Gun tragedy strikes Florida State University

Lone gunman injures three, is killed, as new school president John Thrasher tries to pick up the pieces

“The Florida State University community is extremely saddened by the shootings that took place early this morning at Strozier Library, in the very heart of our campus, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who have been affected.”

– Florida State University President John Thrasher




Number of on-campus school shootings since the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, according to


$2.35 million

Amount the National Rifle Association contributed in lobbying to political campaigns and the public in the 2014 election cycle



Amount the Koch Brothers, via its Koch Industries properties, has given to current Florida State University president and former Florida state senator John Thrasher

The hurting

Far be it from this humble column of happiness and gratitude – hope you like your turkey! – to delve into the conflation of the personal and the political, because that’s clearly not welcome here in the Town we call Happy. But last week’s school shooting at Florida State University checked off a lot of personal and sociopolitical boxes, and we’re not exactly certain that we can shut our mouths or ever-expanding foreheads about it.

FSU grad and legal eagle (bar-certified in New Mexico and Texas) Myron May – now the subject of all the armchair journalism psychology that includes the terms “falling” and “apart” – showed up at FSU’s Strozier library in the early hours of Nov. 21, spreading nearly 30 rounds of fucking reckless bullets before being shot down by Tallahassee police. He believed he was being followed, spied on and chased by the federal government – who, reports the New York Times, might have been reading his mind. So, at 12:30 a.m., when everyone who is anyone worth their salt at FSU was studying in the library, pulling all-nighters in order to secure a future, May busted out a .380 semi-automatic pistol and tried to take life down wholesale. Three were injured, 30 shots were fired, May was killed by the cops. Why? Paranoia, everyone presumes. Why not? Gun culture on the skids.

That’s not to say that this is necessarily a political issue, because, even though this particular writer still receives missives from the National Rifle Association after his husband of 11 years shot himself as a “lifelong” NRA member with mental health concerns, it isn’t really all about said writer. Nor is this some long-winded soliloquy on his lost hours spent poring through the missives of Kant and Kerouac at the Strozier Library while attending FSU in the early-to-mid-’90s (party!). What really gets this column pissed off – and we’re not kidding – is the fact that nobody is doing anything of substance about pulling deadly weapons out of the hands of people who wish death upon themselves or the innocent lives of others. Sound too serious? Well, maybe it’s just about as serious as death.

In fact, even though newly elected Florida State University president – and former state senator – John Thrasher is widely seen as yet another entrenched Republican who might (or might not?) continue the Koch Brothers regime that turned the school’s economics program into a joke – he took money from them, see – Thrasher was also behind blocking an NRA-sponsored bill in 2011 that would have allowed what we’re now calling (because we’re all assholes at Walmart) “open-carry” laws on the campus of the ’Noles as well as public campuses throughout the state. A notorious opponent of public education rights – especially teachers’ unions – Thrasher backed down on this semi-suicidal legislation that would have seen public universities turn into wild-west bro-bravado bullshit. Why? Because he knew someone who died. No offense, but when you have to wait to know someone who dies of gun violence to stand up to the corporate (and almost bewitchingly evil) side-eyes of former NRA president (and noted cat lady) Marion Hammer, then you have a Tallahassee problem.

“It’s beyond personal for me,” Thrasher told the Tampa Bay Times in 2011, referencing the bill that would have allowed more deaths like that of his dentist’s daughter; she died from a shot to the chest from an AK-47 handled by her boyfriend. “Any other time I might support something like this, but I just can’t.”

Any. Other. Time.

Whatever the case, we’ve been left here listless with bizarre pseudo-Christian stories of Apopka-bred student Jason Derfuss – and, seriously, bless his heart for all the exposure – and the now-punctured copy of John Wyclif’s Great Medieval Thinkers which he had just checked out.

“It’s crazy: One minute I am checking out books and the next I am crying on my bedroom floor thinking I shouldn’t be alive. Those books saved me, and God saved me,” he told People.

Following that gross intrusion into public university living, and ironically on Nov. 21, Hammer was at the trigger again. This time, silencers. We don’t need to hear approaching death, right?

“At their meeting in Key Largo, Florida, today, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to remove the ban on using silencers/suppressors on pistols and rifles for hunting deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows. Using silencers/suppressors on pistols, rifles and shotguns for all other legal hunting was already allowed,” she said. “Following the suppressor vote, the Commission also voted to authorize an Executive Order to lift the ban immediately and allow hunting with suppressors to begin at once.”

Listen to the sound of silence.

Scroll to read more Orlando Area News articles


Join Orlando Weekly Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.