Mass Failing

By Matthew Hoch

Posted on

Ever since congress passed the bill mandating all school children and their teachers carry a firearm, performing mass shootings had become increasingly difficult. This known solution, the ubiquity of firearms, plagued the twenty-five-year-old Roger Walker. 

He sat in his jeep outside the Milton Karen Academy, which was a prestigious blue-ribbon school for grades kindergarten through high school. Roger held the cold, metallic semi-automatic that rested on his lap. Just last month, before the mandate, when he canvassed the school, it looked peaceful and easy. Now, it gave off the feeling of breaching a military base. He knew he had to stay clear of the gymnasium since it was turned into a shooting range when gym class was replaced with shooting class. 

He held his phone and watched his manifesto upload onto to YouTube, hoping it would stand out among the many new manifestos that popped up on a daily basis. And he really did put thought into it; he wanted to be remembered, not lost to the Internet. All the necessary boxes were checked—girls didn’t like him, he was shunned by his peers, he had anger inside he didn’t know how else to get out—and one new box added; one he hoped would give his video more posthumous views. The new box, one he hadn’t seen yet in the countless manifestos he’d watched, was that he was going to be doing God’s work, because if God wanted us to have guns, as they were told, He must also want them used. Roger was going to be a pioneer, a hero.

The afternoon was quiet. Birds flew across a blue sky; the green leaves of the trees swayed calmly with the breeze. All that could be heard were the peaceful, secure bangs coming from the new shooting range.

Roger took a deep breath. It was show time.

He exited the jeep and walked toward the school, wearing all black, including a black trench coat. His father’s doctor-recommended semi-automatic was clutched tightly in his hands. Roger stopped in front of the glass entrance door and stared at his reflection. His thin, pale face stared back. He looked into his brown, sunken eyes, and licked his heavily chapped lips. Today was the day. Today was his day.

He scrunched his hand around the handle of the front door and pulled it open. His feet, covered by black military boots, stomped into the carpeted lobby.

The place was silent. 

“Intruder! Intruder with a gun!” yelled a high school student.

 The student ran over to the stone wall and pressed the red mass-shooting alarm that was mandatory in all school lobbies. Quickly, she turned and pulled her handgun from its holster, and fired wildly. With the sound of gunshots, more students ran out to find the intruder.  Roger turned and placed his back on the other side of a wall near the entrance to shield him from their fire. 

Each gunshot gave birth to a new string of gunshots. The students and teachers didn’t know who or where Roger was but shot anytime they suspected they did. This symphony of bangs continued throughout the school for about two minutes.

A deafening silence followed. All that could be heard was the mass-shooting alarm crying for help.

After the silence lingered, Roger emerged from behind the wall. The floors and walls were stained with blood. He stood over a sea of deceased students and teachers.

Walking the quiet halls of the school, he saw more of the same. In a panicked frenzy, the teachers and students had fired their guns at any sound or movement, which resulted in the accidental slaughter of one another. Everyone was dead, and Roger hadn’t even gotten to pull his trigger. This wasn’t how he wanted to be remembered; this wasn’t how he wanted to take his life. 

Roger walked back to the entrance of the school and sat down on the stained carpet. The roar of police sirens could be heard approaching. Roger had messed up his life so badly; he couldn’t even execute a mass shooting, which others did on a daily basis, properly. 

Matthew Hoch