Bill O'Reilly's comments on the Umpqua Community College shooting were predictably odious:
"People around the world must wonder what's going on in the land of the free. And it is our freedom that allows insane individuals to kill so many people. Guns are legal in America under the Second Amendment." [...] "The mass murder today could not have been prevented by any legislation in my opinion."
As AI remarks:
Yes, you read that correctly, he says freedom, specifically the Second Amendment, allows people to murder others, and he doesn't believe anything can be done to stop it.
Not only are those disgusting, apathetic and revolting remarks, but it's also a monumental cop-out. [...] In fact, by pushing that idea, they are endorsing the next mass shooting.
Wonkette quotes Obama
Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let's be clear: at some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.
Guess we've been distracted by other issues since then. Oh well. If we can't get to it now, no rush, we can always deal with it after the next mass shooting. Or the one after that. Or maybe the one after that. Or the one after that ...
The shooter, not surprisingly, was a conservative Republican:
Perhaps the most revealing sources of what we know come from a blog he kept, interviews with a handful of people who knew him, and an online dating profile.
In that profile, at Spiritual Passions, Mercer used the name IRONCROSS45. The Iron Cross is known as a Nazi symbol. [...] Under Political Views he listed "conservative, republican," under Religious Views he listed "Not Religious, Not Religious, but Spiritual."
Limbaugh is full of shit, as usual, with his assertion that the shooter was a Democrat:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: The shooters are always mentality disturbed or -- they're just -- they have allegiances and loyalties to some of the oddest, most deranged famous organizations and people in the world. [...] The people that are shooting up schools more than likely vote democrat when you get right down to it, if they vote.
HuffPo reminds us about the bigger picture--that 36 people die every day from gun violence:
A gunman killed at least 10 people and wounded seven before police fatally shot him. It marked the 45th shooting on a school campus this year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group pushing for legislative reforms to reduce gun violence. It was the 142nd shooting at a school since the December 2012 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
"That toll," the piece continues, "makes Wednesday a relatively peaceful day in the U.S.:"
An average of more than three times that many people have been killed by guns each day this year, which has seen more than 9,900 gun deaths so far. More than 20,000 people have been injured by guns in 2015.
Following from this Telegraph article, Addicting Info identifies a hero in the carnage, writing that "without the bravery of Chris Mintz, it is very likely that many more citizens would have lost their lives when the 26-year-old shooter struck the college."
30-year-old Mintz had just completed 10 years in the U.S. Army, and moved to Oregon to take care of his six-year-old son. He was enjoying his very first week at UCC, training to become a fitness trainer. He must have felt sheer disbelief when he heard the familiar sound of gunfire on Thursday morning, so far from the battlefields he thought he'd left behind.
But instead of running away, he ran toward the danger, committed to use his experience to save the civilian students on campus.
"His aunt, Wanda Mintz, told Q13Fox what happened""
"[He] Tries to block the door to keep the gunman from coming in gets shot three times hits the floor looks up at gunman and says its my son's birthday today, gets shot two more times."
It's time we stopped making killers famous, which is why he won't be named in this piece. We'd like you to make sure that instead, the heroic actions of Chris Mintz become the legend and the lesson from Oregon.
Slate calls out cheap handguns, as "Roseburg joins Charleston, Isla Vista, Newtown, Aurora, and Oak Creek on the long list of small towns and quiet cities marred by horrific gun violence." Slate also quotes journalist Jill Leovy:
For most of America's post-Emancipation history, officials were indifferent to violence against blacks, either from whites or from other blacks. "When people are stripped of legal protection and placed in desperate straits, they are more, not less, likely to turn on each other," says Leovy. Taken together, these conditions breed violence, which is why black homicide rates have always been higher than ones for whites. [...]
Put simply, our focus on Roseburg-style shootings--as much it makes sense--obscures the extent to which most victims of gun homicide are poor, black, and live in America's most isolated communities.
WaPo contextualizes the Oregon shooting:
Charleston. Lafayette. Virginia. Now, Roseburg Oregon. But beneath the steady drumbeat of these high-profile cases lay the hundreds daily mass shootings that most of us never hear about. 11 wounded in a Georgia barroom. Six shot outside a Tulsa nightclub. A pregnant mom and grandmother killed, an infant wounded in Chicago.
We've gone no more than eight days without one of these incidents this year.
After more depressing statistics, WaPo is exasperated: "These numbers only tell the smallest part of the story. And these very numbers will need to be updated again tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that."
In reference to Obama's speech, Addicting Info points out that "Oregon's will be the 294th mass shooting in just 274 days. America now averages more than one 4+ victim shootings a day:"
The sheer obviousness of America's gun problem and our inability to do a single thing about it, had President Obama, whose presidency must seem to him like a never ending series of somber statements expressing condolences to gun shot victims' families, was "visibly angry and frustrated" when he hastily met reporters in the press briefing room to speak about Oregon. His anger was understandable.
Despite the daily massacre happening on American streets due to guns, Congress has stonewalled any attempt to even tweak gun laws to make them better. Instead, Republicans - flush with NRA cash - have actually spent the last few years rolling back many existing gun restrictions - an act comparable to enthusiastically pouring more water onto the decks of an already sinking ship.
Of course, conservatives are blaming "gun-free zones":
It did not take long for [conservative personalities and gun activists] to pin the blame on "gun-free zones"--the worst of liberal do-gooders' awful deeds--regardless of whether the Umpqua Community College campus was one such zone (it wasn't).
In order to win, "The passive majority needs to become the vocal majority:"
Those who support modest, "common-sense" gun control need to make that position top priority, right up there with jobs and the economy. Obama would be among the first to acknowledge that this won't be easy. But with our clunky system of government, where enacting even the most modest of changes on anything is a Herculean effort, it's the only way.
Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee proved Obama's prediction correct that "Somebody somewhere will comment and say, 'Obama politicized this issue.'"
With few facts, Obama is quick to politicize this tragedy to advance his liberal, anti-gun agenda. #USSshooting
-- Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) October 2, 2015
Obama can shamelessly try and exploit any tragedy he wants, but it's clear that gun free zones are sitting duck zones. #UCCshooting
-- Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) October 2, 2015
"This is something we should politicize," Obama said on Thursday. "It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic."
The shooter's 13-gun arsenal is also relevant:
Investigators recovered 13 guns linked to the Oregon community college shooter, all of which were purchased legally, a federal official said in a press conference Friday.
Celinez Nunez, the assistant special agent in charge of the Seattle division of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms And Explosives, said six guns were recovered at Umpqua Community College in the wake of a shooting massacre on Thursday that left 10 dead, including the shooter. Another seven guns were found at the gunman's residence.
In this open letter to lawmakers, Melissa Duclos explains what it was like on her "second day of class as a writing instructor at a community college in Oregon." She writes that "According to my school's Emergency Response Guide, I am told what to do if that shooter does in fact enter our classroom:"
"There is no one procedure that can be recommended in this situation," the manual informs me with grim honesty, before adding, "[i]f you must fight, fight to win and survive."
Fight to survive. I am a teacher, with a master's degree in creative writing, and this is part of my job.
She also explains how this affects elementary school kids, including her own son:
At 5 years old he and his classmates, in addition to learning reading and math, will be walked through lockdown drills by a teacher who will likely be hiding an immense terror as she has students practice finding a cozy place to hide and times how long they can remain quiet. It will probably seem like a game to him at first, but eventually my son and the rest of America's schoolchildren who are learning the same lessons will ask why. Why have we allowed our schools to become a place where children must hide, and teachers must fight to survive?
Her words to lawmakers are spot-on:
This week, when I speak to my students about what happened at Umpqua and about our own emergency procedures, what do you advise I say after I explain that the stapler and whiteboard markers -- the only classroom supplies I have in my room -- are critical to our survival?
I could tell them that your thoughts and prayers are with us. I could tell them we have your deepest sympathies. But I am teaching a class on argument, instructing my students on the importance of facts. So instead I will tell them the truth: They have to be prepared to hide out of the line of fire, and I to fight for our survival, because you, our lawmakers, haven't done your jobs. I will tell them that their rights, my rights, the rights of my 5-year-old, to attend school without fear of facing senseless slaughter by machine-gun fire, are not important to you, that we must be prepared to fight tooth and nail, stapler and whiteboard marker, because you refuse to fight the gun lobby in this country.
The next time you have an opportunity to sponsor or vote on common-sense gun legislation, instead of fearing the attack ads the gun lobby will undoubtedly launch against you, the lost campaign revenue, or the threat to your job, I hope that you think of me and my students, of the rest of the educators and students across the country, who have been asked to stand up to gunmen because you are too scared to stand up to a handful of lobbyists.