“…we went to Dean Rodgers’ office for a meeting. The Dean was alone up there, somber and waiting. We’d seen him a few times before, on campus visits, and if appearances meant anything, he’d seemed like the right man for his job. Today he was wearing tan hush puppies, wide-wale corduroys, a button-down white oxford shirt under V-neck lamb’s wool sweater, and big horn-rimmed glasses; every inch the owlish academician, smoking nervous cigarettes, one after the other. His opening sentence astounded me.
“I’m a man of words.” he said, “And for once I can’t find anything to say.”
A man of words? It seemed a strange identity for Dean Rodgers to assume. If anything, I had thought the head of a college would be a man of truth or a man of knowledge. Didn’t men of words go into politics or advertising? The second part of his declaration made me nervous. Did it mean that we would not be given any substantive new information about Galen’s death?”
from Chapter 2, THE MAN OF WORDS
“I went to the archives of the Boston Public Library and found copies of the several magazines that, according to the prosecution at the criminal trial, Wayne had used to help him order his gun parts. Sure enough, in the back of one of them I found the ad for Classic Arms. I wrote for a catalog and was delighted when, several weeks later, it showed up in my pile of mail, a cheap cut-and-paste, xeroxed and stapled thing. To me it was an object of fascination. There, in its pages, was my plastic stock, the one that would make my SKS look and feel more like a real assault rifle. And there, wonder of wonders, was the same cheap imported steel clad 7.62 mm ammunition Wayne had ordered.”
from Chapter 19, THE UN-GUN
“This time there was no mistaking it; a rambling building which had probably been a ranch-style dwelling before going commercial and getting its windows walled over. It had a gently sloped roof with a lot of overhang and its ridge line roughly paralleled the road. The gable end facing me was white with “Dave’s Sporting Goods” painted right onto the wall in big dark block letters. In bigger letters under that was the word “GUNS.” I figured I had the right place.”
from Chapter 6, DAVE
“Judging by the photos of the sullen, shaved-headed shooter that had appeared in the initial news accounts, and from the reports of what he’d said and done, he seemed to have been a monster. How could the college not have known there was something wrong with him? How could he have gotten the gun and ammunition onto the campus? How could he have gone around with a rifle, shooting people, and why?”
from Chapter 2, THE MAN OF WORDS
“At some point in my ramblings through the book stalls of New England I found a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition- Revised). This was the famous DSM-III-R that had been waved, quoted and thumped at Wayne Lo’s criminal trial.
I don’t remember where I was when I found it. Bookshops, to a hardworking book scout, can be like saloons to a man on a bender. After a while all the saloons turn into one big saloon. Nor can I recall exactly when I found it, except that it was a used book by the time it came my way, meaning it had probably been supplanted by DSM-IV.
I do, however, have a clear recollection of what it felt like to discover the book. It was in a box of paperbacks, and the yellow lettering jumped out at me from the blue background of the cover. DSM-III-R! I paused, trying to recall what meaning that designation had for me, and then it all came back in a rush, knocking me from the comfort of my book scouting routine into the painful days of Wayne Lo’s criminal trial. Here it was, the “premier diagnostic instrument,” a big, fat paperback, 600 pages long. It would be my key to the knowledge of the shrinks, and it only cost me $10.
I took it home and put it on my desk, where it sat, untouched, for a year or more, until a process of elimination brought me back to it.”
from Chapter 23, A NARROW MADNESS.
Then to the cross-examination, in which Capeless immediately set to work, hammering away at Schouten’s description of the shooting as impulsive. “He told you the voice came to him and said, ‘It is time.’ Did that voice tell him to walk from his room across the frozen field, to take out the communications center at the guard shack, to hold his gun to the window of that car? He was armed and ready when that voice came…”
“…He told you he shot at no particular target. Don’t you think the guard shack was a very specific target, since all the college communications went through there?” (Capeless walked to the map of the campus that was tacked up at the back of the courtroom and showed the path Wayne had taken that night, out of his dorm, across that big field to the road that lead back onto the campus.)
He continued in this manner, using his rhetorical questions to contrast Wayne Lo’s actions and statements with Schouten’s hypotheses. Finally he reached this climax.
“You said he felt no criminal responsibility for his acts, but why, when he was finished shooting, DID HE CALL THE POLICE?”
“And then Celia! who was immediately everyone’s baby, and a girl besides. Galen and Brooks, therefore, became The Boys and grudgingly began their ascent to real brotherhood. I gave up trying to control everyone (I didn’t have the energy). My mother-in-law and I quit being adversaries and became allies, and under Annie’s tutelage our family unit began to solidify.”
from Chapter 3, THE TIME MACHINE
“I have had some experience with reason ending, since I spent most of Galen’s first 14 years at my wit’s end. He was difficult. He was smart. He was strong-willed. I’d never had a child before, let alone a smart, strong-willed boy-child. I remember those first few months with him in our tiny third floor apartment down along the edge of Gloucester harbor. He’d make a noise and I’d wonder, “What is that?” and be astounded, over and over again, and there was no place to go and find out. Automobiles, even washing machines came with instruction manuals; yet they let you take this incredibly complex creation home without so much as a label on it.”
from Chapter 3, THE TIME MACHINE.
“We’d moved out of the apartment on Gloucester Harbor to a little house all our own. The house was situated at the edge of the downtown area, close to the harbor and wharves. We got a good deal on the rent because the place didn’t have any heat. It didn’t have any heat because it happened to be on low ground next to a marsh, and in winter and spring when the frozen ground couldn’t absorb the runoff, the basement flooded. The oil burner had been destroyed by high waters years before. We installed a used gas-log stove in the kitchen that only worked if you kept a weight on the safety button that was supposed to turn off the gas if anything went wrong. We put an old wood stove in the front room, too. I ran a stove pipe up through the living room ceiling and into the conked-out oil burner’s chimney, thereby providing us with a rudimentary heating system. We quickly learned that green wood did not produce much heat. They were demolishing a building down the street and we spent the rest of that first winter burning all the wooden studs, sills and headers that I could snitch from the site.”
from Chapter 3. THE TIME MACHINE.
Here are some pictures of Galen taken by his friends. If you have pictures of Galen you would like us to post, please contact us.
More Pictures of Galen