On Tuesday, 56-year-old Clay Duke engaged in a bizarre standoff with a school board, killing himself after a security guard wounded him. His motives are still unclear, but his Facebook profile indicates that he never expected to survive.
No one else was injured during the episode, much of which was captured on video, but Duke (who spent five years in prison on harassment charges in the early 2000s) fired his gun at members of the Panama City, Fla. school board, luckily missing each time. He accused the board of firing his wife, but refused to say who she was, or why she was fired. "We really don't know what he was talking about," Superintendent Bill Husfelt told the AP. "I don't think he knew what he was talking about."
He did seem to know what he was getting himself into, though. Duke's Facebook page, which we (and several Facebook users—one of his wall postings has 900 comments, despite the fact that Duke has no Facebook friends) found after the shooting, features what seems to be a kind of suicide note—he calls it his "testament"—and a vague explanation for his actions:
My Testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V)… no… I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats… same-same… rich… they take turns fleecing us… our few dollars… pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95%… the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us…
Sounds like Duke anticipating the reaction to the incident. Reading that, it's hard not to be reminded of Andrew Stack, who flew a plane into an IRS building and left behind a suicide note that railed against bankers, "political thugs" and "American zombies."
At one point during the standoff, Duke painted a huge, red encircled "V" on the walls—a symbol from the comic book (and movie) V for Vendetta. The same "V" appears as his profile picture. (It's not the only V for Vendetta reference on the page, either: On December 8, Duke uploaded a variety of pictures from or inspired by the movie, as well as some more bizarre generic fantasy art, as well as a shot of an unidentified guy with bangs.) V for Vendetta, of course, is the favorite movie of Anonymous, the decentralized group of hackers and agitators who like to dress in the Guy Fawkes masks worn by the comic's protagonist and protest Scientology, but it seems like a stretch to connect Duke to Anonymous in any specific way. (Though given Duke's interest in the weird conspiratorial side of the web, it seems likely he would have been aware of the group.)
What else is in the profile? Duke's "Favorite Quotes" section contains a number of links to political websites—mostly pretty out-there 9/11-truther-here-comes-the-new-world-order stuff, but also the mainstream liberal Media Matters and, of course, a Wikileaks mirror. (Expect these sites to be the ball in the exciting "Clay Duke Was a Dangerous Liberal" vs. "Clay Duke Was a Nutcase Conservative" game we'll all get to watch over the next few days.) His "Religious Views" are "Humanism" and his "Political Views" are "Freedom Fighter." Duke's "About Me" section also contains lines from a poem—"Masque of Anarchy" by Percy Shelley:
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number.
Shake your chains to earth like dew.
Which in sleep has fallen on you.
Ye are many – they are few.
Ironically, Shelley's poem is a touchstone of nonviolent resistance.
Looks like someone was able to guess Clay Duke's password—the account has been commenting on its own posts, and joined the group "R.I.P. Clay Duke, a Martyr for Class Warfare." We're still confident that the account originally belonged to the real Clay Duke, as it was created before Tuesday's shooting, and most of the updates referred to in this post occurred on Dec. 8. Okay, never mind all that—the Clay Duke running around Facebook joining groups is a new Clay Duke with an account built to be exactly like the real Clay Duke account.