“There’s some foundational myth that adversity makes you better or stronger or whatever. That’s a nice thought, but it’s wrong.”
Once upon a time was how the story of this kid started. Geez, this kid—he had it rough! Do you know what I mean? You don’t? I guess I can’t blame you. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me, either.
Anyway, this kid’s life was terrible. He was teased, tormented, and tortured. Did it happen in that order? I can’t say. Hey, I’m not this kid’s best friend or anything. I’m just relating to you what I heard from somebody else. I don’t think that somebody else was the kid’s best friend, either.
Maybe the kid didn’t have any close friends. People like him rarely do. I’m sure he detached himself from anyone who could care about him. That was a mistake. All the time we hear “Oh, it wasn’t him, it was society that did this to him.” Maybe society did things to him, but how he reacted to them was his own fault.
I was told that this kid had a lot of potential. Potential is just a polite word that grown-ups use in reference to pitiful children. There’s some foundational myth that adversity makes you better or stronger or whatever. That’s a nice thought, but it’s wrong. Adversity just made this kid a brittle disaster.
This kid did manage to assassinate the lieutenant governor, though. By doing that, he put himself on the map. He toted his dad’s .22 to a political rally, got in close to shake the lieutenant governor’s hand, and shot him in the stomach. Isn’t that something?
Until then, I had no idea who our lieutenant governor was. Turns out he was some middle-aged lawyer with acne scars and male-pattern baldness. After he died, the local newspapers ran a bunch of stories about what a civic treasure he had been.
So this kid, who apparently had potential, murdered the lieutenant governor, who was a civic treasure. This was the great tragedy of the last decade here in our state. Before his execution, the kid said something in his defense.
“You know how it goes, and it goes like that,” he told a small crowd of witnesses and reporters.
It really did.