Dear Mass Shooter

Flickr/Peretz Partensky
Flickr/Peretz Partensky

Dear Mass Shooter,

Hi, how are you? My name is Chuck and I write and draw things for a living. Because of this I’ve never once in my life stopped asking why. Which is the reason I’m writing to you; I’d like to know why? I’d like to understand where your head is at, what you’re feeling and thinking. You see, I believe that monsters are merely perceived things. No one thinks that they’re a monster, no, they think that what they’re doing is the right thing to do.

Is what you’re doing the right thing to do? Our government takes life all the time, in wars abroad and domestically with capital punishment. Our entertainment is filled with life taking. America has always had a fetish for murder, so I can kind of understand where you’re coming from there. Personally, I wouldn’t want to kill anyone. I especially think it’s a shitty thing to do to a perfect stranger. But you don’t. You’ve justified it and I don’t understand why.

Is it because you want to be hated and famous? Reviled and interesting? Locked away but Googled? Is it because you want them to write about you? To make movies about you like they’ve done with various serial killers? Who’d play you? Who’d want to play you? You’re a bit of a jerk and I’m sure you know it. You didn’t come into this world wanting to kill perfect strangers, you learned to want that like all those who came before you. At one point in your life, you didn’t even know what murder was and as a direct consequence you didn’t want to kill anybody. What happened? What changed? What made you so angry? So righteous?

Was it religion? Because if so, you’re probably not going to like me much. I make secular kids books. That means atheist to you, or infidel, or heathen, take your pick. To you, I’m destined for hell no matter what. To you, killing me probably doesn’t mean much. I don’t mean much. But you’re so wrong. I mean a lot to a lot of people. My death would destroy my son nearly as much as his death would destroy me. What has my son ever done to you? He’s a child! Have you ever stopped to think about the parents you’ve taken away from children? Does your religion think it’s okay to destroy lives like that? Can you show me in your holy book where that’s allowed?

That last question was rhetorical. We all know the answer is that no holy book says that’s allowed. So, hiding behind your faith is a flimsily excuse at best. There must be something else, Mass Shooter, but what?

What makes you kill and destroy? Maybe you like it. Maybe you’re so angry inside you need to make others around you hurt as much as you do? Is that it? Do you need a hug? All you’ve ever had to do was ask. The world is always willing to give you a hug, if you know where to look. It’s in the sunrise and sunset, Mass Shooter. It’s in nature and laughter. Hugs are everywhere, but maybe you don’t want them. Maybe you think you’re nothing and you want to kill yourself. Maybe you want to die, but before you do, you want to leave your mark on this world. You want to let humanity know that you were here and you hated people for being a certain way, so you killed them before killing yourself. You want them to know that God Is Love by killing people who will go down in history as innocents. That’s not smart.

Your cause? Your religion? Your mission?

It’s tainted.

It’s crap.

Don’t you see? You’re only causing the world to turn against your ideology. You’re making them not want to see it your way. You’re killing your god and your cause a little more with each life you steal. You’re destroying the very thing that has you so hyped up in the first place, and for what? A temporary bit of fame? Because that’s what it is, temporary. Tell me of the mass killers from a 1,000 years ago. The regular citizen killers like yourself, not the generals and kings, the emperors and self proclaimed gods. You can’t, because given enough time, no one cares to remember. Just like they won’t care to remember you. So why?

Isn’t there enough needless suffering? Isn’t there enough sorrow? Isn’t there enough pain that people inflict upon themselves? Wouldn’t it be better to put the gun in your own mouth and pull the trigger before killing perfect strangers? Leave a poetic note filled with your torment and people will actually be sad that you’ve died. People will better understand your pain. Your racist upbringing. Your overly religious parents who indoctrinated and radicalized you while doing a piss poor job at teaching you basic humanity. People may actually listen to what you have to say and come over to your way of thinking.

Or, you could write a book, or a play, or a movie script. You could actually try to be something that isn’t a mass killing jerk. Because that’s what we see you as. Because, in the end, Mass Killer, we’re better than you. We turn our frustration and rage into words, into art, and we shape the world. With every letter typed, with the stroke of every brush, the scratch of every pen and pencil; we change things. We create things.

What do you do?


That’s all you do, nothing more, nothing less. You destroy lives, and in the process you help destroy the very thing that’s caused you to murder innocents in the first place. So, why? Please, Mass Shooter, tell me why. Give me a plausible explanation for your actions but don’t hide behind a religion, or an ideology. Don’t hide behind your personal pain and torment. Then tell me why, because I don’t understand and neither does the majority of the planet.

Actually, we’d all would like to know why, Mass Shooter. Mostly because we’d like you to stop but also because we’d like to help. As much as you don’t want to believe it, before you decided to go out and kill a bunch of random people, we cared about you. So please, set aside your anger, put down the guns, and don’t kill anyone. Sit down and tell all of us why you’d like to, we’re all ears. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get that hug you seem to so desperately need. Maybe you’ll find a new way to vent. Maybe you’ll become a creator.

Here’s hoping,
Chuck Harrison Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog