Recent headlines keep bringing me back to a phrase the would become essential to the plot line of the synchromystic TV series Fringe: There's more than one of everything. This was of course the name of the finale of the first season and would prove to be quite a literal declaration. As the series unfolds the viewer learns that there at least two alternate realities happening simultaneously in different universes and that there are doubles of virtually all of the characters that appear on the show.
|Olivia of Fringe and her double (right)|
Increasingly, when it comes to high weirdness at least, it also seems though there's more than one of everything. Probably the most notable incident of this of late are the two salon shootings that occurred within days of one another. The first happened on Thursday, October 18, in Casselberry, Florida. The shooter was an African-American male spurred on by a breakup with his girlfriend, who worked at the salon. MSNBC reports:
"Police have identified 36-year-old Bradford Baument as the gunman who stormed a Florida hair salon, fatally shooting three women and injuring a fourth before killing himself at a friend’s home, police said.
"Police say the deadly rampage appeared to part of a domestic dispute.
"The Salon’s manager, Marcia Santiago, who was also Baument’s ex-girlfriend, had filed a restraining order against Baument, according to WESH-TV in Orlando.
"About two hours before a court hearing on the restraining order was to start, Baument stormed Las Dominicanas M & M Salon in Casselberry, northeast of Orlando, and opened fire, police spokeswoman Sara Brady said.
"Santiago was critically injured in the shooting. Officials identified two of the slain as: Noelia Gonzalez-Brito, 28, an employee, and Gladys Cabrera, 52, a customer. Identity of the third slaying victim was not released. Two others escaped injury by hiding in the bathroom, WESH-TV reported."
|Casselberry shooter Bradford Baument|
The second salon shooting occurred on Sunday, October 21. It occurred in Brookfield, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. In this case an African American male killed three people including his ex-wife, who had recently filed a restraining order against the shooter, before killing himself. MSNBC notes:
"A man who was ordered last week to turn over all his weapons in a domestic dispute opened fire Sunday at his estranged wife's workplace near Milwaukee, killing three women and injuring four others, authorities said. He then apparently shot himself to death, police said.
"The suspect was identified as Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, of Brown Deer, Wis., said Brookfield Police Chief Daniel Tushaus, who said Haughton was found dead in the building, a 9,000-square-foot, two-story salon and day spa across the street from a busy mall...
"Milwaukee County court records show that Haughton's wife, Zina Daniel Haughton, filed for a restraining order on Oct. 8...
"Police said the shootings began at 11:09 a.m. (12:09 p.m. ET) at the Azana Day Spa, across Moorland Road from Brookfield Square mall in Brookfield, about 10 miles west of Milwaukee. The mall was closed as SWAT team members scoured the area for Haughton."
|Wisconsin shooter Radcliffe Haughton Jr.|
The similarities between these two events go beyond creepy. As noted above, both shooters were African American males who ultimately committed suicide after the murders. The initial targets in both shootings were seemingly the former significant others of either shooter. Both women were in the process of filing restraining orders against the men who would ultimately kill them. Both shootings happened in salons and the total number of deaths in each was three victims plus the shooter. What's more, Radcliffe Haughton Sr., the father of the Wisconsin shooter, currently lives in Florida, in Winter Garden, none the less. For those of you who don't live around here, Winter Garden is a little over 20 miles from Casselberry.
What's more, this is the second time the Milwaukee area has been the site of a high profile shooting in a little less than three months. In early August white supremacist Wade Michael Page murdered several people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I and several other bloggers believe that this may have been a quasi-copycat of the more notorious Aurora shooting that took place just a little over two weeks before the Sikh temple shooting. I've written more on this topic before here.
|Wade Michael Page|
These are hardly the only doubles I've stumbled upon lately. Indeed, the headlines have been riddled with them. Consider the case of the University of South Alabama student who was gunned down by police while totally naked. MSNBC reported that said student, named Gil Collar, was tripping on LSD when said incident unfolded:
"A nude University of South Alabama freshman had taken LSD and assaulted others before he chased the campus police officer who fatally shot him, authorities said Tuesday, though the student wasn't armed and didn't touch the officer."Mr. Collar is not the only naked individual to be killed by the police of late. For the most recent incident, which occurred about two weeks after Mr. Collar's shooting, we return to Florida once again. There, near the Tampa area, two off duty police officers killed a naked woman. Again with MSNBC:
"Two off-duty Florida law-enforcement officers fatally shot an armed, naked woman who confronted them at a social gathering Saturday, authorities said.
"The shooting occurred at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday in Hernando County, north of Tampa. The county sheriff's office said in a news release that the men were approached by an 'armed, naked and irrational female.' The news release does not identify the weapon, but it says 'one or both of the law enforcement officers fired their weapons, striking the female.' She died at the scene."
Naturally police are refusing to reveal the weapon this woman had that was so threatening to the off duty officers. It'll be most interesting to see what they come up with and what, if anything, was in this woman's system at the time of the shooting. If she was also using psychedelics, then she would be the third individual of late to be involved in a fatal incident while tripping. In addition to Mr. Collar's fatal run in with campus police, a man from Clay, New York has recently admitted to killing his own father while under the influence of magic mushrooms. The Post-Standard reports:
"A town of Clay man admitted in court today he intentionally killed his father but was acting under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs at the time.
"Herman Tolbert Jr., 24, pleaded guilty before state Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter in the death of his 68-year-old father, Herman Tolbert Sr.
"The elder Tolbert was found dead in his home at 4977 Moses Drive in Clay, on Aug. 4, 2011. He died from a single stab wound to the chest from a butcher knife...
"In court, Doran said Tolbert had a history of paranoid schizophrenia that was exacerbated by his use of drugs. At the time of the crime, Tolbert was under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the prosecutor said."
The implications of these two deaths, and possibly a third in Florida, are most interesting to me. At present I don't have time to go in depth into these events but I've dabbled with the notion that what one experiences on psychedelics are more than hallucinations before here. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
One final double I would like to briefly address before wrapping things up are a series of non-fatal (for now) shootings that have broken out in Michigan near the I-96 corridor. Apparently someone has been shooting at various motorists across a series of roads from a car. There have been 16 reported shootings so far. When I first read this story I was immediately reminded of the D.C. sniper shootings that occurred along the Beltway area. These shootings were of course far more lethal than the ones in Michigan have proved to be thus far. What is unsettling about the Michigan shootings are the dates. The D.C. sniper shootings occurred over a period of three weeks in October 2002. This is almost exactly ten years to the day that the Michigan shootings started.
There's more than one of everything in deed.