Tragedy struck at a community college in the rural city of Roseburg, Oregon. On October 1, a 26-year-old man identified as Chris Harper-Mercer opened fire on students at Umpqua Community College. Students in the humanities department building heard gunshots coming from a public speaking class. Quickly the building was evacuated and the campus went on lockdown.
When authorities arrived, they counted up the death toll across the campus. Throughout the day the number increased. By 5 p.m., the police reported ten deaths and nine casualties.
One witness, Matthew Downing, was in the classroom when the shooter opened fire on his classmates and teacher 30 to 40 minutes into the class. Downing told CNN that he was unaware of what was taking place at first, “I couldn’t hear anything when he had walked in because my ears were ringing so badly.”
Harper-Mercer proceeded to tell all of the students to lay down on the ground. He herded everyone into the center of the room, went to the front, and pulled a USB out from an envelope. The shooter told the class that whoever survived could give the USB to the authorities. Downing was not killed because Harper-Mercer chose him to deliver the USB.
After handing Downing the USB, the shooter opened fire on the hoard of students in the center of the classroom. He then walked around the room, asking people if they were Christian. When a student responded with a yes, Harper-Mercer told them to prepare to meet their maker.
The shooter played a game with his victims, tricking them into giving their own death sentences by kill the ones who believed in an afterlife.
School shootings are becoming increasingly frequent in high schools and universities in the United States. There have been 52 school shootings and almost 300 mass shootings in the U.S. this year alone. Three of these school shootings happened after Roseburg.
Along with tragedy of losing American lives comes the controversial topic of gun control; each school shooting widens the divisive gap that has developed between gun control advocates and those who stress their Second Amendment rights.
By: Jacob McClure