Sheana Ochoa

How Shame Becomes a Lethal Weapon for Mass Killers

In 2011, soon after marrying his first wife, Devin Kelley began beating her. He would kick and choke her, and then turn on her infant son. Once he struck the baby so hard he fractured the boy’s skull. Miraculously, his wife got herself and her son out of the relationship alive. In 2016, Kelley walked into a San Antonio sporting goods store and bought a variant of an AR-15, also referred to by the NRA as “America’s rifle.” The popular weapon can carry magazines that hold up to 100 rounds and has been used in several previous mass shootings. Kelley was proud of his purchase, posting a picture of it on Facebook. He must have thanked the powers that be when a background check failed to block him from buying the rifle. (He'd pleaded guilty and was convicted by the Air Force for beating his former wife and stepson, but the military had neglected to report the charge to the federal background system.) Earlier this month, on November 5, Kelley carried his AR-15 into a church near his home in Sutherland Springs, Texas, unleashing his rage and anger on the congregation. He slaughtered 26 people, including 10 children.

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