My good friend Liston Matthews of Goodhill Press reminded me of a story by Matt Bracken. It is part of Bracken’s The Bracken Collection: Essays and Short Fiction 2010 to 2019.
The story entitled, “Professor Raoul X”, involves a seemingly non-descript sociology professor at a school in the Midwest. He is described as a life-long bachelor who has a secret life. That secret life is as the “guiding hand” to deranged young men. He finds them through classroom discussions where he encourages his own students to tell him about “the weirdest people they’ve ever known.” The good professor then seeks them out and lends them a receptive ear eventually guiding them towards committing unspeakable acts of violence.
He doesn’t really care what is the focus of the young man’s hate. It could be capitalism, socialism, nationalism, or any other ism. As he notes that “generalized mayhem is also a worthy end in itself.”
What brought this story to Liston’s mind and thence to mine was the murderous rampage in Highland Park, Illinois by a young, deranged man. He would fit right in as a subject of Professor Raoul X’s “guiding hand”. I read the story a few years ago and it really came back to me.
I am not saying there was any sort of conspiracy involved in Highland Park. However, the line between fiction and reality is certainly blurred. The coincidences are there. Young man, check; loner, check; mental issues, check; and the list goes on.
If you have not read Bracken’s anthology, I would urge you to read it. It is $3.99 to buy or free with Kindle Unlimited subscription. There are a lot of other good stories in it as well as some very practical instruction. For example, his instructions on how to make duplexed AR mags is quite useful. I have a couple I made myself and they work well. A Magpul drum mag is over $100. You can get 60 rounds here for the price of two GI mags, some duct tape, and a pencil.