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I was pretty freaked out when my friend Krissie threaded the needle for me when she said, ”Remember when Colin Ferguson freaked out in the Union ?”, referring to the College Union at Nassau Community College. I needed a clue to start me but when placed in context I had a pretty good recall of the situation. The guy was not all that unfamiliar and I remember seeing him hanging out in the College Union building right about my last semester before moving on in the very early 90’s. He was always sort of leering at people looking right through you and just really creeped me out. This was the first time that I had known it was Ferguson, or at least the same Ferguson. He was somewhat thinner than when he appeared on TV after the crimes and didn’t carry himself with any confidence.
Who Colin Ferguson Is and Why You Should Care
Ferguson pulled off a ‘reverse racism’ motivated killing spree on a commuter train on New York’s Long Island way back in 1993. He was an early perpetrator of a Spree Shooting, a term which seems to have been introduced to the popular lexicon by his specific crimes. He chose December 7 to act, so at least the day was already fucked and he didn’t blemish a new date on the calendar. 25 people were injured, some would never fully recover and six died. The passengers who tackled him when his high capacity clips ran out displayed acts of bravery not seen again until the tragic heroism aboard United 93. They rushed a well-armed man in the depths of a blood orgy. I would probably not have had the guts my fellow Long Islander’s showed. They were remarkably restrained considering they didn’t kick his ass at all as he squirmed and lay pinned, alternately apologizing and denying, all the while pleading for mercy.
Ferguson is not really insane. I’m not a doctor and I avoided ever exchanging more than the barest minimum of words with the man, so my guess on this is as good as anyone’s. I think he’s a sociopath and deeply angry about his lot in life, which was rough but not awful.
My non expert opinion is that Ferguson is a very stupid man who likely scalded himself in the shower every morning by mistake. He was purposeful however, showing some capacity for logical forethought and made some relatively rational decisions in some aspects of his life. His failed relocation to California was not insane, it was bad luck and his own personality that doomed that effort. It wasn’t ill conceived, he was trying to better himself. While living in Long Beach he acquired the gun allegedly because he was afraid. This is also rational as Long Beach and Compton are apparently Hell Hole Ghetto’s according to actual statistics as well as every rap song ever written. He was also purposeful in his methodical planning and highly effective in enacting of his Hate Crime.
As an early spree shooter he was the guy who ushered the nation on its first few
steps down a trail of tears that leads from Merillon Avenue in New Hyde Park to Columbine, to Aurora, to an Amish School outside York, Pennsylvania, to a mall in Arizona and earlier this week to another mall in Seattle and is now weaving past the Sandy Hook School in Newtown Connecticut. It’s a six chambered highway to nowhere that America is still stuck on nearly 20 years later.
Ferguson acquired a willfully ignorant view of the world that revolved around Reverse Racism. Reverse Racism is a technical term of art used by Sociologists to specifically refer to minorities who hate white people in a way as completely misguided and ridiculous as Old School ‘original racism’. Original racism is a specific term of art for British and Spanish Imperialistic inspired white hatred of any nonwhite races. These seem largely rooted in the 15th through 17th century Era of European Expansion and mercantilism in general.
Every major credible representative of the black community, including the Rev Jesse Jackson and the Rev Al Sharpton denounced Ferguson immediately and repeatedly. In layman’s terms Colin Ferguson was just a dick. He had his own dickish reasons for his dickish behavior. His acts cast aspersion on society as a whole, not any one race, and he was universally hated.
In a moment of national unity the dickish nature of his ideas and actions spurred a
reaction across the racial spectrum that may have created an environment of heightened tolerance rather than the race war Ferguson was hoping for. Again, to be clear, Colin Ferguson was equally despised by members of all races including his own even before his crimes. He was a creepy guy.
Ferguson actively defended himself in a courtroom spectacle that would have been the story of the decade had OJ Simpson not stolen Fergusons thunder by committing the Crime of the Century. (Note-My theory- OJ= Guilty BUT ALSO Framed. Post on that to come). It was televised live and was an early courtroom TV experiment that ran collateral to the Simpson Case fiasco.
To say Ferguson mocked his victims is an understatement. He basically continued to be a dick and exhibit deep race hate and Conspiracy Theory Obsession. His demeanor and beliefs were sort of like those of a black Mel Gibson on acid and meth. He claimed (unconvincingly) on live TV that the CIA had implanted a chip in his brain among other things. When I saw this as it unfolded from my living room I was captivated by the focused hate and intentional puppet show of insanity Ferguson was opting for. At this point, it should be noted, he had fired William Kunstler and Ron Kuby, two highly regarded lawyers, who were representing him for free. William Kunstler had a reputation par excellence in the upper echelons of New York State and even national legal community. This is a shockingly angry and stupid thing to do.
Ferguson referred to himself in the third person in a way that came off as a sort of “Royal Plural” during the proceedings. Witnesses were given pretty wide latitude to respond because he was pointlessly harassing them and burying himself legally. He was just really stupid and a terrible liar. He also loved the attention.
Among other things Ferguson was woefully unsuccessful in academic pursuits at Adelphi, a local college where people were completely freaked out by him. Not
much more than a long walk away at Nassau Community College, where he later enrolled, he sought to insinuate himself into several different crews. All rejected him. I think his intolerance was a real turnoff to members of all races. He was boringly over focused on race in his choice of conversation and was overwhelmingly negative by all published and personally related accounts, so there’s no surprise he was plain old unlikeable. After they got to know him these crews as well as all others shunned and avoided Ferguson for the same reasons everyone else did. He was a dimwitted mean dick.
Incarcerated until 5,000 years after the second coming I would assume a guy like Ferguson is most likely forcibly medicated. Whatever they are doing to him he has never apologized, which is something you may actually have gotten from a truly insane person with remorse capacity were they to be medicated. I can’t see him ever being able to be among the General Population.
This was a standout experience because of the display of a somewhat protracted level of sustained anger. It was not a very long time unless you are watching someone freak. He was like this for less than 5 minutes. It was probably somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes tops because no one really had time to react. He seemed like he was a problem best left alone as he was always stomping away not really breaking his stride. That said he covered a lot of the same ground twice. It was only a little scary when he came back up the stairs to the third floor for a briefer second foray.
Many of his remarks were addressed at no one in particular. I don’t think he was crazy. I think he was simply exploding with unjustifiable rage. Call it an Anger Orgasm. It was a little like a really pissed off baseball manager getting his money’s worth after getting thrown out of the game. He may never have stopped walking. That aspect really stayed with me. Also noteworthy is that he simply obeyed without much resistance when a large security guard told him to leave or be detained. He kept yelling stuff but stomped out. Probably not so much a dry run for later as evidence of some sort of OCD-like thing that speaks to his later methods. Physical manifestation of overwhelming frustration is something you see in someone struggling with a hateful worldview. It was an aggressive form of pacing which had the self-perpetuating aspect of ‘where do you go from losing it?’ if you don’t actually follow through and leave.
Although his police description says he was 6 feet tall his posture made him seem much smaller. The Colin Ferguson I encountered seemed no more than 5-10. He inclined just slightly forward at times as he walked around shouting and screaming. His shoulders weren’t squared, with one held very slightly above and in front of the other. At times he sort of ambled about and others paced
more aggressively but it was nonstop.
The tantrum, which is what it was, apparently began over the refusal of an unreasonable request. Ferguson tried to submit an opinion piece to the school paper, which is how people know it’s him.
He was a hateful kook, so of course his writing was rejected. Too bad looking back, we would have broken the story that he was crazy and prone to fits of hysterical ranting. At this point everyone who I have subsequently spoken to it about agreed he lost it on an administrator who had the unenviable task of driving home that his hate screed or whatever would not be published. He snapped and started his little episode by storming out of the faculty member’s College Union Office, pausing the door to shout some more. I was on the same (third) floor of the Union building as he walked down the hall yelling and gesturing at people shouting angry blameful remarks I either couldn’t follow or can’t recall. He was shouting and ranting real good though.
He had a pretty odd gait. He was doing some manic pacing of sorts going between floors and blowing out people verbally here and there. He had a lot of blame for his fellow African Americans and everyone he encountered. My friend Krissie is a blonde white girl and we recalled he made some hateful statements specific to that. He viewed things through race exclusively I guess. People were simply tuning him out as best they could and he got a lot of “geez buddy chill out” comments in his wake that he simply didn’t react to. He was spineless in the sense he only made eye contact until he began yelling. When speaking he seemed to only look down or away. He was enthralled in his performance and basically called out the world for not living up to his warped standards.
He was apparently prone to ‘taking it on the road’ with frantic pacing when he freaked, which fits the methodology of his attack and may have foreshadowed how he decided to attack about 20 to 25 months later. He was impersonal and having what I would call an anger orgasm. He was not ever going to be a remote sniper, he was too taken with himself not to get instant feedback on his actions.
He was only taking in enough visual feedback as he needed to made his remarks and negotiate the hallway and stairs. He was dressed neat but uptight with his top shirt button buttoned. This was slightly more fashionable in the early 1990’s but still a poor and unpopular fashion statement. His rant is largely forgotten and was a rambling mess at the time anyway. When talking to specific people his constantly gazing elsewhere was more unsettling than anything else. He had a bad too tight haircut and a small, ironically somewhat Hitler-like mustache. As I recall it he seemed somewhat slighter of build than when he later appeared in court. He had an earth tone brown jacket and slacks. He was wearing loafers. He had a sweater over his shirt and dressed in a way that could be described as collegiate. Most people looked like late teens in early 80’s would. Converse, a swatch,a pre-ironic Rolling Stones or Ramones t-shirt, etc. Everyone had crazy 80’s hair. Not Ferguson. He was distinctively neatly dressed by comparison.
Most specifically unsettling is he has unique irises of his eyes. He is of a relatively light complexion with skin not quite brown and his eyes were a coppery gold kind of hazel. I have seen it in other people before and since but it seems to be pretty rare. I clearly remember the look in his eyes. They were not so much glaring as reflective to light and were not a window to his soul. This was a willingly impulsive angry guy who lacked both self-control and the courage of his convictions. Perhaps he was just an angry depressive. Low self-worth seems obvious now looking back and might have been a part of how he developed his world view.
Colin Ferguson changed American society by virtue of his hate crime. Sensationalistic “wall to wall” Cable News coverage was in its infancy but let everyone in America and the world in on Ferguson’s deeds. His threshold level of sanity is more or less the watermark for competency, so his capacity will always be somewhat questionable by definition.
He will never see the light of day and is being punished, not reformed. Everyone seems to be in accord on how things worked out for Ferguson. No one would change a thing. He is treated with far greater humanity than he showed his victims. There’s no campaign to mitigate his treatment or free him and he is not revered or seen as a martyr by anyone. Ferguson is largely forgotten and will die a prisoner. He’s notable only for his evil deeds. No one empathizes with his motives at all.
The outrage over his crime sparked passage of a National Assault Weapons Ban that lasted 10 years (1994-2004) and probably should have been made permanent. Long Island nurse Carolyn McCarthy unseated the fool who represented Mineola in the House of Representatives handily when he inexplicably voted against that Ban as though nothing had ever happened in his district to justify it. She remains there to this day, a rare Long Island Democrat who is a constant crusader for sensible gun laws.
His only contribution to society is to the English Language and it’s an ugly one at that. We now have the term “Spree Killer”, which was popularized by his actions.
This seems to be because “Serial Killer” didn’t fit and “Mass Murderer” was too all encompassing. The term Spree Killer has become all too familiar ever since. He is distinct from most other Spree Killers in the sense that he seems to have intended to survive his crime and possibly get away with it. This also speaks to his sanity. Most Spree Killers Cheat the Hangman by taking their own lives before being brought to justice. Ferguson was not suicidal in his endeavor. He valued his own life. He knew what he was taking from these people.
He resides in the Hate Crime perpetrator category and will remain there as a textbook example of a man with an unjustifiable grudge against society.