This time it’s an Oregon community of modest means. Roseburg, with a population of around 25,000 citizens and a median household income of roughly $10,000 less than the national average: The latest national gun obscenity centered on Umpqua Community College, that lists a Roseburg address. The college of 3,000 full-time students, was the scene of the latest senseless gun massacre in the U.S.
The dead and wounded stats from the early release of this story are probably going to fall short of the final numbers. News organizations are reporting 10 dead and at least 7 injured. Columbine’s final death toll was 13 victims plus the suicides of the two perpetrators. Newtown’s Sandy Hook school shooting cost 20 lives of children averaging seven years of age. Add 6 school personnel, the shooter’s mother and the suicide of the mass killer and the number rises to 28 dead. Virginia Tech claimed 33 deaths in 2007.
The Umpqua killings were apparently carried out by 26-year-old shooter, Chris Harper Mercer, with three pistols and an AR(ArmaLite)-15 semi-auto assault rifle. It probably used .223 ammo; nasty stuff if true. He’ll fit the sad and dangerous profile of most mass killers. Low self-esteem, a huge vessel of hatred and resentment against somebody and the willingness to die for whatever perverse reasoning drove his heinous action.
Firearms, notwithstanding, Mercer was shot dead in a firefight with law enforcement. Suicide by cop.
Much has been made in this era of social media of the fact that these killings were pre-announced by the perpetrator. The response varied from people calling him out as a complete fool to others egging on his terrible implicit threat on the Internet. You can see these entries here and decide for yourself. CNN reported the discovery of A cell phone, apparently belonging to the gunman, that revealed an extensive online presence where the killer complained about his relationships with woman who he blames for most of his failures. There were also certain people named he “hated.” He apparently favored YouTube and Snapchat.
Sandy Hook killer, Adam Lanza, age 20, was another hugely troubled youth obsessed with Internet chatting through gun message boards, according to the Hartford Courant. He was also given to correcting Wikipedia when mass murders were featured.
President Obama once again addressed the nation regarding a mass shooting. He could barely conceal his anger and frustration. In a thinly-veiled reference to the National Rifle Association, the president suggested press releases were already being written bearing excuses for the latest multiple deaths. The president recognizes the long and likely bumpy road ahead of his latest of his national pleas for reasonable gun laws. My colleague, Jason Easley has a full report on the president’s statement.
Clearly, the continuance of these mass murders can easily be tracked to the lack of legislative courage, driven by the NRA, to do what other civilized countries have done; mount legislation that will virtually eliminate mass shootings. At the same time, the shooters are generally possessed of serious mental challenges. In response, absurd state legislatures continue to cut funding to all treatment facilities and professional mental health doctors, therapist and other services. We have the most dense concentration of clueless state legislatures (mostly Republican controlled) that we’ve had in modern history and it’s costing, at minimum, hundreds of thousands of lives in shootings and other physical and mental health issues. The Affordable Care Act that carries a mental health component is the target of Republican legislators and presidential aspirants who want to repeal the president’s plan.
If a classroom floor of dead precious children won’t move the gun control dial in America, nothing will. I have no hope that anything meaningful will happen in any state legislatures or congress. Elected officials are terrified of the NRA and gun extremists. Those who have worked for decades for reform, such as the late Jim and Sarah Brady have without witnessing meaningful reform.
So, for those of you unwilling to give up even one of your basement loaded with guns, may your selfishness be recognized at the pearly gates, because we all know how much you love Jesus and indifference to the deaths of young children is a guarantee our Lord and Savior will welcome you with open arms. And we know how much you love arms.
As for the latest ten fatalities, may they Rest in Peace and my greatest condolences to their families and loved ones. And let me add my apologies for the radical politicians directly responsible for the deaths of these wonderful people.