A known white supremacist went on a shooting spree in a predominantly minority neighborhood on Sunday, wounding several people before police were able to apprehend him. The shooter, Eddie Ray Charles, a 40 year old white male, drove a Ford F-150 pick-up truck with a bumper sticker that said "Sportsmen for Hunting Obama" and was often overheard using racial epithets and threatening "to kill the n**gers and Jews ruining this country." He had talked favorably about the "good ole days of America when the KKK was in charge" and was a known blogger on several racially charged websites, including Fox News. Authorities raided his residence and seized a computer, but couldn't point to any motive for the shooting.
"We are completely perplexed," said Detective Dee Versity, one of the first officers to arrive on the scene.
Neighbors described Charles as a private man who sometimes attended neighborhood functions, finding it awkward when he would chant "white power" at little league games or refuse to be photographed with minorities. One time he stormed out of a children's birthday party because a pinata was present. His brother, Sonny Ray, said his sibling complained that he was often teased for his views, that people would call him "Ray Charles" to make fun of the name he shared with the legendary African-American musician. And the fact that he was legally blind.
"He called me a wetback several times and I'm Welsh-Irish," said pizza delivery boy Colin Jones. "But I never gave him back correct change so I guess we're even."
A police report from earlier this year noted that Eddie Ray's truck had been keyed, and someone removed a confederate flag decal from his windshield. Whether such incessant teasing and intolerance could have played a role in pushing Charles over the edge is anyone's guess.
"It could have been anything really," a psychologist at the nearby university told reporters. "What's important is we don't jump to conclusions. Maybe his belief in exterminating nonwhites to form a purer race had something to do with this and maybe not. Who knows for sure?"
Wayne Casper, a spokesman for the Aryan Nations, reiterated the peaceful nature of his group. "There are a lot of white supremacists who are able to hate without resorting to violence," Casper told only the white reporters in the room. "It would be unfair to indict our beliefs on the basis of one nutty guy's actions, who none of us has certainly met."
Co-workers mentioned how tense Eddie Ray Charles had been at work lately, especially since coming under the supervision of a new boss, who happened to be Jewish, although non-practicing. Job related stress is responsible for $26 billion in medical and disability payments, with lost productivity from stress estimated at $95 billion. Could it have played a factor in the deadly shooting?
"We may never know what the motive was or who the real victim is here," one local was heard saying.
It's a trend that seems to be catching on. The past two months have seen a record number of hung juries around the nation, as people are hesitant to make judgments that may not be politically correct.
"People are realizing how difficult it is to try and draw conclusions of any kind," explained Paul Svengali, a Democratic strategist. "And if you do, you don't want those conclusions to be to the detriment of anyone, real or perceived. That's one thing this president and his law enforcement officials have been cognisant of, not acting rashly, or sometimes not acting at all. What's the best course? Maybe no course. Maybe just deliberate longer and people will forget about it."
In a related story, police are trying to determine whether alcohol played a role in a drunk driving accident yesterday morning in which the driver who ran a stop sign was said to have a .19 blood alcohol level.