When the news broke this weekend that the Lafayette theater shooter was John Russell Houser, aka “Rusty” Houser, and that he was from Phenix City, AL and lived in Columbus, GA most of his life, I was distracted by the 2015 League of the South National Conference.
I was surprised to learn that Rusty Houser was from Russell County, AL. He was from Columbus, where I was born, and the Chattahoochee Valley, the area that I consider home. While I certainly didn’t know the man personally, I found myself wondering if our paths had ever crossed before. Because the face sure looked familiar.
Had I seen this guy at the Columbus mall? Did he shop at the Barnes and Noble where I used to frequently buy books? Was he also a regular at Chipotle? Did he ever have any business down in Eufaula? I vaguely seemed to remember him, not from online or from politics, but because I had seen him somewhere locally before.
“According to the Associated Press, 2008 court records show Houser’s immediate family sought protective orders because he “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements.”
The documents said Houser was living in Phenix City, but had traveled to Carroll County, Ga., where his daughter lived, and “perpetrated various acts of family violence.” The filings said he “has a history of mental health issues, i.e., manic depression and/or bi-polar disorder.”
The family petitioned a probate court to have him involuntarily committed “because he was a danger to himself and others.” Houser was taken to Columbus’ West Central Georgia Regional Hospital after the order was granted. …”
I gasped when I realized it was him. It was Morris Dees:
Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center
I’m sharing this here because some of my longtime readers probably remember this episode.
In April 2008, the single most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me occurred: I was hyped up on caffeine and was avidly following the 2008 financial crisis. I was suffering from sleep deprivation and was elated that the system appeared to FINALLY be going down.
In this moment of caffeine-induced jubilation, my health appeared to take a serious turn for the worse, both to my readers and my parents, who were disturbed enough to take me to the nearest hospital, the West Central Georgia Regional Hospital in Columbus, GA. When I woke up in the hospital, I was in a drug induced haze.
As someone who loves analysis and prizes clear thinking, I generally despise drugs. Aside from caffeine, which has long been my Achilles Heel (my best man even joked about this in his speech at my wedding), the only drug I have ever had anything to do with is alcohol, the effects of which are temporary. Needless to say, I was thrown for a loop under the influence of psychotropic drugs which are used to treat mania.
It was there in a cloud of confusion that I met someone who looked to me like Morris Dees … and although I didn’t recall his name, only the face, it was none other than “Rusty” Houser. There was another patient there, a young girl from Fayetteville, GA named Angela, who I had a thing for at the time. Never saw her again either.
After I was released, I was still doped up and my thinking was garbled. I told people on the internet that I was getting married to Morris Dees’ daughter! The story was bullshit of course, but my various internet enemies still repeat it as gospel to this day.
I don’t remember much about Morris/Rusty except that even then he was violent and crazy. Everyone who knew him, including his own family who had him locked up, has said that he was crazy. Having seen him in the cuckoo’s nest, I have no doubt either that he shot those people in Lafayette because he was crazy.
Interestingly enough, the SPLC has chimed into this story in order to portray Rusty Houser as your garden variety, anti-government, Far Right extremist. Well, a quick glance at his victims should be enough to explode this ridiculous narrative:
Rusty Houser’s victims, Mayci Breaux, left, and Jillian Johnson right
Rusty Houser shot and killed those women because he was a lunatic like James Holmes who was just convicted of murder for the Aurora shooting. Like James Holmes, Rusty Houser also booby trapped his own house. This isn’t “a story about race” in America. It is a story of a broken, crazy old man who was shunned by his own family.
End of story.
Note: BTW, it was the jihadist Mohammad Abdulazeez who actually attacked the government in Chattanooga. Did anyone else notice the SPLC had nothing to say about that?