Tomorrow morning I am going to kill Mark Murphy. By the time you read this he will already be dead. I can imagine how crazy this is going to seem to you, so I’ll try my best to explain.
I didn’t plan on writing anything because I don’t want this to be about some “assassin’s manifesto,” something that would wind up on the internet and get misconstrued to justify things I would never want anything to do with. But as I walked here earlier, I realized that I should provide some sort of explanation. Because I know that if I don’t then others will do it for me anyway.
It feels kind of surreal to be sitting here on the second floor of this vacant, centuries-old warehouse. The exposed wooden rafters, brick walls, and large windows with a view of the bridge would’ve been well suited for a cocktail bar ten years ago. Instead I’m sitting here alone, next to this hunting rifle I bought at a gun show in Kenner. I’m trying to avoid the summer sun coming through the window, and the family of mice that keep scurrying back and forth. I’m trying to stay focused on what I’m going to do, and not think about my mother and the grief she is about to bear.
But how many grieving mothers are there about to be? American mothers and Chinese mothers and mothers in countries caught in the middle, all mourning the loss of their children who were sent to fight and kill one another? The potential suffering that is just beginning to break the horizon and enter the realm of certainty is terrifying. And it’s not hyperbole to say that millions, or tens or hundreds of millions, of people could die. Death and destruction on an untold scale is racing toward us, Mike.
It’s hard for us to admit that this impending disaster is real because our bubble had felt so damn comfortable and safe. It made life easy to bear. The smoke we saw on the horizon from our office window was in a poor Black neighborhood. The violence occurring there didn’t concern us. The Asian man who was beaten in Metairie was the victim of some redneck in a MAGA hat. But that didn’t concern us either. Things would get worked out, we thought.
We all wanted to stick our heads in the sand while the fissures in society kept getting deeper. We wanted to return to normal. But there’s no normal for us to return to. We aren’t going back to anything. We’re only going forward toward the dark, barren future of a crumbling empire that has been rotting from within and is desperately seeking to reassert itself once more lest it completely fall apart.
And I know what you’re going to say: “Things aren’t that bad.” You’ll tell me I’m overreacting. You did so for years. But now, Mike? I expect that from the others we work with, but I expect more from you.
We’ve passed the point of midterm elections or some circuit judge’s ruling making any sort of difference. As we cheered those minor victories over the years, extremists were staging a well-conceived and executed coup in our major institutions. And now they’re leading us to war.
It’s not hard to see who these people are once you start to look. But that’s the genius of their ideology. We aren’t supposed to look. We’re supposed to look at advertisements and buy things. We’re supposed to look at the news and get outraged by some politically incorrect statement made by some politically incorrect politician. We’re supposed to look at the new reality television show and laugh at how outlandish it is. But we’re not supposed to look at how our country is being run by men who believe in only the will to power. Men who use capitalism, and Jesus, and democracy as cloaks to disguise their true ideology: nihilistic consumerism. An ideology that believes in nothing but the need to keep consuming in ever-increasing amounts, at the expense of everything else. These men have hijacked our society. Men who desire nothing but the acquisition of more power and wealth. In their ideology, the more power and wealth one has the more intrinsic worth one has. These men lie and deceive with a casual ease because they don’t believe in anything. There are no rules, morals, or ethics. There is only power. The consumption of these men is bound by nothing—not by a compassionate god, nor by an a priori ethics, nor by legal constraint. They consume without regard for consequence. If there is something they cannot buy then they take it by force. They rape flesh as easily as they rape nations. Many will proclaim Jesus as they do so, because in their ideology actions don’t matter. What matters is a proclamation of Christ and a rabid belief in their own chosen divinity. The fact that they are in a position of power, and have proclaimed Jesus, is all the evidence required to indicate their privileged status. In a cynical repurposing of Nietzsche's critique of Christianity, these men have cast aside the Jesus who sides with the meek and have instead recast him as a mascot to the rich and powerful as a way to legitimize their rule. And some of these men actually believe the tenet that: “If I say I’m Christian and accept Jesus, then I can rape, pillage, and plunder and I am saved; I am chosen.”
Not all the nihilists in positions of power feel the need to utilize Jesus. The usage of Christianity typically depends on where the nihilist is from and the associated culture there. Others can use labels such as technologist, capitalist, or entrepreneurial genius to justify their actions and whatever the consequences of those actions may be. And they claim the right not to be judged. Just as if we are not one of those chosen by God we cannot judge those who are, so those of us who are not master capitalists can never judge the unmitigated success of these men. These men who eagerly adopt the aura of messianic figures. And for those who so desperately need someone, and something, to believe in, these men with MBAs from Stanford, having raised venture capital for their high-growth start-ups, become their new saviors as they dedicate themselves to their companies, their visions, and their ethos and edicts.
Note: I’d like to add that I’m going to refer to these proponents of nihilistic consumerism in the masculine primarily because I feel as though it’s accurate. Of course, there are plenty of women who are adherents of, and advocates for, this ideology. However, the captains of industry who are intentionally guiding our society toward a libertarian hellscape to further serve their own greed are, at the present time, predominantly men. Much to the chagrin of a segment of feminists who, instead of questioning the validity of this perverse ideology, question only why it is not more gender equal.
I had a panic attack a few months ago. I never told anyone; I don’t feel
comfortable exposing that sort of weakness. I was sitting at the desk in my cubicle, a clichéd Mike Judge moment—with the fluorescent lights beating down on me, the company’s inane slogans draped on the walls, people moving with quick steps in a rush to complete inconsequential tasks—and the room started to spin. For the longest time, I couldn’t move as I tried to calm myself down. A coworker asked me something, but I couldn’t respond. Some of the others got up to stare at me. At least I think they did. I knew I had to get out of there. I forced myself out of the chair and stumbled to the bathroom. I lay in a fetal position on the floor for half an hour.
I decided as I lay there that I didn’t want to live like that. Like some loser who was unable to handle it. But what was it that I was unable to handle? What was so difficult about this anyway? Thousands of people in this city can’t even pay their bills, and they struggle to take care of their kids. What’s my stress compared to that? I live in a new condo. I’ve got a big-screen television and high-speed internet and unlimited data on my cell phone. My company matches my 401(k) contributions, and I get two weeks of paid vacation and good health insurance. So then what do I have to cry about? But is that it? Is that all there is? Make some money, live comfortably, buy shit you don’t need and then die?
And yes, of course I realize how clichéd my existential crisis was. But what matters is not the existential crisis; what matters is what results from it.
I’m wary of, and self-conscious about, becoming another white guy with a “revelation” who decides to take things into his own hands by shooting someone. But I think what separates me from the other straight white guys who have committed heinous acts because of their “revelations” is that I’m not killing because I hate. I’m killing because I love.
I’m not sitting here because I hate anyone. I’m sitting here because I love people. I love those innocent kids who just want a chance at life. I don’t care what their race or sexual orientation is. Whoever they are, I’m killing for them. And I’m dying for them too. Because I intend to die tomorrow. A life for a life only seems fair to me. If I were to kill for my “belief,” and to go on killing, then I’d be making an implicit statement that my beliefs were above human life. That I must kill in order to fulfill my vision. That my revolution is bound by the blood of others, which I must take until I achieve my ultimate end. But I have no revolution. I seek no end. I’m just a rebel who’s standing up and saying no. And by doing so I’m prepared to take a life and to give mine. In the hope that these two deaths can make some positive impact on our society and with the consequence being, in the end, fewer lives being lost to these extremists and their nihilist agenda.