March 11th, 2009
07:23 PM ET

Evening buzz: Alabama shooting was “20-something miles of terror”

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

In the last 24 hours we’ve learned a lot more about the grisly shooting rampage in Alabama that left 11 dead, including the shooter, 28-year-old Michael McLendon. The story was still developing as we were on air last night. 

A state senator from the region today described the mass murder as “20-something miles of terror in my district.”

Investigators still don’t know why McLendon killed his mother and four other relatives, plus five other people who appear to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The rampage lasted less than an hour. The oldest victim was 74; the youngest just 18 months.

There are reports that police have found a list of employers “who had done the gunman wrong.” We’re digging deeper on that.

There’s also a remarkable rescue story emerging tonight: A woman who listened crept onto her neighbors’ porch after the gunman left and scooped up a 3-month-old baby whose mother and toddler sister were among the dead. All the while, the shooter was one block away, still firing. Tonight we’ll have all the details.

We’ll also be looking at the raw politics of the $410 billion spending bill that President Obama signed today. It’s the last piece of the Bush administration’s final budget and will keep the government running through September. It also has nearly 9,000 earmarks worth almost $8 billion tucked into its fine print. On the campaign trail, Mister Obama promised to scrutinize every budget line by line and eliminate waste. Tonight he’s under fire from some for not taking a hard line on the pork in the spending bill. He says he signed the bill reluctantly and pledged to get tougher from here on out. What do you think? Should the president have taken a stand today – or does he have bigger fish to fry right now?

Also tonight: Is the stimulus working? Tom Foreman follows the money to a highway project in Maryland. The seven-month project to build a road is already underway and creating some jobs. Will it be enough to make a real difference in the local economy?

Last and perhaps least, Forbes magazine has just published its new list of the world’s wealthiest. The rich are getting poorer. There are fewer of them and their fortunes are shrinking. We’re not suggesting we feel huge waves of sympathy for these billionaires. But it’s interesting to see who’s up and who’s down.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern!

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Connie

    Today my 73 year old mother that has worked at Wal-Mart for the last 15 years told me she was glad she was as old as she is because she doesn't want to live much longer in a world that is becoming increasingly violent. As we turn our faces away from our neighbors and pursue meaningless excess, as we choose to fill our heads with notions of windfall compensations and reject the work ethics of our forefathers....we will continue to spiral down into the chaos and anarchy that life without discipline creates. I think we should be prepared to protect ourselves and our assets from those who would take them from us like this young man has done.

    March 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  2. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    What can one say about this tragdey? LIfe is fragile.

    March 12, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  3. Gail Ellisn Duncan

    What are we to do for the many people who are beginning to snap due to this economic shift/rift? So many people feel money is the most important thing and when that goes, families, communities, countries start to become aggitated with feelings of hoplessness and dispair. How can we make money serve us people not control us? How do we replace violence with hope and peace? How do we take a hold of this increase of crime and rage so we do not have to live in fear. We should take heed and put programs into place now to help with the changes we face worldwide.

    March 12, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  4. Joanna

    Every time this happens, the questions all start with "Why?" The focus is always on the motivation of the killer. But let's start asking another question: ""How?" How is it that this guy is entitled to own assault weapons? The reason is the NRA. The NRA will destroy any politician who even suggests tighter gun laws. So these events will continue to happen. I just wish the media would at least, DISCUSS this aspect–I don't even hear it any more. It was the same with the Virginia Tech tragedy. All anyone talked about was the crazy killer. But our laws allowed him to get his weapons. If they hadn't, the victims would be alive today.

    March 12, 2009 at 7:46 am |

    hi everyone reading! my heart goes out to the victims as well as the famlies and also the bystanders who had to witness such horrible acts. Please our societies, our communities, our country and the world we live lets find the root to the situations, lets get to know one a little better try show love at times, Doing this might save lives.

    March 12, 2009 at 5:36 am |
  6. Tibor

    Is there a connection between the two shootings? Can it really be just a coincidence? Is there a significance to this date, or did the two men have something in common? Anyone know?

    March 12, 2009 at 2:23 am |
  7. bobby coleman

    i am so sorry for the family my god bless them

    March 12, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  8. Margaret

    Guns very definitely do kill people. They are facilitators for people who want to harm others. Does anyone really believe that these mass murderers could accomplish these atrocities without guns? In most cases, they would be stopped, perhaps before they killed even one person.

    The FBI estimates that there are approximately 200 million guns in the US. Where are they? Are there 200 million licences? Is there any kind of mental stability test or can just anybody get a gun? Does anyone keep track of all these weapons? Is there a point at which someone might say, "Hey, enough guns already"?

    March 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  9. Franky

    It was crazy, huh? That is crazy, he was just shooting everywhere, I think he had some mental problems. Let's be fair, he went after his family and turned berserk...not normal by my count. He might have had some abnormal behavior and I think collected guns as well so you know how far that will be...

    Wait a minute guys, you guys still talking about the economy still?? You know, to give you a history lesson, Thoma Jefferson worked his ass off to get rid of our debt, considering he probably never paid the people he owed and let alone paying back for our debt...good luck fixing the economy guys! LOL!!

    Did you know that the 5 Presidents we first had, 3 of them passed away on on July 4th?? You see, even God was paying attention at that time so you better be on your best behavior, LOL!!

    March 11, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  10. peter

    If anyone carry legal pistol license then, it would have a good stop right there in to prevent from harm more people. How come there is nobody that carry the pistol to safeguard in the commmunity? Gun don't kill people . People kill people. My heart goes out those who lost the loves one.

    March 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  11. Isabel, Brazil

    Hi Cate and Anderson!
    Good evening...

    During this afternoon, my suggestion was exactly this: to discuss the reasons that lead people to such acts so insane, everywhere in the world.

    Yesterday in Alabama, today in Germany.

    Let’s think this American man or this young German. Let’s think that the despair was at the edge of the unbearable, the pain was more intense and live became a heavy burden and distressing.
    Do these people tried to express the sadness they felt, and nobody heard or understood? Why that life lost direction?

    These deaths frighten us, hurt us, silence us – a silence empty.

    The statistics are becoming increasing more. This is also a clear unequivocal expression of individual suffering and a serious public health problem.
    Governments need to take forward this issue!


    March 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    While Obama has a lot on his mind right now he should have taken a stand on this bill. Just because its a holdover from Bush is no excuse for just signing it with all those earmarks. You are either going to do something about earmarks or you are going to let the status quo continue – unfortunately Obama let the status quo win the day. In a financial recession brought on by greed and overspending, this would have been a good bill to take a stand on and set an example for the remainder of the country.

    March 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  13. Mo Alansi

    Sorry for the people who have witnessed the shootings and for the families, God bless them and let peace be with their families again

    thank you

    March 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  14. ywrenn

    this is so unreal it sounds like something out of a bad movie, is this what the world is coming to. The only thing worst then losing a family member is losing more then one at the same time. As one that have been threw it. The only thing I can say is put it the Lords hand. and let him pull you threw

    March 11, 2009 at 7:46 pm |

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