— This article by Jerry Cates, was published at 7:00 pm on 1 October 2015, and last revised at 7:48 pm on 1 October 2015. © Govinthenews Vol. 6:10(1).
Today at 10:38 AM local time, in Roseburg, Oregon, a gunman opened fire on the campus of the Umpqua Community College. The gunman, a 20-year-old male, killed as many as 10, and wounded seven more. He was then confronted by arriving police, who exchanged gunfire with him. The gunman was killed.
That’s all we know at this moment. We don’t know the shooter’s name, what motivated him, how he obtained the guns he used, or even what kinds of guns he used. Rumors, unconfirmed, indicate … well … things that are not confirmed. Those without an agenda will refrain from spreading such rumors. We have no agenda, so we will be silent.
However, president Barack Obama — who likely knows the answers to most if not all those questions — has issued a public comment on live television regarding this incident, in a rambling statement rife with political content. The thrust of his remarks was to reiterate his oft-stated view that gun violence in America is greater than anywhere else in the civilized world, that commonsense gun laws capable of preventing such incidents have been rejected by Congress, and that America’s gun laws must be revised to bring such carnage to an end. This is not the place or the time to debate those points. We will refrain from doing so.
Obama also characterized the shooter as one who was mentally ill. Only one who is “sick” could do such a thing, he said. Is the possession of an evil mind proof of mental illness? Is evil intent sufficient evidence of mental illness? Can anyone, at this stage in the investigation answer that? We doubt it, in fact we deny it. To believe as Obama seems to believe is to exonerate all who do evil things on the basis that “mental illness, not a flaw in their character, not adherence to an evil creed, nothing but a sickness in their mind, made them do it.” But Obama insists the shooter was mentally ill, which makes him blameless and society at fault for not recognizing and curing his mental disease before he could commit this crime.
He was right to offer condolences to the shooters victims, but wrong to use this incident to further a political agenda. He was wrong to blame society, instead of the perpetrator, for this crime, when nobody yet knows what led this man to do what he did and why.
He predicted, in his statement, that he would be criticized for doing so. But, he added, such incidents “should be politicized.”
He’s entitled to that opinion. We disagree. We could elucidate our own contrary views, but we won’t. Not now. It is too early.
The bodies of those who died are still warm. This is not a time for political statements. To do so is crassly insensitive. Inexcusably so.
It is particularly crass given that Obama has yet to say anything to the American people about the embarrassingly disastrous events of the past 48 hours in Syria. By speaking so early about Roseburg, without commenting on Syria, he opens himself up to the charge that he is using the tragedy at Umpqua Community College to distract from his failures on the international scene. If so, his comments are doubly crass.
This is a shameful way for America’s leader to behave. We expect better.
For those who died and their families, we pray for peace, comfort, and healing. For those who were wounded and their families, we pray for peace, comfort, and healing. For all the students enrolled at Umpqua Community College, we pray for peace, comfort, and healing. For Oregon, for America, and for all compassionate, peace-loving people everywhere on this planet, we pray for peace, comfort, and healing. And especially for those who cannot help but politicize this sorrowful incident, we pray in earnest for peace, comfort, and healing.
And for clarity.
This is a time to be reflective, to stop and think, to take a rest in expressing rage, anger, and frustration. The shooter did that. Let’s do better. We can. We must…
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