The Joy of Killing

Spengler wanted to kill (courtesy of ABC News)

Early Monday morning, firefighters in Webster, New York responded to a call and went to the home of 62-year-old William Spengler. The house and several others in the area were engulfed in flames when the men arrived and set out to control the blaze.

Suddenly, gunfire exploded and before the firefighters knew it, two of them were dead and two more were injured. An off-duty police officer happened upon the scene and used his car for cover, returning fire with the unknown gunman before sustaining some shrapnel injuries of his own.

When the gunfire stopped and the smoke finally cleared, police officers discovered the body of Spengler, the apparent shooter whose last violent act was to take his own life. The charred body of his live-in sister was later discovered in the house the two shared.

Investigators later found a note Spengler wrote and left at the scene. In it, he explained how he hoped to burn down the neighborhood and to “do what [he liked] doing best—killing people.”

Thus far, Spengler’s motive has not been discovered, but he is certainly no stranger to violent crime. In 1981, he was convicted of killing his grandmother with a hammer and oddly enough was released on supervised parole. Some speculate that this final criminal act was related to Spengler’s arrest all those years ago. Others think he lashed out at firefighters because of a donation his mother made to the local fire department before her death.

Spengler following his murder conviction (courtesy of Webster PD)

Of course, none of that matters since the only person who knew Spengler’s true motive was Spengler, and he took the coward’s way out.

I should also mention that Spengler used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle in the attack. This is the same type of weapon used in the recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The danger of copycat crimes springing up after a national tragedy like the one in Connecticut is always present. But this attack was much different because Spengler not only murdered first responders in cold blood; he set the fire that initially brought them to the scene. Spengler was a convicted killer who derived great pleasure and pride from murder.

It kind of makes you wonder how many other Spenglers are out there waiting to strike. Sociopaths seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days.

We all know that violence often begets more violence, so my question is this: How can we inject some peace into this increasingly violent world of ours?

If we can figure that out, then perhaps there is hope for the human race after all…

Posted on December 26, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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