By Chris Lane
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A&M Killer: Yoda, Emily Dickinson Fan.
John Nova Lomax
The mother of Thomas Caffall, who killed two people including a constable, and wounded four more, in College Station, told the media that she had been worried about her son's mental state, and from looking at his Facebook page it's easy to see why. Having a right-wing gun nut in the family is one thing. Having one who goes around quoting Yoda and Emily Dickinson is another.
Caffall joined Facebook a little less than two years ago, when he was apparently living in Temple, and used his first post to gloat on the Baylor Bears' 2010 gridiron victory over the Texas Longhorns. (As an Aggie, this was an "enemy of my enemy is my friend" deal.)
And then it was straight into what appears to be his most abiding love: East Bloc weaponry.
His next post was a link to a Fox News article about a Florida car dealership that threw in a free AK-47 for every new truck purchase: "anyone looking for a new car needs to read this!" Caffall noted, and then liked his own post.
In November of 2010, after a couple of trivial posts about washing shit off his beloved dog and the greatness of his own homemade buffalo wings, and after posting his now-infamous smirking head shot, Caffall waxed intellectual and trotted out some words of wisdom from Edmund Burke, Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill.
Caffall grew sentimental around Christmas and exhorted his friends to repost some mush about friendship. He also posted another saluting America's heroic war dead.
And so the year ended, but not before he had liked both Bristol and Sarah Palin, pistol-makers Beretta, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, the Tea Party Patriots and a group battling for repeal of Obamacare. (He later shifted his presidential allegiance to Michele Bachmann; coincidentally, the cop he killed shared that last name.)
Caffall was also a NASCAR fan, but his taste in music was less suspect. Save for a love of KISS and Ted Nugent, Caffall was on-point: He was a fan of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, White Stripes, Jimi Hendrix, ABBA and the Violent Femmes. (Okay, that last one's a little creepy in this context. We're shivering while imagining Caffall really digging Gordon Gano wailing out the über-chilling "Country Death Song.")
In 2011 Caffall moved to College Station and his gun fetish kicked into high gear, starting with the purchase of a huge Soviet Red Army carbine. Caffall noted that if he fixed the bayonet, the rifle was almost as tall as he was. He also bought two boxes of ammo and told the world he would be at the firing range as much as he could. He later lovingly burnished the stock of this rifle with pine tar and used the finished product as his profile pic.
Last June, Caffall proudly showed off another new purchase: a Czech assault rifle.
For such a red-ass patriot, he sure seemed to have a thing for Commie weaponry. And then there was his love of George Orwell. He quoted the ardently socialist Brit twice: "In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act," and more ominously, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
Alongside Orwell in Caffall's twisted pantheon of sages was Yoda. Yes, Yoda, whose "Do or do not. There is no try." Caffall quoted alongside Orwell, Churchill and his own words of pseudo-wisdom: "If you feed the bears, they come back."
But it's those lines from Emily Dickinson Caffall very prominently quoted that seem most disquieting. "There is a languor to the life more imminent than pain 'tis pain's successor when the soul has suffered all it can."
Something about a gun-crazed soul so desolate as to take those words so deeply to heart makes this whole tragedy seem foreordained.
"Hide the gun" helps cops.
A wild and woolly rural chase over some road hunting ended with one of the simpler investigations the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has likely had to conduct.
TPWD says wardens received a call about possible road hunting going on near Red River and Bowie counties. (Urbanites: Road-hunting is a no-no.)
This being rural Texas, with a man's wildlife at stake, steps were taken beyond just calling the wardens: "The property owner and his wife were outside at the time and after hearing shots, the husband, who had been drinking, jumped into his vehicle and began to chase the hunters. While in pursuit, in an attempt to stop the hunters, the man began shooting a pistol out of his window."
Unfortunately, the driver rammed the hunters' vehicle, flipped and suffered serious injuries.
Unfortunately for the road-hunters, things didn't end there, TPWD says:
The hunters had called 911 to report they were being shot at. When wardens contacted the suspected road hunters, they denied having weapons and shooting at anything. Unaware that their 911 call had not been dropped as they believed, in the background officials could clearly hear someone say, "Hide the gun in them woods" and "Not that far, we're gonna come back and get it tonight."
Alas, such sophisticated plans were foiled.
The three hunters were found to be involved with multiple illegal shootings and burglaries. They face 24 various charges.
"Meanwhile," TPWD says, "the overzealous property owner was filed on for DWI and deadly conduct."