Aftermath: Part Two of Our Look At Guns, Mental Illness and Colorado

Another casualty in the American Mental Health Epidemic

[Note: Hi, if you stumbled upon this post and haven't read Part One, best to start there. Thx, the Editors]

It was only our fellow analyst, Chadsworth, thank god.

I told him to close the fucking door and lock it and hadn’t he heard the gunshots and where was everybody?

They’d heard loud noises downstairs but it was muffled to an extent that it wasn’t clear what it was and nobody was unduly bothered by it. The training had ended early and the others would be up shortly.

“OH GOD THEY’RE ALL SITTING DUCKS FOR THE KILLER SILENTLY STALKING THE FIRST FLOOR!!”, I said. Or something like that, but less comprehensible, probably.

At that point Chadsworth may or may not have had growing concerns about my mental health in addition to his own reaction to rumors of a shooter that were as yet unsubstantiated.

However, the old boy had somehow failed to notice the lifeless body of a man not twenty feet from that door, in front of the entrance to the makeshift Governor’s Office. The man was dressed in a tuxedo and lying on his back, his head partially submerged in a growing pool of warm blood. It was not long after this that it became clear that there was no longer any danger. The Chief of Staff popped in to let us know that someone had tried to attack the Governor but had been shot, fatally, by the State Patrol. The office was closed and we were all to go home.

It is an odd thing to see your place of work on the front page of CNN and to start sending out calls and text messages to loved ones to let them know you’re not dead (yet). But the national news networks were on it in a flash, and my own recounting of the day’s events to a friend who worked in online publishing, a certain Magic Sam, found its way to the top of the online search results within an hour. I wasn’t happy that I had blabbed to the media outside of the well established Governor’s Office Protocol, and in the all-staff meetings in the coming days the Governor’s press director Evan’s strong suggestions against making unauthorized statements to the media made me want to dig a hole and crawl into it.

That’s about all I remember of that incident and the immediate aftermath. It seems like eons ago, but time goes slow when you work in state government. So much has happened since then, I wonder if anyone remembers it. I’m sure Officer Jay does, having found out the hard way that he’s one of the few who can keep his cool (and his aim) in a gun fight. And poor Jamie, the young associate at the front desk of the Governor’s Office who was scared half to death by the tuxedoed man’s bizarre claims that he was The Emperor and had come to depose Governor Ritter and claim what was rightfully his.

Aaron Richard Snyder was an engineer and the 1992 co-valedictorian of Horizon High School in Thornton, Colorado just north of Denver. He was 32 years old when, on a warm Monday morning in July, he walked out of his engineering internship in Fort Collins, rented a tuxedo, and went off to Denver to assassinate the Governor.

Though it pains me to link to the Denver Post, that tabloid publication has the best summary I’ve found about Aaron’s life and how it went from good, to bad, to maybe good again, to over. Aaron had been receiving psychiatric treatment for delusional thinking and behavior, but it wasn’t enough. His life is now just a series of data points in the vast epidemic of mental illness that is generating collateral damage in schools and churches and government office buildings and movie theaters across the Centennial State and the lesser states as well.

Is there something about our fair Colorado that acts as a magnet or incubator for homicidally insane people with a taste for the theatrical? It’s difficult to say with certainty, but your correspondent will return with his assessment tomorrow, in this ongoing and quixotic attempt at live-blogging the death of the American Dream.


  1. [...] Hello, if you haven't done so already, read parts one and two of this three-part entry. Thanks. [...]

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