The Last Straw: Chapter Two

It was surprisingly easy to slip into the Los Angeles high school. Within minutes, Clyde found the floor, walked into the class, saw the girl in the front row, aimed, and fired two shots in her chest. She went down. Everyone screamed. Students dove to the floor. But less than two minutes later, his mask was off, he was in civilian clothes, and he was out of the building.

“A fifteen-year-old girl was shot at a local high school just an hour ago,” the reporter explained. “She was taken to a hospital, but died shortly after. The suspect was seen wearing a paintball mask and black kevlar, but was gone from the scene after the gunfire broke out. No word yet on the shooter’s motive, but reports have come in stating that the student was Jennifer Henderson, the oldest daughter of Senator William Henderson.”

Clyde listened from the bar, lifting his glass of bourbon to his lips, and counting down from five.

There was a fizzle of white noise then the report was replaced with Clyde’s video. He was in another mask, but this time the mask was of another man’s face. The other customers at the bar suddenly murmured and cursed in confusion.

“You’re probably wondering what’s happening,” Clyde said on the screen. “You’re very well aware of the shooting epidemic in our country. Nothing we have done thus far has alleviated it. Until now.”

“What is this?” a man in a Yankees cap said next to Clyde. “This some kinda joke?”
“You gotta be kidding me,” a brunette woman said next to him. “What now?”

“In 1980, there was a fire in a Las Vegas hotel,” Clyde continued. “85 people died. My wife was one of them. Months later, 5 people died in a fire at a Hilton Hotel. Shortly thereafter, the fire safety codes were changed and this never happened again.

“In 1999, two boys opened fire on Columbine High School. 13 people were killed. My daughter was one of them. Three months later, a man killed 12 people in Georgia including his wife and children. And since that year, over 25 fatal shootings have broken out across the country. Nothing has changed.”

“If this is some kinda stupid anti-gun commercial, I’m gonna shoot somebody,” the man in the cap scoffed.

“We forgave Dylan Roof and Omar Marteen killed 49 people in Orlando. We killed him and Stephen Paddock killed 58 in Las Vegas. He killed himself and Devin Kelley killed 25 in Sutherland Springs. Nothing we have done has been enough. It’s time for something different.”

“Gimme a break,” the man muttered.
“Shut up,” said the brunette. “We’re tryin’ to listen here!”
“It’s a load of bull!” another man in the back shouted. “That kid was a lunatic and everybody knows it. He should get locked up in a crazy house with the rest of these whacked out shooters.”
“That’s what I’m sayin’,” said Yankees cap.
Clyde took another sip of his bourbon without a word.

“What I want is very simple,” the video continued. “56 of your senators voted against extensive background checks on individuals trying to purchase guns. This message is for you, senators. I understand the right to bear arms to defend oneself. I understand the desire to use guns for show and for sport. But we have long since proven that we cannot handle this privilege. So this is what I want. Ban the purchase of any rifle by any citizen in this country. Or I will kill all of your loved ones one by one. With the very weapons you refuse to ban. You have one month.”

And with that, the video fizzled off and was replaced by a very confused news reporter.
The Yankees cap let out a string of curses at the screen. “He killed that girl?! He killed her?!”
Other customers joined in, spewing their opinions everywhere they could.
“This maniac needs to get shot,” one man said.
“But he’s got a point,” said the brunette. “Something’s gotta change.”
“So killing little girls is the answer?”
“No, but…somebody needs to do something.”
“Yeah! Lock these crazies up! Don’t take our guns!”
The brunette struggled, looking for some support from other customers. “People are dying and you’re worried about your toys?”
“How are we supposed to protect ourselves from another one of these psychos?” said Yankees. “The only thing to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

“And that’s a bad guy!” another customer pointed at the screen. “He killed a senator’s daughter. To prove a point. That’s terrorism.”
Other customers shouted in agreement.
Yankees slammed his glass on the counter and shook his head. “I hope they take him down. ASAP.”

Clyde took a sip of his bourbon then stood and left the bar. Hopefully the senators would be more understanding. Because if they weren’t, this was only the beginning.

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