Light the candles. Ring the bells. Bring out the photos and say the names. Two years ago today, 9 people were left dead when a young man with many guns and crazy ideas decided to shoot people. The scene this time was at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
In our country we are called on to remember the anniversaries of mass shootings like they are holidays or birthdays. What is an anniversary? Isn’t it supposed to be a celebration of some kind? Instead, families have to wake up in the morning and remember that two years yesterday, their loved one or friend was still alive and going about their daily business. No thoughts that the next day, they would get the phone call telling them that their loved one was murdered by a crazed gunman on a college campus.
It turns out that the shooter left a “manifesto” behind that he wanted law enforcement and others to see. Often shooters like this want the attention after a shooting they commit and like to see themselves in the news. There is definitely something sick about that. But this young man shot and killed himself as also often happens. But he left his crazed and distorted thoughts behind him.
From the article:
…shot himself in the head after he was wounded by police. Authorities found nine guns stashed in his backpack, in a college restroom and at his home.
In the document, the 26-year-old community college student wrote that he is part of a “demonic Hierarchy” and will become a demon when he dies and return “to kill again and again” after possessing someone else.
He makes it clear that he idolizes other mass shooters and says he has studied their methods but faults them for not killing more people or for not killing police officers.
He also paints himself as a “loser,” with nothing to live for and no successes in life.
“My whole life has been one lonely enterprise. One loss after another. And here I am, 26, with no friends, no job, no girlfriend, a virgin,” he wrote.
“But for people like me there is another world, a darker world that welcomes us. For people like us this (is) all that’s left,” he wrote. “My success in Hell is assured.”
This is an American tragedy.
If we had any common sense we would get to work to do something to keep guns away from people like this. Our leaders lack courage. The public believes that nothing can be done. We get desensitized to the carnage.
The thing is, candles, prayers, thoughts, bells ringing and flowers are just not enough. They won’t bring back the lives lost. We may feel a bit better or we may feel a bit worse after we do something to assuage our guilt and remember an deadly day.
We want action.
I ask you to picture your own child, sister, brother, parent or good friend lying in a pool of blood after being shot by someone who should never have been able to get 9 guns let alone one. And then I ask you to think about what you would do about this?
Your life would be shattered and devastated as were the lives of the victims. Even the shooter’s family can never be the same. The ripple effect of gun violence is wide. We will never know what these victims ( and all shooting victims) would have contributed to society. We have lost their potential and are left with memories and celebrating an anniversary of their deaths.
What does the corporate gun lobby do on these anniversary days?
I’m just asking.
We are better than this.
Treven Taylor Anspach, 20
Rebecka Carnes, 18
Lucero Alcaraz, 19
Lucas Eibel, 18
Jason Johnson, 34
Quinn Cooper, 18
Sarena Dawn Moore, 44
Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59