations work-related. Hobbies:  reading, walking, and crafting.

B.  Married woman in her forties with two sons. No pets. She was highly extroverted and would talk to anyone. Hobbies, drinking, crafts, and bingo.

You can post here or in comments or on my FB page.  I'll reveal the answer on Christmas Eve.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, December 2012


  1. The sad reality is, the 24-word bios provided here, the same sort of bios officials (researchers, media, etc) use to differentiate people, only scratch the surface of people and don't actually say a damn thing about who a person truly is.

    My little stab in the dark at choosing would be the second woman, since 2 factors (being married and having children) jump out at me as being generators of stressors, which can certainly lead to a desire to destroy the things around her, which could lead to threats of shooting her coworkers. Plus, since she would "talk to anyone", that could also be interpreted as a cry for help.

    I would also read the first lady as being harmless (though admittedly I do have a bias to private people who own cats). But of course, popular belief would draw the opposite conclusion based on those profiles. Really, there's no way to know; people's internal worlds are so very different than the faces they show towards the public there's no predicting what's going on in their heads.

  2. Aky--you are a genius, but you already know that. You pegged my reasons for writing this post perfectly.

    For anyone else -- All right, it's Christmas Eve. The woman making the threats was the second lady. While she was outwardly very friendly, she had a terrible temper and she did not forgive easily. She also carried a gun in her purse to work for "self defense" and suggested at least four people I know of were "better off dead." Oddly, it wasn't her the unaware folks were afraid of--they were scared of the quiet one who wasn't sure if she should own pepper spray.