The alleged ex-girlfriend of the Dayton, Ohio, shooter has taken to Medium to pen a short essay about her time dating the man who would eventually become the mass shooter who killed nine people.

I won’t be repeating his name, so any mention of it will be expunged from this article. Furthermore, I won’t be going too deeply into the essay itself, as I feel that talking about his personal life in detail is just as bad. As far as I’m concerned, this man should die in obscurity. However, I do find parts of it relevant to the overall conversation about gun safety.

The ex-girlfriend’s Medium post tells us that the shooter exhibited signs of mental illness throughout their time of dating. The first was on their first date:

A couple of drinks later, [the shooter] asked me if I saw the video of the synagogue shooting. As someone who makes a point to never watch those videos, I hadn’t. So, he pulled out his phone and I was too drunk to care that I was watching it. Thankfully the bar was too loud for me to hear what was going on. [The Shooter] gave me the play-by-play of what was happening. Even then, I did realize that that was a weird thing for a first date, but not too weird given the context of our class.

Another moment happened when the shooter became drunk. According to the ex, he mumbled a lot when he was sober, but drunk it was nearly impossible to understand him. However, she said that she caught things from time to time, including a point where he said he wants to hurt a lot of people:

I did catch bits and pieces among his topic jumping that he wanted to hurt a lot of people.

The third is when he was wanting to deliver a letter to a person who had just moved into a home nearby. He was going to deliver the letter in secret but someone was always out in the front yard, preventing him from delivering the letter. After some prying as to why, the shooter revealed that it was his ex-girlfriend. The letter was ominous, to say the least, and upon talking about it, he revealed that he gets “uncontrollable urges to do things”:

Then I asked to read the letter. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect of “Welcome to the neighborhood. You can’t outrun your past. Signed, Your Neighbor.” I asked him about that, about if he knew how messed up that was. He tried to downplay it as a joke. But I knew it wasn’t, so I pushed further. He admitted that sometimes he got uncontrollable urges to do things.

The ex breaks up with him not long after that according to her story.

I find this relevant because we can get into conversations about political extremism all day, but in the end, pulling a trigger on innocent people goes beyond politics. There has to be a true rage or hate for something that stems from a disturbed mind.

Political extremism is more of a symptom of something than a disease itself. Instead of pointing fingers at one another, we should be focused on the darkness inside the mind that drives someone to perceive the world around them as they do.