Terror stuck Thursday morning at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a small town 150 miles south of Portland, where a single shooter perpetrated a massacre that killed ten and injured seven. The assailant was later killed in an engagement with police officers. The quick response time of law enforcement officers has been credited for preventing even further carnage.
Shots were first reported at 10:38 am, with numerous 911 calls and terrified Tweets sent by those barricaded inside classrooms. Law enforcement officials report that the shooter had plenty of ammunition and was possibly wearing body armor. Numerous witness accounts claim a possible religious motive by the gunman, who reportedly ordered Christians to stand up, and subsequently shot them. Other motives behind the shooting are unknown and but may be uncovered once authorities finish investigating the gunman’s apartment and electronic activity. Law enforcement officials are looking further at a connection between the mass murder and a post on the internet forum 4chan that foreshadowed the shooting.
This latest addition to the nation’s long list of school shootings comes nearly a year after a student at Marysville, WA shot and killed four people before taking his own life, the most recent school shooting that resulted in multiple fatalities. Every year, this country witnesses several mass shootings, many targeting the most vulnerable individuals: shoppers, unarmed service members, and students.
President Obama delivered an emotional and heartfelt address commenting on the crisis of mass shootings and the lack of progress in confronting these issues at hand. He addressed this trend of inaction, labelling the cycle of death, political discussion, and media response in the aftermath as “routine.” While urging Americans to send their prayers to the victims, he expressed his frustration in the political gridlock preventing any change from occurring.
Obama urged the passage of common sense gun control laws, stating that “it cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.” The president ended on a melancholy note, indicating his doubt that would this be the last time he would address the American people over another mass shooting, but that meaningful change is still a possibility. “I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again… to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as president I cannot guarantee that. And that is terrible to say. And it can change.”
Roseburg, Oregon, “Timber Capital of the Nation,” is – or was – a quiet community far from any large metropolitan areas. For a disaster like this to occur in such a tranquil and rural environment is a testament to the fact that these horrible events can happen anywhere, any time, without warning or indication. Just because the idea of a tragedy like this is “out of character” for a community in no way guarantees safety from the depraved actions of a sole individual.
We at M-A should understand that we are not exempt from the threat of evil and insanity. The sad truth is that it has become necessary to be on guard for troubling or suspicious actions, lest we fall prey to the same horrific force that has destroyed a small community in Oregon, one that undoubtedly never once thought that they would be the victims of such terror.
Photo and video credit to Wiki Commons.