Published On: Tue, Nov 7th, 2017

Sutherland Springs; Curiouser and curiouser

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There hadn’t been a plan for an FBEL article on the shooting at the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas – but the reluctant author noticed that the official narrative had a big problem straight off the bat. Devin Kelley had been banned from owning firearms. He had no legal access to the means by which he had supposedly committed his crime.

This was awkward, and so early on too; it was common knowledge by bed time on Sunday – British bed time, that is. It would need some explaining, especially if the atrocity was going to be a spring board for the usual clamour for gun control. The US Air Force duly produced the goods. On Monday, it was announced that Kelley hadn’t been registered on a federal database whereby he would have been prohibited from purchasing four weapons in four years. The sanction had come about “following his 2012 domestic violence conviction”, and was related to his subsequently being dishonourably discharged from the service – but, it appears that the US Air Force had just… forgotten… whatever it was that they were supposed to do in terms of notifying the civilian authorities. All very convenient.

But it wasn’t just that that roused the author’s curiosity. There is a video out there on the internet (that the reader is just going to have to find on his or her own) in which a local woman is talking to an anchor-person for an organisation called Blazing Press News. In the course of the discourse, this woman happens to name the shooter, and she didn’t say “Devin Kelley”. The source of this information was identified by the news channel with one name only (it’s not going to be mentioned here) – which, given that she had freely announced her place of work as being in that small village of Sutherland Springs, could only serve to make her anonymous in the wider world; although, presumably, anyone in the community could identify who she was. And yet, she gave the name of a certain individual as the perpetrator of a particularly heinous crime. She claimed that this man had attacked his own family first, before going to the church to shoot more people.

It’s all very odd. Basically, on the surface of things as we are told they exist, this woman just decided to air a slanderous piece of town gossip, on an (out of nowhere) media outlet that was apparently doing live rolling news coverage, about someone who would also know who she was – and presumably wouldn’t take kindly to the things being said. Why on Earth would she do that?

Now, we’re not going to join in with the defamation to name this individual ourselves, but we do need to discuss this aberration. Even before the author started to search for this named individual on the internet, it occurred that he might find that the supposed victims amongst this man’s family would appear in the list of people who had been killed or injured as part of the church congregation – and indeed, this did turn out to be the case. (This has a significance, but it’s preferable not to discuss it).

It is imperative to point out that also on the internet are vigorous denials that this named individual had anything to do with any act of violence against anybody. We should accept this information on its face value. However, this doesn’t mean we should stop digging, either. The aim is not to further injure any maligned innocent; it is to find evidence of any greater, wider crime; to find the real story. And so, when investigating the chorus of denial, the author came across one piece that was extremely puzzling in particular. It mentioned that the individual had indeed been accused of being the shooter (we’re going to swap names out for letters; X being the individual, Y being a relative of X):

In the first hours after the shooting Sunday, some media erroneously reported X was the shooter. Y said his [relative] wasn’t angry about the mistake, he was too worried about his family to care.

However, it didn’t mention that in fact this individual had been accused of murdering his own family. Surely he would care about that?

The article in question was executed as if it was for a lifestyle magazine; which made it appear strange considering the grief would still have been red-raw for the people who constituted the subject matter. It certainly seems to have been written just after the evening of the Sunday on which the incident occurred – because it describes events taking place at that time. It was apparently written by someone who had gained access into the home of a relative of the individual (the “Y” of the above quote) – a photographer even took shots of this relative in his grief (to qualify: with his hand over his face obscuring both his features and actually, his emotions). It meant the worst kind of imposition and intrusion to produce – and yet, this strange piece of writing was produced and published within 24 hours of a personal disastor for the people it studied. What could possibly be the meaning of such bizarre timing for a human-interest angled “Hello!”-style piece of journalism related to this incident?

Well, at one point, it does give the accused individual (X) an alibi:

Y’s house is just a few blocks from the church… Z, his wife, was setting up a yard sale when she heard the first shots Sunday morning.

“Bam bam bam bam!” the shots came so fast, Z said, it sounded like something from a machine gun. Word sped fast in the small town — there was a shooter and he was inside the church.

She ran inside and woke a napping Y. His [relative] X, whose family often attends services there, wasn’t answering his phone so the two hopped in the car and sped to his house to check they were safe.

“He was pissed at me,” Y said. His [relative] didn’t think it could be true — not in their small town. He thought Y must be wrong, he had to be mistaken. X works the night shift and had stayed home that morning, but his wife and children were at the church. “I said, ‘I’m not lying to you, X, they’re all shot.”

It’s such an incredibly weird thing to say: “they’re all shot”. How could X’s relative possibly know at that stage exactly what had happened in the church?

One can’t even try to account for how peculiar all of this is. And we shouldn’t try, because we might impute diabolical wrongdoing against an innocent man, and we certainly don’t want to do that.

As for the incident as a whole, it is giving off a stench that is all too familiar. There is another video on the internet taken by what is presumably a woman on the scene. She captures a much-too sterile environment; first responders ambling about; a good deal of loitering by the church entrance; in short, no sense of urgency on display from any quarter. She reports that she has been there for 10 minutes, with the incident having happened about 50 before her arrival, and she hadn’t seen any victims coming or being taken out of the church. Incredibly, she reports that the neighbours she had spoken to had not, in all the intervening time since the incident had occurred, seen any victims either.

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