The Other McCain

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

‘The Nicest Kid in Our Grade’

Posted on | April 24, 2022 | Comments Off on ‘The Nicest Kid in Our Grade’

Say hello to Raymond Spencer, 23, and while you’re at it, you can also say good-bye because he committed suicide after opening fire from a window of his fifth-floor apartment in D.C. near the Edmund Burke School and the University of D.C. campus. This shooting happened about 3:30 Friday afternoon in the Van Ness neighborhood, one of the nicest areas of D.C. I know the neighborhood very well, as I used to travel down Connecticut Avenue sometimes driving to work in Washington, and there’s a shopping center nearby with restaurants, etc., where at least once my family had dinner after a trip to the Washington Zoo.

When the news broke Friday of a mass shooting in D.C., I did not at first think this could be the type of “lone gunman” incident it turned out to be. I mean, it’s D.C., OK? Probably the local drug gangs having a shootout. But then I realized what neighborhood they were talking about and thought again. This ain’t the ghetto, and the fact that a school seemed to be the target made me wonder if it could be some kind of terrorist incident. Given the way these things are usually reported, the question immediately occurred to me, “One of ours or one of theirs?” Everything in journalism is now partisan, so the question was whether it was a “right-wing extremist” who could be used as a scarecrow by the Left: “See? We told those Trump voters were dangerous!”

Well, it turns out, this was apparently not a terrorist attack, nor was it politically motivated. Instead, Raymond Spencer was a random kook:

A former classmate of D.C. shooting suspect Raymond Spencer says she is struggling to understand why he shot four people on Friday, describing him as “the nicest kid in our grade.” . . .
Spencer filmed the attack and posted the horrifying footage online. He left digital breadcrumbs that investigators subsequently found, including posts on the 4chan message board saying, among other things, “Dear God please forgive me.” Spencer also edited the Edmund Burke Wikipedia page after the terrifying incident, writing, “A gunman shot at the school on April 22, 2022. The suspect is still at large.” The revised entry linked to a profile in Spencer’s name, in which he was described as “proudly uncircumcised” and an “AR-15 aficionado.”

(Uh, “proudly uncircumcised”? But never mind . . .)

Allison, who asked that her real name not be used in this article, is still trying to make sense of what happened, describing Spencer as “the nicest kid in our grade.” He had one older brother in the grade above, and a younger brother in the grade below, Allison said.
“I just wanted to make this information known because it feels like no one else has come forward,” she said. “And that’s really weird, because it’s not like he was a loner… He’s the last person I would expect to do something like this. He was the most quiet kid. He didn’t really talk a lot. But he always smiled when you talked to him. Like, this isn’t the person that I knew 10 years ago.”

(It’s always the “quiet kid,” you notice? All those teachers who gave me demerits and sent me to the principal’s office for talking too much in class owe me an apology. It was the quite kids who were the real danger, not me.)

Allison knew Spencer for three years, in grades 6 through 8. They attended the same Catholic school in Rockville, Maryland, which she said was “known for being tough in discipline, but also having really good academics.” The student body was very diverse, because tuition was more reasonable than other schools in the area, according to Allison.

(Catholic school kids — a menace to society!)

“And they took a lot of students who might be having problems in public school, like they might be getting bullied, or they might have [a learning disability],” she said. “So for example, if there was a student with ADHD, then they would be accommodated by the staff. And that’s actually part of why I was there, because my mom was worried about me getting bullied in public school. I was a shy kid. And there were a lot of kids like that.”
Spencer was the shortest kid in his class, standing eye-to-eye with Allison, who said she was five-feet tall at the time. She said he made friends easily with others at school, which was small enough that “everyone knew each other.” Still, Allison said Spencer “didn’t really socialize with people,” although he didn’t exhibit any violent tendencies and “nothing really stood out about him.”
After 8th grade, Spencer transferred to a public high school, where he ran cross country. The next time Allison saw him, he was being named on TV as the suspect in a mass shooting.
In a photo of Spencer’s apartment released by the Metro PD, a picture hanging on the wall appeared to depict Yakub, a mythical Black scientist written about by Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, which has now been mockingly turned into an anti-Black meme by 4chan denizens.

(OK, that’s kind of weird, but too vague to be a real clue.)

Allison said she isn’t sure if Spencer got caught up in one of “these different movements, [like] the incel thing,” but added, “I don’t think it was really that deep.”

(Y’know, “the incel thing” crossed my mind as soon as I saw the shooter’s mug shot. Kind of gave off an Elliot Rodger vibe somehow.)

“I’m pretty sure he already wanted to commit suicide, but he was afraid of not being remembered,” she said. “So he appealed to these internet movements because he knew that people would continue to make conspiracies about his life, as if it was some kind of thing. The truth is kind of devastatingly simple.”
Spencer’s actions were “really cynical,” said Allison, noting that she understands “he did commit something really evil.”
“But it doesn’t help to demonize people,” she said, sobbing quietly. “Because it came from somewhere. And as long as we don’t try to understand other people, this kind of thing will keep happening in this country.”

OK, we could “try to understand other people,” or we could pay people to understand them — professional psychiatrists, for example, working in mental institutions where we lock up these lunatics so they can’t hurt anybody. We are currently about 50 years into an experiment of “disinstitutionalizing” the mentally ill, and there are so many kooks running around nowadays that scarcely a week goes by without one of them doing something crazy like this. But the good news, such as it is, is that at least none of Raymond Spencer’s victims died from their wounds, and he committed suicide, thus sparing taxpayers the expense of locking him away for the rest of his life. A win-win, really.

Crazy People Are Dangerous.



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