The Other McCain

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

Suspect in Shooting of Palestinian Students ‘Struggled With Depression’

Posted on | November 28, 2023 | 2 Comments

In the immediate aftermath of the weekend shooting in Burlington, Vermont — wounding Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Aliahmad — I braced myself for an anticipated tsunami of reports about an “extremist” radicalized by Fox News and “far right” websites, because that’s obviously who must have done it, right?

Then the arrest of a suspect was announced Sunday, and I was still bracing myself for the expected media onslaught blaming a right-wing “climate of hate” for the Burlington gunman’s crime. But I waited, and waited, and waited some more, and even after the suspect was publicly identified as Jason Eaton, 48, the media horde failed to produce the “blame Republicans” headlines I had feared. This led me to wonder what the heck was going on, and then I found this story by the Daily Beast:

The suspect accused of shooting three Palestinian college students in Vermont on Saturday night has worked as a farm hand, a Harvard research assistant, and a former ski instructor, according to a resume reviewed by The Daily Beast.
Jason J. Eaton, 48, was arrested Sunday afternoon and charged with three counts of second-degree attempted murder in connection with the shooting. Police say the college students were walking along a Burlington street when the suspect opened fire with a handgun “without speaking.” Afterward, he fled. . . .
Eaton had previously struggled with depression and had Thanksgiving with his family just days earlier, his mother told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview. “Jason has had a lot of struggles in his life but he is such a kind and loving person,” Mary Reed, his mother, said on Monday. “I am just shocked by the whole thing.” . . .

(This phrase — “struggled with depression” — could be used to describe tens of millions of Americans who never opened fire on three strangers for no discernible reason.)

Eaton’s resume states that he went to the University of Idaho for a bachelor’s in general studies in 2001, where he focused on natural resource ecology and conservation biology but was seven credits short of graduating. He also got a graduate certification at the University of Idaho in environmental education, which is pending his undergraduate completion, as well as a pro-professional forestry degree at Paul Smith’s College, according to the document. . . .

(“Environmental education”? Hmmm.)

According to NBC, Eaton appears to have a YouTube account that has playlists with videos that include “Expose Fauci,” long COVID, economics, and how to use brain crystals for “psychic powers.” An Instagram account that appears to belong to him also shows him on a farm and cooking.
In an X account that appeared to belong to Eaton, he describes himself as a “radical citizen…patrolling demockracy and crapitalism for oathcreepers.” A 2022 archived version of that same account, which contains the same photo, has a more subdued bio that describes him as a Vermont dad and part-time farmer. The archived X account also provides a link to a Substack, with the “wandering ramblings of a reformed broker on the ADHD/ASD spectrum.” . . .

(The hints of kookiness begin to proliferate.)

Reed said Eaton had previously suffered from depression and other mental health issues but had been “in such a good mood” when she saw him on Thanksgiving.
She said her son, who has bounced around different jobs and previously was an “assistant to a financial officer.” . . .
On Thanksgiving, Reed said, Eaton was “totally normal” and the family had a great holiday together. It was not immediately clear whether Eaton owned a gun. “It was the best Thanksgiving we had in years,” Eaton’s mother said. “We were all together.”
During the family dinner, Reed said that Eaton did not mention the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. She added, however, that her son is a “very religious person” who connects with different religious figures and often reads the Bible.
“He, like all of us, thinks the world is a mess,” Reed said. “He is a spiritual person.”

Yeah, not much in the way of a specific motive there, but you get the idea that Eaton led a rather aimless and unsuccessful life — leaving college just seven credits shy of a diploma — and had some distinctly weird ideas bouncing around in his head (“other mental health issues”). As much as the media might want to depict Eaton as a “right-wing extremist,” his biography doesn’t lend itself to such a narrative. Unless and until further evidence sheds more light on Eaton’s motive, then, his crime doesn’t help the media’s pin-the-tail-on-the-Republicans game.

Have I mentioned lately that Crazy People Are Dangerous?



2 Responses to “Suspect in Shooting of Palestinian Students ‘Struggled With Depression’”

  1. The Journolism of The Philadelphia Inquirer – THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.
    November 29th, 2023 @ 1:29 pm

    […] is absolutely nothing in the Inky’s reporting to tell you that the suspect, Jason Eaton, was off his rocker, suffering from depression, coocoo for Cocoa Puffs, and mostly a political […]

  2. FMJRA 2.0: Take It Like A Man : The Other McCain
    December 3rd, 2023 @ 11:40 pm

    […] Suspect in Shooting of Palestinian Students ‘Struggled With Depression’ First Street Journal Flappr A View From The Beach EBL 357 Magnum […]