The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

BREAKING: Gunman Opens Fire During School Board Meeting in Florida; UPDATE: Inspired by ‘V for Vendetta’? UPDATE: Gunman ID’d as Clay Duke, Claimed ‘Wealthy . . . Enslave 95% of the Population’; Shot Himself, Police Say

Posted on | December 14, 2010 | 14 Comments

Total weirdness:

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — A gunman opened fire during a Florida Panhandle school board meeting Tuesday, police said. . . .
WMBB television reporter Nadeen Yanes told her station that the man came up to the podium at the Bay District School Board meeting and said he had a motion. He then pulled out a can of red spray paint and painted a V with a circle around it.
Yanes told the station he pulled out a handgun and started talking. She said school board member Ginger Littleton hit the gunman with her purse and he pushed her to the ground and started firing randomly. . . .

What? “V for Vendetta”?

UPDATE: Panama City News-Herald:

Reporter Daniel Carson was in the room and here is his account, given after making a statement to police:
“They had just got into the action item portion of the agenda, having a discussion about a revision to school board policy. This guy had been sitting in the back of room, not acting irratically or anything. He got up and walked to podium, but I couldnt see that he had a gun.
“He pulls out a can of red spray paint, muttered something like ‘you’re a bunch of assholes’ to school board … and draws on the wall a red circle with ‘v’ through it. He pulls out this gun that turned out to be a cap gun, I think, and he started talking to the school board and told everyone to clear the room except the men on the school board.
“Then Ginger Littleton, I think, swung her purse at him. Nobody knew it was a cap gun. I couldnt tell if he hit her or not, but looked like she kind of went down. She’s not injured by the way.”
Carson was outside the back door of the room with two others, including Bay Defense Alliance representative Leon Walters and teacher Dianne Wishart, and they cracked the door to see what was happening inside.
“We kept peeking in to make sure he hadn’t killed the entire school board. We closed the door, and I heard two pops. Mike Jones must have entered from another door inside the building and shot the guy. . . .
A reporter has confirmed that former School Board member and district security chief Mike Jones shot the gunman.

UPDATE II: Suggestion of a possible motive:

School board spokeswoman Karen Tucker told the News Herald . . . she recognized the alleged gunman as someone who had been sitting in back of the meeting room, and added that he said something about “firing his wife.”
Tucker said she then ran to an office in the building and Jones was contacted. Jones “came running down and into the board room and then there were shots fired,” she told the News Herald.
“Thank God he was here,” Tucker is quoted as saying. “I heard the gun shots … I thought he had hurt one of our people.”

UPDATE III: The News-Herald has now identified the gunman as Clay Duke and confirms the earlier report that his wife had been fired by the school system. Duke is now reported to be dead.

UPDATE IV: Thanks to a Twitter friend for pointing out the “V for Vendetta” motif on Clay Duke’s Facebook page:

I’m not very familiar with “V for Vendetta,” so I don’t know what this says about the gunman’s motivations. But I’m pretty sure that if this guy had been some kind of right-wing kook, we’d have heard about it by now.

UPDATE V: From Duke’s Facebook profile, expressions of a class-warfare hate-the-rich scheme:

Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V)… no… I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats… same-same… rich… they take turns fleecing us… our few dollars… pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95%… the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us…

He was 56 years old. And full of hate.

UPDATE VI: On his Facebook profile, Duke describes his religion as “humanism.” He links to the Web site of Metanoia Films, and to The Progressive Mind. Here is the trailer for the Metanoia Films production, Human Resources:

Human Resources Trailer from S DN on Vimeo.

UPDATE VII: Latest AP update: “Panama City Police Sgt. Jeff Becker says after reviewing video footage of the shooting, it was determined that the gunman fatally shot himself.”


Tensions built while Duke questioned the school board, and told the group that “Somebody is going to die today.”
WJHG’s video footage shows Duke as he began firing, and SWAT teams responded and burst in.
School Board Superintendent Bill Husfelt says that the gunman had “almost a smile” on his face, and seemed determined that he was going to die.
Duke fired several shots with a small caliber pistol at school board members, and then traded shots with Mike Jones, security for the Bay County School District. Mike Jones is a retired Detective with the Panama City Police force, a man who Husfelt calls “a hero.” In all, between 15 and 20 shots were fired, though police now say Duke died from a gunshot from his own gun.

We can expect that, over the next couple of days, reporters will piece together an account of Duke’s slow-motion descent into a depression-related psychosis.

UPDATE IX: Another telling detail: “State records show Duke, 56, served four years in prison about a decade ago for aggravated stalking and other crimes.”

UPDATE X: VIDEO: Florida School Board Shooting


Comments are closed.