The third and final part of what Mark would have thought about his fellow school shooters made famous through fiction ends with the lesser known book “Endgame” by Nancy Garden. While maybe not as popular in sales as the first two, “Endgame” is not in any way of less quality. In fact it is as good as “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “Nineteen Minutes.”
“Endgame” is the story of Gray Wilton who moves into a small town in Connecticut with his family. Upon arrival, he swears to himself that things are going to be different, since he was the reason the family had to move in the first place on account of Gray pulling a knife on a boy who was bullying him. Unfortunately for Gray, things aren’t different. Almost immediately, he catches the eye of one of the prominent jocks in the school who, with his friends, make Gray’s life total hell. Some of the worse things he suffers is having his drum kit destroyed, made to drink paint, having his dog run over and made to perform a sex act on his friend. Worse still is the fact that Teachers and other school authorities are of no help especially since the bullies are respected jocks in the school.
Gray has no sympathy from home either. The main problem for him as that he is nothing like his brother “Perfect” Pete who, in the eyes of their father, the sun shines out of his anus. Gray feels strongly that he is a disappointment in the eyes of his family. His father’s answer for dealing with the bullies is that Gray should go out for a sports team not taking into account that Gray has not interest nor the athletic prowess to do so. In the end, all of this drives him to the point where Gray goes into school one day and shoots four people dead and wounds a few others. At least he got the main bully but he is tackled from behind by his brother and held until the police come to arrest him. Like all school shooters, Gray is made out to be a monster and in spite of the efforts of his lawyer, is sentenced to life without parole.
Like Peter Houghton, Gray would have had Mark’s total sympathy. He would have been aghast at some of the suffering Gray went through and would have been totally supportive of Grey’s armed response. Furthermore, Mark also knows what it feels like to think that you are a disappointment to your parents. While Mark didn’t have an older brother, he did have a cousin and then a son of a family friend to whom he was compared to. He would have understood Gray’s predicament. Unlike Gray, Mark did go out for teams but it did not lessen the bullying he was suffering at all, so he would have also sympathised with Gray on the fact that it wouldn’t have mattered if he did. However, Mark would have also been critical of Gray’s lack of planning, which he felt had led to his arrest. In Mark’s eyes, Gray was foolish in being taken alive. He allowed himself to be flanked is how Mark would have put it. That is because in Mark’s Asperger’s mind, flanking manoeuvres were an obsession with him and he was determined not to have let something like that happen to him.
If you have read any of these accounts of what Mark would have thought, you probably guessed the one common thread in those stories which is different in “He Was Weird.” (Answers on a post card please, lol) See, I don’t think any two school shooters are the same in spite of what circumstances or the media may try to dictate. All three of the fictional accounts I have visited all differ from one another and all are different to mine.
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