Tragically we had another deadly school shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter in this scenario was described by those who knew him collected a variety of guns and was a quiet, loner with no friends; except of course “those” who reportedly he appeared to associate with on various Internet sites some of whom may have in some fashion encouraged him in his plan to enter onto his school campus and shoot innocent students on said campus. The latest news reporting also advised he may have gone on web sites that presented information on mass shootings. According to an article in the New York Times, the shooter purchased all his guns legally from either a gun store or other family members. The article went on to indicate that the shooter had issues with “Christians” and was “suffering from all sorts of self-worth issues.” The article continues by saying that one of the fathers of a female student advised that prior to shooting his victims the shooter would ask those he confronted if they were Christian. Once he identified that they were he would shoot them. (This was also verified by later news interviews of that same individual.)
So once again, we have a very similar set of circumstances leading to a terrible outcome. We have a loner, who has mental health issues combined with a twisted outlook on a particular topic combined with the use of social media; something that these folks go to for comfort, direction, and a way of having some type of human contact (albeit anonymous) that they so crave. The other factor is that this shooter as have others utilized a group of weapons that he had access to.
Knowing all this, once again President Obama and others in our government immediately goes to the issue of more gun control. I beg to differ. We need more police agencies adopting a greater threat assessment footprint no matter what their size so that when someone does come to them with information about a person like our shooter they can profile the subject and take action. We also need the parents of individuals like these to step up and take action. In short be a parent. If you have a child who presents with a mental disorder as well as a gun collection, that would be a big no, no. I for one am getting extremely tired of hearing parents, relatives and close associates saying, well I had no idea he was going to use his guns to kill anyone, or he was acting out, but I thought it was just a phase he or she was going through. MENTAL ILLNESS AND GUNS DON’T MIX. If any potential shooter had been found to have mental health issues, and that information was entered into most state’s data bases, the subject attempting to purchase the weapon would not have been able to legally obtain the guns from an authorized gun dealer. (Unfortunately, even persons who may be construed as a dangerous who seek out mental health treatment do not get into the system for a variety of reasons. It is unknown if this subject ever was treated for his mental issues; even though he reportedly attended a special school for persons with disabilities. Again, many who eventually commit violent crimes are never treated.) Then it is up to his relatives to use a little common sense and not sell him a weapon as a private party transaction.
Lastly, and I preach this when I teach all the time. Schools, no matter how safe their administrations think they are, need to hire well-trained armed security personnel. (It is unknown if the campus at this Oregon Junior College had armed security.) There are two reasons for this. One, if armed personnel are conspicuous on campus; statistics have shown that it may well thwart an assailant because most are cowards and don’t want the confrontation so they will move on to another target. Two, if an attack transpires, well-trained security has been shown to defuse the threat in a timely fashion thus reducing or eliminating any casualties. School personnel must also be trained in what to look for while they interact with their students on a regular basis.
We all need to keep in mind that we have numerous individuals in our midst, with or without mental health issues, who are not “political terrorists” who are planning their attacks with the help of the Internet and other factors even in what appears to be the safest communities in our country.