School shootings may come as a shock, but school shooters are rarely a surprise. From Adam Lanza to Nikolas Cruz to the latest contestant in the Columbine psycho game, they’re exactly who people would expect to shoot up a school.
The Uvalde, Texas, gunman gave off so many warning signs that he was obsessed with violence and notoriety in the months leading up to the attack that teens who knew him began calling him “school shooter.”
Just days before the attack, Ramos spoke out on social media of his plans to do something that would “put him all over the news.” He wrote of a desire to kill himself, shared online videos of beheadings and violent sex, and sent footage of himself driving around with “someone he met on the internet” holding a plastic bag containing a dead cat and pointing BB guns at people out the window.
In March 2022, two months before the shooting, a student on Instagram told him that “people at school talk (expletive) about you and call you school shooter.”
The next month Ramos asked in a direct message on Instagram, “Are you still gonna remember me in 50 something days?” After the answer — “probably not” — Ramos replied, “Hmm alright we’ll see in may.“
Crystal Foutz, who attended school with Ramos, told The Associated Press he was frequently angry and gave off “vibes” like he could shoot up the place, though it was taken more as joke than serious.
“You heard people joke and say, ‘He looks like a school shooter,’” said Foutz, though she quickly added, “I’ve heard it said about other people.”
In Islamic terrorism, there’s a term ‘known wolves’. The people who are ticking time bombs are obvious. Really obvious.
Can anything be done about that? It’s a complicated question. The FBI has done a pretty good job of using entrapment to prevent Islamic terror attacks, but post-Columbine, school shooters rarely work in teams or turn to an outside organization, an equivalent of ISIS, for validation. 4chan and its various spinoffs are an obvious target and presumably there’s some law enforcement types monitoring it, but mass shooters rarely announce plans too far ahead of time. And entrapping teenagers who may or may not commit mass murder is tricky territory.
But it’s not as if we don’t know. It’s that we’re choosing not to act.