Shooter CorridorPosted: December 22, 2021
Perhaps you’ve seen this scene in Full Metal Jacket, where R. Lee Ermey’s drill sergeant connects Charles Whitman’s shooting spree from the UT Austin tower and Lee Harvey Oswald’s shooting of JFK to the training they received as Marines.
My mind did some pondering of these incidents as I drove on I-35, which connects the two sites of these incidents, Austin to Dallas.
Since my ultimate destination was Oklahoma City, my mind couldn’t help but turn to another former US military member who perpetuated a freakish, difficult to comprehend outburst of violence. Timothy McVeigh, a washed out failure from Army Ranger school with vague anti-government grievances bombed the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
McVeigh was obsessed with another violent American incident which happened along the route, the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, TX.
Along this route, you’ll also pass Killeen, Texas, where in 1991 there was a mass shooting at a Luby’s cafeteria. Up until that time it was the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in the USA (the Virginia Tech massacre would overtake it).
Killeen is home to Fort Hood. In 2009 a US army major and psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded 30 others in a mass shooting at Fort Hood. The Wikipedia page for that shooting has an amazing American detail:
Fort Hood, set to be renamed sometime in the future, is currently named after John Bell Hood, another renegade US soldier and dramatic personality with visions of violence, who once said to Sherman:
Better die a thousand deaths than submit to live under you or your Government and your Negro allies.
If you throw the site of the Alamo into the mix, I-35 really pops with scenes of strange fanatic American violence.
The big unmarked portion there in Oklahoma is of course the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, destination for the southeastern Indian removals, themselves an act of American violence, but perhaps beyond the scope of this post.
You could probably take any 400 mile stretch of American interstate and string together a few outbursts of historical violence, but I can’t help but observe this stretch of I-35 feels like an unusually haunted and scarred stretch of our national geopsyche.
Some excellent barbecue, steak and catfish can however be found.
Update: an Oklahoma reader sends us this one
Our suburb of Edmond is sadly another spot you could add to Shooter Corridor: the ‘86 post office shooting that inspired the phrase “going postal” happened here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmond_post_office_shooting