Is it a toll our society pays at the booth of “freedom”? Is it the the inevitable, tragic price we extract in innocent blood for our right to bear arms? From the information gathered about the Oregon shooter, he was all of these; a loner, a weirdo, a caring family member and a legal gun owner. As the din of the anti-gun and pro-gun factions screaming with red faces and bulging neck veins into each other’s deaf ears again reaches a crescendo, the single fact remains that there is not one gun law that would have prevented him from purchasing his weapons. He was from California, a state with arguably the strictest gun laws in the country. His neighbors there claim they saw him and his mother leaving and returning to their home in Torrance with “black boxes resembling gun cases”. Apparently, he was legally armed in a highly gun controlled state before he moved North as he spiraled into blackness; terminating his decent into murderous psychosis on that college campus. I’m a proponent of strict background checks and mandatory safety training and certification for all gun owners. That still wouldn’t have stopped that killer.
As a lifelong shooter and legal gun owner, I come from a family whose heritage has been enriched by hunting and shooting on our beautiful ranch in Bootjack, California. I own guns for sport and defense of my family and myself. From tender ages, I taught all of my children safe gun handling and the immense responsibility that comes with gun ownership. In the best of times I would be unwilling to disarm, in today’s society that sentiment is only strengthened. My gun ownership is non-negotiable. With that being said and beyond all certainty, there are people should not own or possess a firearm. Nor do I think a guy in line at Wal-Mart with an AR-15 slung over his shoulder makes me safer. What are the answers we so desperately seek? Is it screening legal and registered gun owners on a periodic basis for mental health issues? Imagine that shit storm for just a second. What do we do about those who already possess the vast majority of guns we don’t know about? Is it mandatory reporting by legal, medical and mental health professionals of clients who own guns? Again, imagine the privacy storm that would hit. Do we turn in our strange neighbor ala Cold War East Germany? Is it stricter gun laws? If California is any indication, that doesn’t work, either.
It is an impotent and helpless feeling knowing what happened yesterday will happen again. It may be an inevitable, tragic and heavy toll we pay on our journey down the American road.