The Short History of Evan Browning

Jamesvansteel By Jamesvansteel, 24th Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Narrative

A short fictional narrative of the life of a school shooter, originally written for a class on neurology and behavior.

The Short History of Evan Browning

Evan Browning did not have an easy life. Conceived by Lisa Browning and Kevin Washington and born in Newark, New Jersey in 1992, Evan would grow up to a single abusive and neglectful mother and no siblings, fail to make meaningful social connections with any peers, and suffer sexual abuse from his baby sitter all before entering high school. The results of his tragic “upbringing” would become manifest on a fateful spring day in early 2006 when Evan was identified afterward as the young man who planned and executed a massacre of his fellow high school students and teachers, finally taking his own life. While his actions are inexcusable and so horrible that his motivations and methods for them are hard to understand by the socially normative mind, an investigation into the brain and childhood, nature and nurture, of Evan may hold the key to understanding his actions that day.

Both of Evan’s parents, his mother Lisa and his Father Kevin grew up in poverty in urban Maryland around the city of Baltimore. They came from violent and broken families, Lisa’s parents being involved with prescription drug addiction and no strangers to domestic and extra-familial violence. The habits and tendencies of Lisa’s parents soon found a home in Lisa herself, as she was exposed to prescription opiates at the young age of 12 and was chronically addicted to them for the rest of her life. Her and her family’s poverty and criminal record due to violent acts throughout the years prevented Lisa from entering rehab or relocating to find a well-paying job or complete her high school education. Kevin’s family situation, while it did not include drug addiction, followed a similar pattern of violence due to the PTSD suffered by Kevin’s father in the Korean war. Kevin’s father was harshly reactive and emotionally distant, barely playing any role in Kevin’s upbringing except in instances of severe physical abuse and emotional estrangement until his death by suicide when Kevin was 15. Because of these experiences, Kevin developed highly anxious social anxiety and exhibited strange animal torture behaviors from the age of 10-16 after a particularly devastating blow to the head by his father during a violent flashback to the war. Together, Kevin and Lisa only lasted as a couple 4 months, in that short period moving to Newark in the hopes of attaining a better life. That dream was not fulfilled, and the news that Lisa was pregnant with Evan preempted Kevin’s split from the relationship and his subsequent absence in Evan’s life.

Once born, Lisa paid much less attention to her baby son than when she was pregnant with him, a period during which she successfully was able to ween off of oxycontin to protect the development of her son. Because she had to work and was still interested in having a social life, as well as resuming her past drugs habits, Lisa often left Evan to be cared for by a neighbor family who, despite their good intentions, often left him unattended for extended periods. It was not until Evan’s grandmother, Lisa’s mother moved from Baltimore to the Newark area that he received regular, maternal-reminiscent care from another human being, around the age of 2. Lisa’s mother died of a stroke when Evan was 7 years old, again leaving Evan to his own devices until Lisa could find a suitable nanny for him for after school while she worked.

On the nights that Lisa was home she melted into a haze of opiates and often verbally abused or neglected to feed Evan despite his hunger pains and cries. On the nights that she worked, a 23 year old local hairdresser named Gwen came to watch him. Gwen was employed as a babysitter by Lisa for 4 years while Evan was finishing elementary school and entering middle school. During this period Gwen made sexual advances and suggestions to Evan repeatedly, finally molesting him at her home when Evan was 10. This went on for several months until Evan retaliated by setting the interior of her car on fire with gasoline and matches he had collected the week before. Evan never told his mother about these incidents, nor any of his teachers, fellow students, or authorities. He did not have any friends to confide in, because the other children found him strange and unapproachable. Evan appeared to them as unnaturally intelligent, as he completely absorbed himself in books and school assignments, but was never seen in any after-school activities, teams, or clubs and never spoke to other children.

After the episodes with Gwen, Lisa felt that Evan was old enough to take care of himself after school and did not hire another babysitter. Evan spent his time after school alone, absorbed in television, exploring the back yard, and reading books that were far beyond his reading level. He continued to be socially isolated from other children, but again, this appeared to be by choice as he made no attempts to connect with any other children and did not engage in social activities with them. He did, however, cultivate close relationships with his teachers and even the high school’s janitors when he entered freshman year, who often allowed him to stay late in the library even after closing.

On March 3rd, 2006, a Tuesday evening Evan again stayed late in the library, long past the librarians and after most other staff had left as well, and hid a shot gun and two handguns that he had stolen from the homes of several teachers that he had befriended. The next day, after the last period bell rang, Evan calmly got up from his chair, entered the library and opened the supply closet that he had hidden his weapons in and went down the crowded hallways shooting as many random children as he could. When he heard police sirens outside, one eyewitness who saw the incident reported that Evan carefully laid the guns down except for an M9 with two rounds in it. He sat cross-legged on the ground and fired one shot into the ceiling, waited a few seconds, and put the gun in his own mouth.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
25th Sep 2014 (#)

What a tragic story for all concerned , James
Bless you

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