When we picture a mass shooter in our heads, we have an image. While the age might be variable, it’s typically a white guy. There are, of course, plenty of exceptions, but most actually fit that image pretty well.
In Philadelphia, we had a mass shooting on Monday. It sounded like a typical mass shooting, too, with the alleged killer in body armor and carrying an AR-style rifle.
What no one excepting was a BLM activist.
The suspect wanted in connection with a shooting in Southwest Philadelphia on Monday night has been identified as 40-year-old [name redacted per our policy here].
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, [he] was arrested on Monday evening after allegedly shooting and killing five people and injuring two children in the Kingsessing neighborhood. Police said they apprehended a male suspect who was wearing a ballistic vest.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said law enforcement responded to gunfire in the area of South 56th Street and Chester Avenue shortly before 8:30 pm. Around 10 minutes later, police followed and cornered the suspect in an alleyway on the 1600 block of South Frazier Street.
On Facebook, [he] was seen posting in support of Black Lives Matter, and follows the Black Lives Matter Philly Facebook page.
Now, there’s some confusion at play here. Police say they arrested a male at the scene. Social media posts show the suspect wearing female clothing, which suggests a trans person, and the Philadelphia authorities are now using “they/them” to describe the suspect after originally using male pronouns.
The Daily Mail refers to the suspect as a cross-dresser, which means someone who wears women’s clothing but doesn’t identify as a woman. That seems logical based on what we have available.
What there doesn’t appear to be any confusion over is that this is a BLM activist who targeted innocent people as part of a violent rampage.
This answers a couple of questions we might have about the alleged shooter, but it also seems to create a whole lot more.
For example, was his politics behind the shooting? I don’t know the neighborhood in question, so I can’t say. It appears this is a southwest Philly neighborhood and is mostly black, so I don’t see why a BLM-supporting cross-dresser would target black people for political reasons, but I also don’t understand why someone would do something like this in the first place.
Again, tons of questions left.
What’s not up for debate is that while many claim mass shootings are the purview of angry white men, this case suggests something very different, and it would be a damn good idea to start trying to figure out why people take up the notion of wholesale slaughter and start trying to address it.
On the flip side, after large-scale riots in 2020, it’s going to be kind of hard for a lot of people not to look at BLM supporters as being potentially violent people just waiting for an excuse to explode.
I don’t recommend doing so, either, because mass shootings are far more complicated than that.