The tragedy of the Oregon shooting has the nation in a state of grief. On October 1, a crazed gunman entered a community college campus and opened fire indiscriminately on everyone passing by, resulting in the untimely deaths of nine people. It was called the worst shooting in the state’s history and, today, the names and faces of the victims were released to the public.
As relatives, friends and family mourn the loss of their loved ones, investigations are carried out to determine the mindset of the perpetrator who ended up causing so much suffering and pain. The aggressor, 26-year-old Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, was also fatally shot during a standoff with police officers.
Those who knew him described Harper-Mercer as a ‘hate-filled’ and ‘odd’ person. According to information gathered by the Los Angeles Times from individual sources, the 26-year-old also expressed white supremacist and anti-religious attitudes to a severe, murderous extent.
This further adds proof to claims made by survivors of the tragedy, who said that Harper-Mercer was asking hostages about their religion. Witnesses claim that he shot at point blank range those who confessed to be of Christian faith.
Sources also point out Harper-Mercer’s long history of mental illness. But what is really puzzling is the number of guns Harper-Mercer had managed to obtain, despite the record of his emotional and mental instability.
His father, Ian Mercer, claimed to have been completely unaware of his son’s arsenal. Authorities say he had up 14 guns, six of which he took on campus on the day of the tragic event. Ian Mercer further stated that his heart goes out to the families of the innocent victims. He also encouraged debate on current gun control laws, expressing extreme revolt at the idea that somebody like his son could so easily bypass security protocols and obtain a ridiculously high number of firearms for personal use.
This feeling now resonates with many government officials, including President Barack Obama who, during his speech following the tragedy, also argued in favor of reform on current gun laws. The President also pointed out that the time for debate is long gone, citing so many previous school shootings, from Columbine to Sandy Hook and beyond.
Ever since then, social media platforms have been flooded with debates and passionate opinions from both sides. While conservatives and right-wingers continue to rehash old arguments pertaining to the 2nd Amendment, others argue that the issue at hand has nothing to do with the right to bear arms, considered by many ‘intrinsically American.’
Many argue the problem is with the current lax system, which fails to prevent those potentially posing a great threat to the public from acquiring firearms, as evidenced again and again by the number of school shootings in America each year. And in a moment of grief for the families and friends of those tragically lost on October 1, many say that at this point by opposing gun reform, one is merely adding insult to injury.
Photo Credits: Flickr
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