Chapter 16

Skinwalkers

The following three paragraphs are direct quotes from the book Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger, May 2016, page numbers added for reference.

113
The
ultimate act of disaffiliation isn’t littering or fraud, of course, but violence against your own people. When the Navajo Nation—the Diné, in their language—were rounded up and confined to a reservation in the 1860s, a terrifying phenomenon became more prominent in their culture. The warrior skills that had protected the Diné for thousands of years were no longer relevant in this dismal new era, and people worried that those same skills would now be turned inward, against society. That strengthened their belief in what were known as skinwalkers, or yee naaldlooshii.


Skinwalkers were almost always male and wore the pelt of a sacred animal so that they could subvert that animal’s powers to kill people in the community. They could travel impossibly fast across the desert and their eyes glowed like coals and they could supposedly paralyze you with a single look. They were thought to attack remote homesteads at night and kill people and sometimes eat their bodies. People were still scared of skinwalkers when I lived on the Navajo Reservation in 1983, and frankly, by the time I left, I was too.

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Virtually every culture in the world has its version of the skinwalker myth. In Europe, for example, they are called werewolves (literally “man-wolf” in Old English). The myth addresses a fundamental fear in human society: that you can defend against external enemies but still remain vulnerable to one lone madman in your midst. Anglo-American culture doesn’t recognize the skinwalker threat but has its own version. Starting in the early 1980s, the frequency of rampage shootings in the United States began to rise more and more rapidly until it doubled around 2006. Rampages are usually defined as attacks where people are randomly targeted and four or more are killed in one place, usually shot to death by a lone gunman. As such, those crimes conform almost exactly to the kind of threat that the Navajo seemed most to fear on the reservation: murder and mayhem committed by an individual who has rejected all social bonds and attacks people at their most vulnerable and unprepared. For modern society, that would mean not in their log hogans but in movie theaters, schools, shopping malls, places of worship, or simply walking down the street.

 

Data from the Congressional Research Service, known as Congress's think tank, describes mass shootings as those in which shooters select victims somewhat indiscriminately with four or more shot and killed in one incident, excluding the perpetrators, at a public place, excluding gang-related killings and those done with a profit-motive.

Below is a list of skinwalkers, and their shooting rampages in the USA over the last 30 years. Note that from 1990 through 1999 there were 8 mass shootings; from 2000 through 2009 there were 9; from 2010 through 2019 there were 37. Why does it appear that over the last 10 years our society is generating a sharp increase in skinwalkers, individuals committing murder and mayhem who have rejected almost all social bonds and attack people at their most vulnerable and unprepared?  Perhaps it is because, as Junger stated, this “shows how completely detribalized this country has become.” Our neurological genetic predisposition, the tribal and warrior ethos, all for 1 and 1 for all, is no longer relevant in modern life. As individuals in society it appears we are now very far from our evolutionary roots.


August 31, 2019: 8 killed, Midland–Odessa, Texas
Eight people were killed, including the perpetrator, and 25 were wounded when a gunman opened fire on police and civilians after fleeing from a traffic stop.


August 4, 2019: 9 killed, Dayton, Ohio
Nine people were killed and 16 injured in a bar. Shooter shot by police.


August 3, 2019, 20 killed, El Paso, Texas
20 people were killed and 26 were injured at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall. Suspect was taken into custody.


July 28, 2019, 4 killed, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
A gunman shot six people, four fatally, before killing himself.


July 28, 2019, 4 killed, Gilroy, California
Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting: Sixteen people were shot, four fatally, including a gunman and two children.


July 25, 2019, 4 killed, Los Angeles, California
A man killed four people, including his father and brother, and wounded two more at a total of four different crime scenes across the San Fernando Valley.


June 8, 2019, 5 killed, White Swan, Washington
Five people were killed after the perpetrator opened fire on the Yakama Indian Reservation.


May 31, 2019, 12 killed, Virginia Beach, Virginia
A gunman killed 12 people and injured four others at a city public works building. The gunman died at the scene after being shot by police.


February 15, 2019, 5 killed, Aurora, Illinois
A man opened fire in his workplace, killing five employees, and injuring five police officers and a civilian before being killed by police.

January 26, 2019, 5 killed, Ascension Parish and Livingston Parish, Louisiana
A 21-year-old man killed five people, including his parents, in two parishes in Louisiana.[248] The suspect fled to Virginia and was arrested the next day.


October 27, 2018, 11 killed, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A man opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue in an antisemitic attack, killing eleven people and injuring six others (including four police officers). The suspect was taken into custody by police.


June 28, 2018, 5 killed, Annapolis, Maryland
A gunman entered the offices of The Capital Gazette and killed five employees and wounded two others.


May 30–June 4, 201, 6 killed, Scottsdale, Arizona
Over the course of several days, a man killed a forensic psychologist, two paralegals, a counselor, and a couple from whom he took a handgun. The suspect killed himself when police began closing in on him.[239][240]


May 18, 2018: 10 killed, Santa Fe, Texas
A student at Santa Fe High School shot and killed ten people and wounded fourteen others. Explosive devises were also found, but they were not detonated. The suspect was taken into custody by police.[246]


April 22, 2018: 6 killed, Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville Waffle House shooting: A gunman entered a Waffle House, where he killed four people and injured two others. He was later taken into custody.


February 14, 2018: 17 killed, Parkland Fla.
A former student unleashed a hail of gunfire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, killing 17 adults and children. The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was expelled from the school for unspecified disciplinary reasons.


November 14, 2017: 5 killed, Rancho Tehama Reserve, Calif
Rampaging through a small Northern California town, a gunman took aim on Tuesday at people at an elementary school and several other locations, killing four and wounding at least 10 before he was fatally shot by police, the local sheriff’s office said. The gunman had earlier shot his wife.


November 5, 2017: 6 killed, Sutherland Springs, Texas
Devin Patrick Kelley carried out the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history on Sunday, killing 5 people and an unborn child at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, near San Antonio.




October 1, 2017: 58 killed, more than 500 injured: Las Vegas
More than 50 people were killed and at least 500 others injured when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said. Police said the suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nev., was was found dead after a SWAT team burst into the hotel room from which he was firing at the crowd.

 

Jan. 6, 2017: 5 killed, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
After taking a flight to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, a man retrieves a gun from his luggage in baggage claim, loads it and opens fire, killing five people near a baggage carousel and wounding six others. Dozens more are injured in the ensuing panic. Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran from Anchorage, Alaska, has pleaded not guilty to 22 federal charges.

 

May 28, 2017: 8 killed, Lincoln County, Miss.
A Mississippi man went on a shooting spree overnight, killing a sheriff's deputy and seven other people in three separate locations in rural Lincoln County before the suspect was taken into custody by police, authorities said on Sunday.

 

Sept. 23, 2016: 5 killed: Burlington, Wash.
A gunman enters the cosmetics area of a Macy’s store near Seattle and fatally shoots an employee and four shoppers at close range. Authorities say Arcan Cetin, a 20-year-old fast-food worker, used a semi-automatic Ruger .22 rifle that he stole from his stepfather’s closet.

 

June 12, 2016: 49 killed, 58 injured in Orlando nightclub shooting
The United States suffered one of the worst mass shootings in its modern history when 49 people were killed and 58 injured in Orlando, Fla., after a gunman stormed into a packed gay nightclub. The gunman was killed by a SWAT team after taking hostages at Pulse, a popular gay club. He was preliminarily identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen.

 

Dec. 2, 2015: 14 killed, 22 injured: San Bernardino, Calif.
Two assailants killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in a shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. The two attackers, who were married, were killed in a gun battle with police. They were U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and Pakistan national Tashfeen Malik, and had an arsenal of ammunition and pipe bombs in their Redlands home.

 

Nov. 29, 2015: 3 killed, 9 injured: Colorado Springs, Colo.
A gunman entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., and started firing. Police named Robert Lewis Dear as the suspect in the attacks.

 

Oct. 1, 2015: 9 killed, 9 injured: Roseburg, Ore.
Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shot and killed eight fellow students and a teacher at Umpqua Community College. Authorities described Harper-Mercer, who recently had moved to Oregon from Southern California, as a “hate-filled” individual with anti-religion and white supremacist leanings who had long struggled with mental health issues.

 

July 16, 2015: 5 killed, 3 injured: Chattanooga, Tenn.
A gunman opened fire on two military centers more than seven miles apart, killing four Marines and a Navy sailor. A man identified by federal authorities as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, sprayed dozens of bullets at a military recruiting center, then drove to a Navy-Marine training facility and opened fire again before he was killed.

 

June 18, 2015: 9 killed: Charleston, S.C.
Dylann Storm Roof is charged with nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder in an attack that killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. Authorities say Roof, a suspected white supremacist, started firing on a group gathered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after first praying with them. He fled authorities before being arrested in North Carolina.

 

May 23, 2014: 6 killed, 7 injured: Isla Vista, Calif.
Elliot Rodger, 22, meticulously planned his deadly attack on the Isla Vista community for more than a year, spending thousands of dollars in order to arm and train himself to kill as many people as possible, according to a report released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Rodger killed six people before shooting himself.

 


April 2, 2014: 3 killed; 16 injured: Ft. Hood, Texas
A gunman at Fort Hood, the scene of a deadly 2009 rampage, kills three people and injures 16 others, according to military officials. The gunman is dead at the scene.

 

Sept. 16, 2013: 12 killed, 3 injured: Washington, D.C.
Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor and former Navy enlisted man, shoots and kills 12 people and engages police in a running firefight through the sprawling Washington Navy Yard. He is shot and killed by authorities.

 

June 7, 2013: 5 killed: Santa Monica
John Zawahri, an unemployed 23-year-old, kills five people in an attack that starts at his father’s home and ends at Santa Monica College, where he is fatally shot by police in the school’s library.

 


Dec. 14, 2012: 27 killed, one injured: Newtown, Conn.A gunman forces his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and shoots and kills 20 first graders and six adults. The shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, kills himself at the scene. Lanza also killed his mother at the home they shared, prior to his shooting rampage.

 

Aug. 5, 2012: 6 killed, 3 injured: Oak Creek, Wis.
Wade Michael Page fatally shoots six people at a Sikh temple before he is shot by a police officer. Page, an Army veteran who was a “psychological operations specialist,” committed suicide after he was wounded. Page was a member of a white supremacist band called End Apathy and his views led federal officials to treat the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

 

July 20, 2012: 12 killed, 58 injured: Aurora, Colo.
James Holmes, 24, is taken into custody in the parking lot outside the Century 16 movie theater after a post-midnight attack in Aurora, Colo. Holmes allegedly entered the theater through an exit door about half an hour into the local premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

 

April 2, 2012: 7 killed, 3 injured: Oakland
One L. Goh, 43, a former student at a Oikos University, a small Christian college, allegedly opens fire in the middle of a classroom leaving seven people dead and three wounded.


Jan. 8, 2011: 6 killed, 11 injured: Tucson, Ariz
Jared Lee Loughner, 22, allegedly shoots Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head during a meet-and-greet with constituents at a Tucson supermarket. Six people are killed and 11 others wounded.

 

Nov. 5, 2009: 13 killed, 32 injured: Ft. Hood, Texas
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, allegedly shoots and kills 13 people and injures 32 others in a rampage at Ft. Hood, where he is based. Authorities allege that Hasan was exchanging emails with Muslim extremists including American-born radical Anwar Awlaki.

 

April 3, 2009: 13 killed, 4 injured: Binghamton, N.Y.
Jiverly Voong, 41, shoots and kills 13 people and seriously wounds four others before apparently committing suicide at the American Civic Assn., an immigration services center, in Binghamton, N.Y.

 

Feb. 14, 2008: 5 killed, 16 injured: Dekalb, Ill.
Steven Kazmierczak, dressed all in black, steps on stage in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opens fire on a geology class. Five students are killed and 16 wounded before Kazmierczak kills himself on the lecture hall stage.

 

Dec. 5, 2007: 8 killed, 4 injured: Omaha
Robert Hawkins, 19, sprays an Omaha shopping mall with gunfire as holiday shoppers scatter in terror. He kills eight people and wounds four others before taking his own life. Authorities report he left several suicide notes.

 

April 16, 2007: 32 killed, 17 injured: Blacksburg, Va.
Seung-hui Cho, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech senior, opens fire on campus, killing 32 people in a dorm and an academic building in attacks more than two hours apart. Cho takes his life after the second incident.

 

 Feb. 12, 2007: 5 killed, 4 injured: Salt Lake City
Sulejman Talovic, 18, wearing a trenchcoat and carrying a shotgun, sprays a popular Salt Lake City shopping mall. Witnesses say he displays no emotion while killing five people and wounding four others.

 

Oct. 2, 2006: 5 killed, 5 injured: Nickel Mines, Pa.
Charles Carl Roberts IV, a milk truck driver armed with a small arsenal, bursts into a one-room schoolhouse and kills five Amish girls. He kills himself as police storm the building.

 

July 8, 2003: 5 killed, 9 injured: Meridian, Miss.
Doug Williams, 48, a production assemblyman for 19 years at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., goes on a rampage at the defense plant, fatally shooting five and wounding nine before taking his own life with a shotgun.

 

Dec. 26, 2000: 7 killed: Wakefield, Mass.
Michael McDermott, a 42-year-old software tester shoots and kills seven co-workers at the Internet consulting firm where he is employed. McDermott, who is arrested at the offices of Edgewater Technology Inc., apparently was enraged because his salary was about to be garnished to satisfy tax claims by the Internal Revenue Service. He uses three weapons in his attack.

 

Sept. 15, 1999: 7 killed, 7 injured: Fort Worth
Larry Gene Ashbrook opens fire inside the crowded chapel of the Wedgwood Baptist Church. Worshipers, thinking at first that it must be a prank, keep singing. But when they realize what is happening, they dive to the floor and scrunch under pews, terrified and silent as the gunfire continues. Seven people are killed before Ashbrook takes his own life.

 

April 20, 1999: 13 killed, 24 injured: Columbine, Colo.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, students at Columbine High, open fire at the school, killing a dozen students and a teacher and causing injury to two dozen others before taking their own lives.

 

March 24, 1998: 5 killed, 10 injured: Jonesboro, Ark.
Middle school students Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden pull a fire alarm at their school in a small rural Arkansas community and then open fire on students and teachers using an arsenal they had stashed in the nearby woods. Four students and a teacher who tried shield the children are killed and 10 others are injured. Because of their ages, Mitchell. 13, and Andrew, 11, are sentenced to confinement in a juvenile facility until they turn 21.

 

Dec. 7, 1993: 6 killed, 19 injured: Garden City, N.Y.
Colin Ferguson shoots and kills six passengers and wounds 19 others on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train before being stopped by other riders. Ferguson is later sentenced to life in prison.

 

July 1, 1993: 8 killed, 6 injured: San Francisco
Gian Luigi Ferri, 55, kills eight people in an office building in San Francisco’s financial district. His rampage begins in the 34th-floor offices of Pettit & Martin, an international law firm, and ends in a stairwell between the 29th and 30th floors where he encounters police and shoots himself.

 

May 1, 1992: 4 killed, 10 injured: Olivehurst, Calif.
Eric Houston, a 20-year-old unemployed computer assembler, invades Lindhurst High School and opens fire, killing his former teacher Robert Brens and three students and wounding 10 others.

 

Oct. 16, 1991: 22 killed, 20 injured: Killeen, Texas
George Jo Hennard, 35, crashes his pickup truck in­to a Luby’s cafet­er­ia crowded with lunch­time pat­rons and be­gins firing indiscriminately with a semi­auto­mat­ic pistol, killing 22 people. Hennard is later found dead of a gun­shot wound in a res­taur­ant restroom.

 

June 18, 1990: 10 killed, 4 injured: Jacksonville, Fla.
James E. Pough, a 42-year-old day laborer apparently distraught over the repossession of his car, walks into the offices of General Motors Acceptance Corp. and opens fire, killing seven employees and one customer before fatally shooting himself.


Jan. 17, 1989: 5 killed, 29 injured: Stockton, Calif.
Patrick Edward Purdy turns a powerful assault rifle on a crowded school playground, killing five children and wounding 29 more. Purdy, who also killed himself, had been a student at the school from kindergarten through third grade.Police officials described Purdy as a troubled drifter in his mid-20s with a history of relatively minor brushes with the law. The midday attack lasted only minutes.

 

July 18, 1984: 21 killed, 19 injured: San Ysidro, Calif.
James Oliver Huberty, a 41-year-old out-of-work security guard, kills 21 employees and customers at a McDonald’s restaurant. Huberty is fatally shot by a police sniper perched on the roof of a nearby post office.

 

Sources:

Deadliest U.S. mass shootings, 1984-2017, http://timelines.latimes.com/deadliest-shooting-rampages

Wikipedia