“When I text my kiddos they usually respond quickly and, almost always with a smiley face,” Moira Betts wrote. “I, of course, delight in responding back but may go overboard with lots of stars and smileys and other things. This was pointed out to me today....Connor- ‘I regret ever teaching you about emojis.’ 😂😂😂😂😂”
As police were telling it on Sunday, 24-year-old Connor killed his 22-year-old sister, Megan, and injured a male friend before stepping out of his car in Dayton and murdering seven other innocents with an assault rifle, such as another mass shooter had used to murder 22 in El Paso less than 24 hours before. Connor had a high-capacity drum magazine that could hold more than double the bullets than the one the El Paso shooter had, and he could have killed many more had the police not stopped him.
Connor appears not to have left a manifesto or other online rantings as the accused El Paso shooter did. No hint of his dark side is apparent in the seemingly happy family photos that his mother and sister posted on Facebook. Connor and Megan appear to be particularly fond of each other.
One photo the mother posted in 2017 shows Connor and Megan sitting smiling together in a dining area at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dayton.
“My loves. So proud to be their mom! ❤️” the mother wrote.
Another picture she posted that year shows Connor and Megan together in the historic district of Wilmington, Delaware. Connor stands beside his sister, his arm over her shoulder, seeming loving and a touch protective.
“This may be my most favorite picture ever! ❤️” Moira wrote. “... feeling loved.”
A photo posted the day before St. Patrick’s Day in 2018 shows mother, son, and daughter celebrating their Irish heritage at the Dublin Pub on Wayne Avenue in Dayton, just two blocks from where Connor would murder eight innocents after murdering Megan 16 months later.
Following the April post in which she declared herself a very lucky mama, Moira posted another picture of her son and daughter, whom she again called “my loves.” She also posted a description of what seems to be a happy household.
“My house is an awful lot like a service station- people are always going in and out, we never close, lights are always on and someone is always standing in front of the refrigerator looking for food,” she wrote.
Connor had worked at a Marathon gas station in Manorville, Ohio, from July 2014 to September 2017, when he took a job at Chipotle in Centerville, by his account because it better fit his schedule when he enrolled in college to study psychology.
“I was their go-to guy for anything that needed done - changing lights, painting the walls, covering shifts. Beyond that, I worked the weekend shifts for 3 years - Friday through Sunday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.,” Connor wrote on LinkedIn of his time at Marathon. “Unfortunately, I started school and Chipotle, and I had to drop Marathon.”
Megan had also gone on to college, to study biological sciences. She worked as a tour guide at the Missoula Smokejumper Visitor Center.
“I’m a hardworking employee who understands company loyalty and the need to do the best for our customers,” Megan wrote on LinkedIn of her work there. “Always tries to find a way to make sure everyone’s happy. An expert with time management and very organized.”
Megan also posted photos of herself with her brother, though she was less given to emojis than is her mother.
Along with the pictures of her kids, Moira posted a cover photo of what appears to be her collection of ceramic figures representing the Virgin Mary. A miniature framed portrait of the Virgin is nestled among them.
The police arrived on Sunday to search what appears in the Facebook glimpses to have been a happy home, where they reportedly discovered writings by Connor that indicated a fascination with killing.
No background check could have detected a dangerousness that seems to have eluded Connor’s own mother. The only answer in the wake of yet another mass shooting is simply to ban weapons.
In the representations that Moira favors, the Virgin looks serene more than sorrowful. Those of her faith can only pray it is not beyond the means of even the Blessed Mother to comfort this unfathomably unlucky Ohio mother of both a mass shooter and one of the first of his victims.