University Of Texas Shooter Has Been Identified

September 28th, 2010 | 8 comments | Posted by Jen

How many of held your breath and prayed this morning that the University of Texas student who fired off rounds from an AK-47 before killing himself on campus wouldn’t turn out to be Asian?

The UT Tower, sight of the first school shooting in North America (according to Wikipedia), from which Charles Whitman killed 14 in 1966

Oh, right, all of you!

Still haunted by Virginia Tech as though it were yesterday–not to mention the Binghamton shooter and, more recently, the Discovery Channel hostage-taker–I think it’s safe to say that most of us would be happy to never see the words “Asian” and “shooter” next to each other again unless we’re talking about excellence achieved in the various shooting sports featured at the Olympic Games.

The UT shooter has since been identified as 19 year-old math major Colton Tooley, pictured below.

Tooley was from Austin, graduated 7th in his class at Crockett High School, and lived at home with his parents. A witness said Tooley “didn’t look like he was targeting individuals” before he ended his own life.

Not one of us, but tragic all the same.

[My Fox NY: Police Identify Colton Tooley as UT Shooting Suspect]
[HuffPo: Gunman Kills Self At University Of Texas]

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8 Responses to “University Of Texas Shooter Has Been Identified”

  1. singdancesteal says:

    Jen, I love this blog and totally respect you, but I think the opening of this post focused too much on the race of the shooter and it bordered on insensitive. I appreciate that you add that it’s “tragic” at the end, but the feel at the beginning put me off a little. Deaths are deaths, and the victims, and perhaps the troubled perpetrator as well, of these shootings should be mourned for with some respect without bringing race into it. I’m Asian myself, and I know that when I personally heard about this incident, I did not think about the race of the shooter at all, but rather, that it was horrible that something like this happened again.

  2. Jen says:

    @singdancesteal I’m simply conveying the first thing that came to my mind and the minds of many others. And not only of Asians but of people of color in general, judging by the responses we received via Twitter when I tweeted my gut reaction to the news. Because if the UT shooter had been Asian, there would have been a lot of people saying, “Great, another Asian shooter.” But I’m not saying “Oh, he’s not Asian, so who the fuck cares” either. You and I actually aren’t of different minds with regard to the role race plays in incidents like these. The broader point I’m making is that, like it or not, and believe me, I don’t, race gets brought into these incidents, and these shooters get stereotyped, by the media and by people in general trying to make sense out of something senseless, which makes people who are of the same race as these shooters uncomfortable and defensive.

  3. Jenny Rain says:

    Jen, I was totally praying he wouldn’t be Asian. And many other Asian kids were doing the same thing, as evidenced by my Twitter and Facebook feeds. First thought: Is he Asian? Second thought: Is this racially/religiously motivated? You weren’t being insensitive, just stating a fact. And you’re right. If we weren’t still haunted by what happened at Virginia Tech, then perhaps we’d all be having different thoughts.

  4. Jenny Rain says:

    Also, I feel somewhat ashamed that once I heard the shooter rolled up in a Suburban, I breathed a sigh of relief that he wasn’t Asian. Yeah, I totally stereotyped people who drive Suburbans… :(

  5. Jen says:

    @Jenny Yeah, it’s all about context. It’s like, what does every law-abiding Muslim feel when there’s a terrorist incident involving Muslims?

    People of color get held to a higher standard. (Or maybe an impossible standard.) One bad apple spoils the whole bunch, or, at the very least, stereotypes us for years, makes people afraid, and makes people do idiotic things like pass racist laws (SB 1070) or try to defy the Constitution (Ground Zero mosque).

  6. Hello Kitty says:

    Aw man, now two Rutgers students have disgraced our kind. Nominate for Disgrasian of the Weak, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei?

  7. Jen says:

    It’s already a done deal.

  8. singdancesteal says:

    Jen, thanks for defending your post so well. I can definitely see clearer where you’re coming from.

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