More details continue to emerge about the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. It is likely that, as more information proves out, many initial reports will be exposed as inaccurate (indeed, we speculated in comments that because the police were very slow to release the ID of the shooter, he was probably a Moslem. Instead, he seems to have been a native-born, religion-free nut job motivated by dreams of television celebrity).
The shooter was a confusing and confused individual, a militant atheist who called himself conservative, who linked to Islamists but apparently just for the murders, who admired several spree killers and expressed a desire to benefit from similar media celebrity — which, of course, he now has. Anti-gun politicians wasted no time calling for further punishment of those gun owners who didn’t do it, led by a typically self-referential and self-regarding speech by the President, and including such staple anti-gun figures as Texas State Senator John Whitmire, who may have set a new record for variations of the abnegatory but (“I support the 2nd Amendment, but“) in an interview with two radio reporters and fellow anti-gun Democrats. (They are careful not to mention his, or their, party).
Oregon, increasingly North California, had already installed most of the legal panaceas pushed as first or interim “common sense” measures by the gun-ban enthusiasts: . The state had a law that permitted campus carry, but allowed individual colleges to opt out, which Umpqua did in righteous terms:
Possession, use, or threatened use of firearms (including but not limited to BB guns, air guns, water pistols, and paint guns) ammunition, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any other objects as weapons on college property, except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations, is prohibited.
We won’t go into the politics of this issue at this time — that’s not the point of the post. The point is, what can you do?
Like the Westgate Mall shooters, this guy got his jollies asking terrified people a question about their religion. Wrong answer, they kill you.
If you are a student at a school like Umpqua that privileges murderers above defenders, you have certain choices:
- You can obey the policy and pray for salvation in the event of an attack.
- You can obey the policy and fight back, unarmed.
- You can violate the policy and let the chips fall where they may.
- You can drop out or transfer out.
That seems to cover it. We know what happened to those who followed the first line of defense. If they were Jews, Hindus, or some other minority religion, the gunman “spared” them, shooting them in the legs. If they were Christians, he made himself their judge and executioner.
We ‘re aware of at least two students who took approaches 2 and 3, both veterans. This is how those approaches worked out.
We all know that an unarmed attack on an armed man may succeed, as we recently saw in France. (In a strange coincidence, one of the French train heroes, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, was a student at Umpqua, but he was out of state at the time of the shooting). Even in France, several of the men who attacked the gunman were wounded, but force of numbers, along with speed, surprise and violence of action, won the day.
Army vet Chris Mintz, a fitness buff learning to be a fitness coach at Umpqua, gave it his best shot — and was on the receiving end of a number of shots (some stories say five, some say seven) in his legs. The wounds took him out of the fight; he was unable to disarm the shooter.
Carry Despite the Policy
That doesn’t guarantee a win for the good guys, either. In this case, a vet who identified himself as John (on camera) told Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan, that as a concealed carry permit holder, “Yeah, I purchased my rights back from the government.”
We were in a — there’s a special room, for just veterans to go to and study. We were just getting ready to go to our next class, someone left, came back in and said, “Hey, active shooter on campus. We’ve gotta leave.”
His first reaction was that it was probably a false alarm.
A few of us were not sure if it was just somebody across the river on county-owned land, target practicing, or if they were really a shooter on campus. So a few of us said, “Let’s check this out and go see what’s going on.”
At that time, we were told to go into a room. We went our separate ways into different rooms. We stayed in lockdown for about two hours.
And that was where your concealed carrier was, locked into a room by the gunless campus Paul Blart, whose emergency plan was apparently to concentrate the victims for the convenience of the shooter. Ultimately, the cops killed the shooter (or he killed himself) before he got to the room with the surprise in it.
John-John was unimpressed with the college’s self-designation as a Victim Disarmament Zone. And if he had been 200 yards closer to the shooting, instead of 200 yards away?
“Military… Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, whatever… we’re trained to run towards danger, not run away from it. I would have gone closer… to see if there was something I could have done, to intervene, to help. If that would have gotten me shot, I don’t know. If it would have gotten me to a point where I could have saved thirteen or however many victims…? We’ll never know. Speculation.”
Hmmm… while we’re speculating, what if brave Chris Mintz had been the guy with a defensive gun?
These are rare attacks, and each one has its own idiosyncrasies. Two things that seem nearly universal are the killer’s failure at life, and his desire for media lionization, something the media never fails to give him.
People who think these crimes are unique to the United States, or that crazies need firearms to carry them out, have blinders on.
When the fight comes to you, you need to fight as you are. Every bullet absorbed by Chris Mintz, who will recover, is one that was not fired into the head of a defenseless person.
There is not much that can be done in the public policy realm that will have any effect on these sorts of crimes, and nothing at all that will affect them in the short term. The best policy prescription might be to put more resources into basic research on mental illness, but are we prepared to launch an effort that might take a century to tell us, “We know a lot of fascinating new things, but nothing practical; predicting and preventing wig-outs remains impossible”?
One thing we could do is bring consequences home to those who disarm victims for the benefit of assailants. Congress should make any corporation or non-profit and its officers, trustees, and responsible decision-makers bear strict, unlimited, joint and several liability for the predictable consequences of this disarmament.