At least nine young lives were mercilessly snuffed out Thursday when a shooter opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Oregon. Dozens more were injured. One remains in critical condition.
It’s a tragic, tragic end to so many young lives. The survivors will likely deal with the emotional trauma for the rest of their time on earth.
The main question on everyone’s mind is, “Why?”
Over the next few days we’ll hear from politicians, experts and the mainstream media.
All will claim to have some insight into what causes someone to walk into a building and indiscriminately end the lives of innocent victims.
Depending on the person’s agenda, the two most likely talking points will center on easy access to firearms and lack of attention to a growing mental health problem.
I don’t really buy either – as a whole.
That’s not to say stricter gun laws wouldn’t have prevented the suspect from shooting people. I just tend to believe he’d have found a different medium with which to carry out his murderous rampage.
That’s also not to say I don’t believe this country has issues in dealing with the mentally ill. But I don’t necessarily buy into the fact that the overall percentage of the mentally ill, relative to our current population, is any higher today than it was 50 or 100 years ago. The difference being that 100 years ago the mentally ill were locked away in an institution with padded rooms.
I do believe there’s some merit to both arguments.
First, I don’t believe even the strongest of gun rights advocates would be opposed to preventing the mentally ill from owning a firearm.
Secondly, I don’t believe anyone can make a legitimate argument that our current mental health system is as effective as it should be – particularly when dealing with people who are of legal age.
Honestly, there’s no easy answer – regardless of what the so-called experts and politicians would have you believe.
What really irks me about the talking heads, specifically politicians, is they use these terrible tragedies to advance an agenda that makes them sound sympathetic, but, more importantly, speaks to whomever they think will get them reelected.
They’ll beat their collective chests for the next couple of weeks claiming stricter gun laws or different mental health policies would have absolutely prevented this awful event.
They’ll do that just long enough to satisfy their constituents and only as long as it’s a part of the news cycle.
Once this story has run its course, all of the fervor and gnashing of teeth over gun control and mental health issues will mysteriously disappear. And it will stay that way until the next shooting happens.
If people really want to prevent the next tragedy like this from happening, they’ll go to work today on finding a solution.
If not, expect to see them on camera with the same false, pandering outrage right after the next time a madman walks into a school and murders nine innocent people.