By Tiana Rooney
In Oregon, the first day of October was greeted with mourning when a gunman*, who was a student at Umpqua Community College, opened fire on the campus, killing nine people — eight of which were fellow students, the other one a retired professor who had returned to teaching this semester —and injuring nine others. The shooter himself, who had been heavily armed, was rumored to have committed suicide after being wounded while exchanging gunfire with local police.
According to authorities, the gunman had been the owner of 13 weapons, six of which were recovered at the crime scene. It has been speculated that the shooting was the result of the gunman’s mental state, suffering from severe depression, however a decisive motive has yet to be determined. As one student recounted, the gunman had claimed that he had been, “waiting to do this for years,” before shooting a professor at the college at point blank.
Investigations into the shooter’s background revealed that he had been enlisted in the United States Army for only a few months before he was discharged for a failure to meet the administrative standards the military requires, and his MySpace told of the gunman being sympathetic towards the IRA and their principles. Despite this, people who knew him described the shooter as a shy and reserved person, and friendly, especially in small groups.
Like so many tragedies this one was not without a hero, in this case an army veteran named Chris Mintz. Mintz had sustained several gunshot wounds as he charged at the gunman in the midst of his rampage, sounding a fire alarm to alert others in the building of the threat before doing so. Despite his wounds (bullet wounds in his hands, back, and abdomen, as well as two broken legs), Mintz has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
In response to the shooting, President Barack Obama traveled to Oregon to visit the campus and offer his condolences to the victims and their families. Addressing the nation publically, Obama stressed the need to put an end to all the tragic school shootings that have, sadly, become all too commonplace in today’s society, desperately asking, “the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.”
*The name of the shooter will not be named in this article for the reason that too often when tragedy strikes the killer’s name is remembered but not the victims. Therefore, I wanted this article to be used to honor the victims, rather than glorify the shooter, granting him the spotlight and attention that he sought in committing this crime.