Umpqua Community College Shooting


Hallela Hinton-Williams

 On October 1, 2015, lives were changed forever when 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer brought several guns into his intro composition class at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.  An incident that, from police reports, started at 10:38 when the first 911 call was reported and lasted a total of fourteen minutes. During this time, Mercer fatally shot nine students and the assistant teacher and injured nine others.  This mass shooting is the worst in Oregon.

This kind of tragedy is starting to become commonplace in the United States: students, usually young men, shooting fellow or ex-classmates, then themselves. Shortly after these incidents, the shooter’s mental health is questioned.  CCHR International says that, “At least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.”  These statistics and the easy access of guns and weapons is a deadly combination.  It makes people, once again, question the way guns are distributed across the nation.

After the Umpqua Community College shooting, President Obama called a press conference to express his feelings on the tragedy. On October 5, 2015, four days after the shooting, the White House announced that Obama will be taking more executive control on the issue of gun control.  Will he be able to do enough?  The society that we live in has guns as a large part of the culture. The uses for guns expand from beyond weapons of warfare.  Hunting, shooting ranges, and recreational sport are places where guns are, for the most part, used responsibly and carefully by people who understand the ramifications that guns can cause.  But what happens when someone isn’t responsible, is not taught, or chooses to ignore the dangers of a gun?  Do we restrict all guns or make exceptions? Is the system we have currently to acquire a gun processed enough, or do more changes have to be made?  The way we perceive gun control has a long way to go.  In the meantime, we have to do our best to prevent incidents, like the one at UCC from happening again, and mourn the ones lost.