Dan Rodricks: Vanished faces of a West Virginia boom town

James Holmes

We simply sit and wait for the next massacre

We simply sit and wait for the next massacre

Such troubled young men.

This is what we call them instead of nuts with guns, and they are a dreaded modern American cliche. Every time there's a news flash about another mass shooting, we now expect the culprit to be revealed as a "troubled young man."

The recent murders at a Louisiana movie theater were unusual because the gunman was in his 50s. The typical mass killer is much younger.

His family is always stunned by his crime. So are the few friends he has. And in the days following the massacre we always learn more about his loneliness and disillusion, and of course the ludicrous ease with which he was able to arm himself.

The story has become,...