- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 07 October 2015
- Written by ALYSSA TRITSCHLER | CLUB AND GREEK EDITOR
Oregon Shooting Has Obama And Nation Looking For Answers
On Thursday, Oct. 1, a total of ten people were killed and seven injured in Roseburg, OR after a gunman open fired on the Umpqua Community College campus. Douglas County Sherriff John Hanlin reports the shooter, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, was pronounced dead after a shoot-out with the police.
While authorities had not reported a motive for the shooting, CNN reported Mercer had targeted Christians, according to student Anastasia Boylan, who had been in one of the classrooms Mercer open fired on. Boylan recalls the shooter telling Christian students to stand up, because “[They were] going to see God in just about one second.”
Following the shooting, President Barack Obama addressed the nation. Obama opened his speech showing a look of anger and disappointment across his face as he told the country, “There are more American families, mom’s, dads’, children, whose lives have been changed forever. That means there’s another community stunned with grief, and communities across the country forced to relieve their own anguish, and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their families.”
The emotional statement resonated with Obama as he told the nation he has been to Roseburg, OR, a town he recalls to be filled with “really good people.”
Obama continued with telling the nation that our thoughts and prayers are not enough, and that they cannot prevent another act such as this from occurring in the future. Unfortunately, only three days after the Oregon shooting, the FBI and ATF released due to a threat of violence at a college or university near the Philadelphia Area. The attack was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5.
Widener University, located approximately 14 miles from Philadelphia, took extra pre-cautions.
“It was a really scary day for everyone at Widener. We were all on edge and classes were optional even though nobody went,” said senior Deneen Dougherty. “Campus Safety and the police were all over today, but it didn’t make the worrying go away. It’s a terrible feeling to not feel safe on your college campus.”
Samantha Parent, a senior at Gwynedd Mercy University which is located directly outside of Philadelphia, also noticed a high number of patrol officers at her school on Monday, Oct. 5 and Tuesday, Oct. 6.
“It was an eerie feeling pulling onto campus with cop cars in front of every building. Growing up, you’re told that school is a place where you are always safe and it is scar to know that isn’t entirely true anymore,” she said.
According to 6ABC, the threat was posted to an online site, 4chan, and read “On October fifth, at 1pm Central time, a fellow robot will take up arms at a university near Philadelphia.” The deadline passed without an incident occurring.
The President confirms from the polling institute that majority of American’s agree, including registered gun owners, that a change is necessary regarding common gun safety laws. He compares the U.S. to our allies, Australia and Great Britain, both of which have crafted gun safety laws and practically demolished the gun violence that America is being faced with so frequently.
“The only sustainable, logical solution I could see towards fixing our gun violence problem isn’t gun-control legislation (which rarely produces a reduction in crime) or mental-health legislation, because it’s a media issue. Networks and media outlets need to stop glamorizing violence altogether,” said Christopher Tappan, a senior double majoring in political science and homeland security. Tappan continued to credit CNN Connecticut, an outlet that refused to name the killer and publicize his mission.
The President also asked the media to come forward with facts documenting the number of Americans killed due to terrorists’ attacks in comparison to Americans who have been killed by gun violence within the past decade.
With that being said, International Security reported that the total number of people killed by deadly jihadist attacks is 26, while the total number of deadly right wing attacks to be 48. This does not include the two journalists shot and killed on live television this past Aug., or the ten people killed in OR. That brings the total of Americans killed due to gun violence to 60 in comparison to the 26 who have been killed due to terrorist attacks since 2002.
Obama explains how the process of changing gun safety laws will take more than just himself. It takes the help of the American public, voting for a future President who makes this issue a top priority, as well as the help of congress, state legislators, and governors, who are willing to work with him and allow the President to collect data regarding how to reduce gun violence. Obama stated in his press conference that as of now, congress has explicitly blocked this data from being gathered.
Joe Patten, Chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department, explained that there have been multiple peaks throughout the history of the gun control controversy. During the Reagan Administration, the Grady Bill caused an uprising. The bill called for a cooling off period, where after making the decision to purchase a gun, it could not be picked up for a few days.
The motive behind the bill was to keep individuals from causing harm to others in the heat of the moment, but was later dissolved by instant background checks. During the Clinton Administration, the Assault Weapons Ban was put into place, which limited the types of weaponry people could purchase. The law had a 10 year clause. Still in effect is the gun show loophole. While background checks are required for those purchasing guns in stores, those purchasing guns from gun shows, or flea markets, are not required to take a background check.
According to Patten, 40 percent of guns purchased are purchased at gun shows, and over 90 percent of the public opinion believes the gun show loophole should be demolished. Democrats have proposed to close the loophole, however, the decision has not been passed by congress.
All of this has promoted Obama to say, “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth, in which we do not have common sense and gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings.”
IMAGE TAKEN from CNN.com