Shooting ‘Devils’: What Beliefs Drove the Baton Rouge Police Killer?

Barb Wire

While the Trumpification of the GOP held the attention of many mainstream media, some were probing the warped mind of Gavin Long, who shot three police officers in Baton Rouge before being shot dead himself. Their chilling discoveries are reported in well-crafted articles, especially in the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Here are some of the spiritual currents they found coursing through the killer’s mind:

* He returned from a visit to Africa saying that fasting and abstaining from sex, activated his pineal gland and “opened a third eye of wisdom.”

* He began calling himself Ausar Setepenra, a reference to two Egyptian gods.

Trending: Will Oregon Voters Defund Abortions?

* He claimed membership in a group of African Americans who say they’re a “sovereign Native American tribe.”

* The world is “run by devils,” in his view.

Of the articles, the Post’s – with six reporters writing 1,400 words – is the most ambitious. It tries to track his movements over his last few weeks:

He stopped in Houston, telling strangers on a sidewalk how he had fasted for two years while abroad — as well as abstained from sex — and how it helped him shed 100 pounds and opened a third eye of wisdom.

Then he stopped in Baton Rouge, meandering through the city and recording a rambling video of himself — until the moment Sunday morning when he calmly and deliberately took aim at local police, killing three officers and wounded three others…

Continue reading at


The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Jim Davis
Jim Davis writes for, scrutinizing religion coverage in mainstream media. He also runs the Faith and Values page on Facebook, and freelances as a writer and photographer with The Florida Catholic newspaper. He worked for more than three decades as the religion editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, covering national as well as local events and issues. His other projects have included copy editing and writing for a Christian web designer, editing educational white papers for the University of Florida, and publicizing Jewish studies at Florida International University.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.