From the Los Angeles Times:
“A suicidal 19-year-old who killed eight people at a mall packed with holiday shoppers had turned his gun on himself by the time police got to the scene, authorities said today. …
“Hawkins apparently stole from his stepfather the AK-47 he used to kill two shoppers and six employees of the Von Maur department store. Five other people were injured, and two remained in critical condition. …
“The slayings were a stark reminder that crowded American malls are potential targets for violence. In February, five people were slain at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City by a gunman who was then killed by police.”
From The New York Times:
“[The police] chief said, ‘Obviously we’re in the midst of a very busy shopping season. If you were looking to engage in mass casualty type of incident, you would choose a public place.’ The governor said that Mr. Hawkins had been a ward of the state from 2002 to 2006 and had previous run-ins with the law, but had not been associated with violence.
“Later in the day, Todd Landry, director of the state’s department of Children and Family Services, said that the state provided Mr. Hawkins with stays at residential centers and in-patient facilities and also at a hospital. The facilities provided him with addiction counseling, mental-health counseling and behavioral counseling, among other services, but he said federal and state privacy laws prevented him from being more specific about Mr. Hawkins’ problems.”
“Richard Pearson, a 42-year-old advertising executive is driving from central London to Brooklands, a town near the M25 on the western edge of the city. A few weeks earlier Richard’s father, a retired airline pilot, was fatally wounded during a shooting incident in the Metro-Centre – a vast shopping mall and sports complex, in the centre of Brooklands – when a deranged mental patient opened fire on a crowd of shoppers.”
“Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke posted extracts from Ballard’s anti-consumerist novel Kingdom Come on the band’s blog, Dead Air Space, in the months leading up to the release of their 2007 album, In Rainbows.” Here’s one, from 6 Feb 2007. Here’s another, from 11 March 2007..
Author J.G. BALLARD was featured in Arthur No. 15 (March 2005): “Controversial novelist and visionary J.G. BALLARD wonders if something fundamental has gone awry in America. Interview by RE/Search’s V. Vale, with an introduction by author Michael Moorcock.”
Best books J.G. Ballard read during 2007, from The Observer:
“The most enjoyable book was St Peter’s by Keith Miller (Profile), a witty and entertaining account of the most famous church in the world, still standing firm against the tides of tourism that swirl around it. As Miller makes clear, St Peter’s has always been far more than a church. The most disturbing book of the year was Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia by John Gray (Allen Lane). This is Gray’s most powerful argument yet against the scientific idealists who think they can blueprint a benevolent end-state utopia. Their attempt, Gray argues, has led to the ruined utopias we see around us, and the return of repressed religious belief in its most frightening form. A brilliant polemic, probably best read on the steps of St Peter’s.”
And in The Guardian, Ballard on Christmas reading…
“London: City of Disappearances, edited by Iain Sinclair (Penguin), was last year’s Christmas treat in hardback, a wonderful compendium put together by our psychogeographer-in-chief, and now out in paperback. Strange dreams of a vanishing London die and are reborn on every page. Ghosts haunt the alleys of Sinclair’s maze-like mind, and I couldn’t help thinking of the Warsaw ghetto as he paced Whitechapel and Spitalfields.
“This Christmas I will read The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair and the Intoxication of Power by David Owen (Politico’s). Our former foreign secretary launches a scathing attack on the organ-grinder and his eager monkey for their conduct of the Iraq war, a combination of arrogance and incompetence.
“For next Christmas, God willing, I have already reserved The Architecture of Parking by Simon Henley (Thames & Hudson), a hymn to the true temples of the automobile age, multistorey car parks. Those canted decks are trying to lead us to another dimension . . .”