He didn’t really live in Uvalde

He lived in an online world. It’s a world where rage displays enhance your status. But of course your rage displays must be public. This is the exoplanet of selfie videos where the nobility can go into ecstatic rage and personal attacks , that have “the character of performance art”. A fantasy upper-class. Online contempt for the peasants, whoever they are. The street addresses are arcane and the living is cheap.

The news reports tell you about his mother, perhaps a drug addict, his grandfather, a felon, his real dad, long rap sheet, his mom’s boyfriend, more rap sheets, show photographs of their houses and photographs of Uvalde but he didn’t really live there. He lived in a country of shooter-games where fury is fashionable and he could dress himself in the invisible bling of anger chic. He was inarticulate but he knew all the acronyms; irl, idk,wtf. They say he didn’t have any friends.

He did. But they didn’t live in Uvalde either. They lived in the virtual nightmare city behind keyboard barriers.

Reporters are looking in the wrong places for his address, his high school, his workplace. He lived in another country. Online he was Napoleonic. Online was colorful and active. Friends. Enemies. Murderous beings that would never really kill you. Arrogance a virtue.

He didn’t really live in Uvalde but in the country of Fallout and Dead by Daylight and Call of Duty and Half-Lite2. A world of personal display and ego. He posted a video of himself screaming at his mom on Instagram. He posted Tik-Tok videos of himself punching the air, shooting. He was on Facebook too and the notorious Yubo. When he lost on Dead by Daylight he went into one of the spectacular rages of the on-line smart set as most narcissists do when they’re thwarted in any way, saying “I’m going to shoot up a school and it’s all your fault.”

It’s the new aristocracy. One can’t just go into a rage in the kitchen all by oneself. There’d be nobody to see it. The truly privileged used to be of the great, the few, the marvelous who had a venue in which to do their rage displays. One had to have a television show or a newspaper column. However, the Internet has democratized the whole thing and now anybody can live-stream shooting up a grocery store in Buffalo if one is insane enough or gluttonous for self-importance. Anybody can post videos on Instagram of themselves in a “uncontrollable” rage at their mother. Then you become hyperhuman and absolutely global and you are a pixel person and join the other divine or demonic images on the glowing screen. Status greed and narcissism have, one must admit, their evil and seductive appeal. To the weak. The damaged.

No, he didn’t live in Uvalde.

May they rest in eternal peace.