Gun murders in America fell by four percent last year to just over 8,100 and they are down by nearly one-fifth in the last 10 years. Yet nonexistent increases in gun violence are cited often to gin up support for new limits on the right to bear arms. Panic is used to justify solutions that limit freedom, but have never proven to work. Gun control advocacy presents the most obvious example of the panic culture...
From a Washington Examiner editorial which appeared on the op-ed page of yesterdays, The Oklahoman.
That editorial was going to be the subject of a post on this blog yesterday. However, while doing a little research on the Examiner--it was founded and is owned by Philip Anschutz, the same guy who owns, The Oklahoman--the news from Umpqua Community College in Oregon broke and the day took on that otherworldly, yet all too familiar stench. Suddenly, any sort of assault on the logic of an anonymous right wing hack seemed like it would come off shallow when compared to brutal reality.
Indeed, why argue against some deeply delusional conservative phantasm when it was terribly obvious it was just another day in the United States and yet another bat shit crazy guy armed to the teeth had gone horribly amok on a school campus? After all, it's almost as if this sort of thing is running on a revolving loop of tape that replays itself continuously.
Watching the first reports of these horror show episodes is always a surreal trip. The three major cable news outlets, in their rush to be the first to break some new detail, will repeat any sort of convoluted rumor coming from the scene without any regard to accuracy. It isn't any better on the internet.
The initial indications were 15 dead and 20 wounded. As the afternoon wore on the number of killed varied anywhere from 13 to 17. Then, the shooter was either down, or neutralized, but no one was sure what those terms meant. There was even a report he had been seen sitting calmly on a sidewalk in cuffs. The level of gibberish was so bad none of them could even get the distance between Roseburg, the site of the shooting, to Portland straight. Depending on who you were watching it ranged anywhere from 160 to 260 miles--the actual distance is 176 miles.
Today the count is 10 dead, including the perp and seven are wounded. His motive, while still not entirely clear, appeared to be religious in nature. According to at least one witness he would ask victims to stand and name their brand of faith. If they said Christian he would shoot for the head. Anything else caused him to aim at the their bodies, or limbs.
To the chagrin of Islamaphobes everywhere, the shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer, doesn't appear to be a Muslim either by birth, or conversion. In fact on one social media outlet he describes himself as, "shy, conservative, and not religious."
The rest of it we've heard before. Neighbors both in Oregon and California, where he had lived previously, describe a loner and socially awkward man who was utterly uncomfortable during conversations; one who was watched over closely by a clinging mother. So much so several neighbors only contact with her was when she would complain to them that their kids, or dogs were making too much noise and it was upsetting her boy. They say her son dressed almost exclusively in green military style pants tucked into black boots and white tee shirts.
Then there are the guns, because there are always the guns. A neighbor in California told a reporter he once asked Harper-Mercer if he owned a weapon. The answer he received was non-committal at best, but Harper-Mercer did say he enjoyed target shooting.
This morning an ATF agent, addressing the media in Roseburg, said they found six weapons belonging to Chris Harper-Mercer at the campus of Umpqua Community College along with a flak jacket. At his home they discovered another seven. All were bought legally.
Well of course they were.
On August 31st, a week after two television journalists were murdered by a former co-worker on live TV in Virginia, the web site of station WDBJ in Roanoke received this post, "On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him (the shooter, Vester Flanagan) are alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood the whole world knows who they are." The entry went on to say, "A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone, his face is splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill the more you are in the limelight."
The screen named used by the author of the post has allegedly been linked to Harper-Mercer.
There was a candlelight vigil held near the campus of UCC last night. Everyone sang, "Amazing Grace" and it was all quite beautiful and moving. We have that part of this gruesome theater of the absurd down pat. What we can't figure out is how to stop it from happening. Thanks to the savage beasts running the NRA and the rest of the lunatic fringe I doubt we ever will.
And--for those of you keeping track--at 6:15 pm Central Daylight Time last night, approximately five and one half hours after the news of the deadly shooting broke, some evil wanker using the screen name, "Bigger Than Race," went on You Tube claiming the entire massacre in Roseburg, OR was faked by the federal government. By the time I got there his demented screed already had 197 views and all the comments agreed with his twisted assessment of the nightmare. Trust me, more of that insane shit will be coming.
Such is the nature of gun lovers in 21st century America.
sic vita est