Yet another tragic school shooting occurred on October 1st, 2015 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Nine individuals between the ages of 18 and 67 were shot and killed and at least ten others were injured and hospitalized.
Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire at the school shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Thursday during a morning English class. Before shooting, Mercer reportedly asked each victim what religion they practiced. If an individual stated they were Christian, they were shot in the head while any other answer mostly resulted in shots to the legs or back. According to survivors of the massacre, Mercer asked these questions as a way of telling victims they were going to “meet their maker.”
According to the Oregon state medical examiner, Mercer also engaged in a shootout with law enforcement officers before shooting and killing himself.
Fourteen firearms have been connected to Mercer and it has also been suggested that he suffered from psychological issues. This information has sparked new controversy about gun control across the nation.
Ian Mercer, the father of the gunman, states in an interview with CNN, “I would like to ask, how on earth could he compound 14 guns? How could that happen? They talk about gun laws, they talk about gun control but every time something like this happens they talk about it and nothing is done. I’m not trying to say that’s to blame for what happened but if Chris had not been able to get a hold of 14 guns, it wouldn’t have happened.”
However, U.S. Congressman Scott Perry, in a press conference with Messiah College students, states, “Gun control, completely, is never going to solve the issue in my opinion. We don’t seem to be interested as a society in getting to the root cause of why people think it’s okay to take a firearm and go shoot a whole bunch of people. That’s the heart of the problem.”
Several Messiah College students express their opinions on the situation as well.
“Gun control isn’t the problem. Gun control is only inhibiting law abiding citizens. If people want to get their hands on guns, they’re going to find a way to do it,” notes Sophomore Aaron Olney.
Junior Abbey Combs interprets the situation from a new perspective: “I think there should be good opportunities to evaluate mental health. People should be aware of how students are on campus and keeping tabs on warning signs of mental disabilities.”
“Having organizations among students and faculty and raising awareness of mental health on campuses could really be the key to solving this problem with mass shooting. Having communities that are intentionally seeking out those students could make all the difference,” states Combs.