It appears I was misled about the identity of the Vermont man who shot and injured three Palestinian college students over the weekend. The source where I found a photo of the arrestee has now swapped the soldier photo without acknowledging it, replacing it with the one above which was released by the Burlington police. And, while it’s possible the two could be the same Jason J. Eaton, it seems unlikely.
The actual shooter appears to be a middle aged white male who was living with mental illness and guns. And in his long and rather odd resume, military service doesn’t appear. So I apologize for misleading readers.
What did I find odd? Per the Daily Beast:
According to the resume, Eaton was a field instructor for the McCall Outdoor Science School in Idaho, where he taught science to 5th and 6th graders for two months in 2005. A year later, he apparently became an investment adviser representative, where he managed about 100 clients and $7 million in assets.
I once taught science to 5th graders. No one at the time suggested that this qualified me to manage investments in the realm of $7 million.
Another oddity as reported by the BBC among others is that Eaton’s Twitter account had a banner reading: “Libertarians want trans furrys to be able to protect their cannabis farms with unregistered machine guns.” This strikes me as a slam on Libertarians, or a lame attempt at humor, or a bit of both. It hints at the way the Libertarian Party in northern New England competes with the Republican Party for members.
AG Merrick Garland’s Justice Department will be deciding whether to prosecute a hate crime on top of second-degree murder charges. Eaton has already pleaded “not guilty” and presumably will pursue a “lone wolf” mental illness defense.
I’m left with two thoughts:
1) White middle aged men who go on a rampage shooting strangers often appear lonely and isolated, even within the structure of their own families. Palestinian martyrs who are shot by strangers often appear as deeply connected to their extended families, and to their communities.
2) Chris Hedges has written about the tendency in decaying empires for crisis cults to spring up. Eaton appears to have dabbled at the edges of some of these, many with aspects of dog whistle antisemitism (mostly of the “Jewish money controls the world” variety).
How ironic that he shot three men who are part of the struggle against the Zionist occupation of Palestine. One, Hasham Awartani, remains in critical condition with injuries to his spine and hand. Kinnan Abdalhamid’s uncle revealed that the family feels betrayed for encouraging that young man to attend college in the U.S. believing it would be safer than continuing to live in the occupied West Bank. Along with their friend Tahseen Ahmad, the students were shot on their way to Awartani’s grandmother’s house returning from a bowling birthday party for his 8 year old cousins. Hard to get more wholesome than that.
In so many ways, the U.S. empire’s long reign of terror in the rest of the world is coming home to roost. People of color would likely say, When has it not been roosting at home? And I can’t disagree with that.