Editorial: Campus Shooting Points to Necessary Change

Last week, when nine people were killed in a senseless shooting at an Oregon community college, the national dialogue launched into what has become, as President Barack Obama stated, a “routine.”

Many on the left were quick to note that the shooting was far from an isolated incident. Many media websites, like Vox, were quick to point out that the school shooting had been one of many in recent years, despite the fact that not every shooting receives the same publicity. According to Everytown, a pro-gun regulation group, there have been 142 shootings in American schools alone since January 2013. The incidents have killed 73 and injured more than 100, the site states.

President Obama’s own remarks struck a tone of frustration, saying that the American public had “become numb to this.”

He continued, “And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out. ‘We need more guns,’ they’ll argue. ‘Fewer gun-safety laws.’”

He then asked: “Does anybody really believe that?”

Columnists and media pundits weighed in, too, though perhaps The Onion, in a satirical article it circulates after every shooting, made the point most succinctly with the headline, “No Way to Prevent This, Says Only Country Where this Regularly Happens.”

The attempts to capitalize on the Oregon shooting were seen by Republicans as an attempt to politicize the issue, however, resulting in critical comments from Republican Presidential candidates.

“Imagine a politician politicizing something,” Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and current GOP candidates said during an interview. “When do we get to the point where we have people who actually want to solve our problems rather than just politicize everything? I think that’s what the American people are so sick and tired of.”

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and current GOP candidate, said, “There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

Donald Trump, the business mogul and GOP candidate, said that he supports the ownership of assault weapons and said that shootings are unpreventable. In an interview he said, “No matter what you do — guns, no guns, it doesn’t matter — you have people that are mentally ill, and they’re going to come through the cracks, and they’re going to do things that people will not even believe are possible.”

Call it a routine, call it a ritual, but the cycle will continue unless our politicians at the state and federal level enact tougher restrictions on guns.

Though bold, the plan proposed by Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate, is a notable blueprint of further action. The plan, for instance, includes a mix of new legislation as well as executive action and would expand background checks and close several loopholes in federal policy. Other candidates on the left, like Bernie Sanders, may not support federal action on gun control, but advocate for action in state legislatures.

In the meantime, many GOP candidates will continue to oppose restrictions and even advocate for easier purchasing laws, like many politicians in Texas are doing.

The refrain from the right is that there is “No way to prevent this.” This could not be any further from the truth.

There is one comment

  1. judycar

    This is not an attempt to put down any comments that anyone has made about these shootings. I’m not responding to their comments. I couldn’t help but notice that in almost every one of these school shootings, someone has noticed something they describe as “strange” about the shooter. Even though this is noticed before the shooting, it is not mentioned until it is too late. After the shootings, we find out from the police or other authorities that the shooter has a mental disorder. Isn’t this important? Shouldn’t we do more about people who have a mental disorder and discover those who need help? If we notice that a person is “strange” or “different” or doesn’t say things in a way others think of as “normal,” why do we turn our backs on those persons? Maybe we should think it our responsibility to look after each other. If we see that someone needs our attention with strange behavior or strange comments, couldn’t we talk to the person, find out if we can help them in any way, turn them over to a specialist for more help? We just say they’re strange and feel no sense of responsibility toward these people at all? Sometimes it sounds as if those who are reporting this “peculiar behavior” are proud that they have noticed it. Maybe if we gave these people attention, treated them with dignity and respect and made them feel loved and like they are a person, rather than as “peculiar” and include them in whatever we do (especially in schools where they can be included in study groups and group work), we could stop some of this violence. If we could stop waiting for someone else to do something and begin with ourselves, we could possibly see a little difference.
    The other thing that has been discussed is background checks. To discover what? In the Oregon shooting, police found an arsenal of guns and Mercer’s mother also had twenty-six guns in her home. How many guns does a person need? Her son was 26 years old. How many guns would he need? At 26, if he continued buying them, by 50, how many guns would he have accumulated? Why does a person need that many guns? Do soldiers even have that many? Or police officers? In most all of these school shootings, the shooter had a car full of guns and when the police went to their homes, they found a room full of guns. Aside from a complete psychological report on each person requesting to purchase a gun, the requester needs to give a written explanation as to why they need a gun. In addition, each state should include an age requirement for anyone who wants to buy a gun, limit the number of guns a person can buy and limit the variety of guns a person can own. No one needs as many guns as these people who have misused them. This may not be the complete answer to this problem, but it could be a start.


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