A little known, little discussed fact: the Umpqua Community College mass shooting happened in a deeply conservative community. One that supports its citizens’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. The New York Times, of all people, explored the “irony” of that. Like this . . .
A week has passed since J. J. Vicari huddled underneath a desk while gunshots exploded in the classroom next door. Now he is thinking about guns. Not about tightening gun laws, as President Obama urged after nine people were killed at the community college here. But about buying one for himself.
“It’s opened my eyes,” said Mr. Vicari, 19. “I want to have a gun in the house to protect myself, to protect the people I’m with. I’m sure I’ll have a normal life and never have to go through anything like this, but I want to be sure.”
As the article reveals, Mr. Vicar is hardly alone in his views on gun rights. Hence the more widely reported fact that the town has little desire to host the President of the United States, who would no doubt use his appearance at the crime scene to promote his gun control agenda.
Mr. Obama plans to visit Roseburg on Friday to meet the grieving families of yet another gun rampage, but many people here are bristling at his renewed call for stricter gun laws. In some ways, the rampage at the college by a 26-year-old student, Christopher Harper-Mercer, has actually tightened the embrace of guns in a rural town where shots at rifle ranges echo off the hills and hunters shoot deer and elk through the fall.
Some families touched by the violence and students who fled gunfire said they now feared that the kind of bloodshed seen inside Classroom 15 of Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College could happen anywhere. Some said they were planning to buy guns. Others said they would seek concealed-weapons permits. Others, echoing gun advocates’ calls for more weapons on campus, said the college should allow its security guards to carry guns. A few said they thought that stricter gun control laws could have averted the massacre.
Some, others, others, a few. Take that, mainstream media. The real question: will the MSM report on these “others” when the Prez arrives? If so, President Obama is heading for a PR disaster. What are the odds? The same odds that the Times couldn’t find a pro-gun control voice to “balance” the views of “some people.”
And while the mass shooting here has pushed some people toward wanting to arm themselves, it has also pushed others in the opposite direction. Students like Devon Paasch, 36, whose writing teacher, Lawrence Levine, was among the victims, said the killings had intensified her belief that the country needed stricter gun laws. Ms. Paasch was not on campus that morning because she slept through her alarm; she has spent the past week tilting among grief, guilt and a fear of returning to school.
“No kind of gun control is going to stop everything,” Ms. Paasch said. “But in a situation like this, it could have saved 10 lives.”
The Times doesn’t contest Mr. Paasch’s contention. And concludes on this happy note:
“We are a weapons family,” Ms. Skinner said. She and Mr. Mintz have a 6-year-old son, Tyrik, who has autism and who also influenced her attitude toward guns. “I like to have the ability to protect myself and my child,” she said.
But Ashley Schmidt, 28, said the horror she heard through the walls of the classrooms had nudged her toward supporting rules that would regulate guns the way cars are. She was in Classroom 14 in Snyder Hall when the shooting started and ran out amid a storm of gunfire, yelling “Gun! Gun! Gun!” at a girl in the hallway whose earbuds had blocked out the noise.
Ms. Schmidt said she opposed “taking guns away,” and lamented that there was no foolproof way to keep guns away from criminals or would-be mass murderers.
“I’ve always felt like there is nothing I can do,” she said, referring to school shootings. “But I see this country falling apart.”
So do a lot of people, Ms. Schmidt. Another good reason to own a gun. [h/t Misgter3d]