UPDATE (11-16-17): The latest official count is 14 wounded and six dead, including the gunman.
The Rancho Tehama shooting spree this week could have been far worse if it were not for the quick action by school authorities at a country elementary school who at the first sign of trouble got the children to take cover and bar the school doors to prevent a mad gunman from entering.
Also there was a report of one woman who was shot at along the road who raced back to the school and warned the people what was coming, and of a man who actually distracted the shooter while he was firing at the school building by asking “why don’t you shoot at me” — and he was injured by a flying bullet in the process.
And local law enforcement officers reportedly confronted the shooter on the roadway about a half hour or less after the first report of trouble and shot the gunman dead — thus bringing the violent episode to a close.
Initially the count for the shooting rampage was four people dead plus the gunman in the rampage that took place Tuesday morning (11-14-17) but by Wednesday another body was discovered, the shooter’s wife.
What troubled me and still troubles me about the incident is that some people seem so concerned about bad publicity for gun lovers and take the position that as bad as these mass shooting sprees are nothing can be done.
It was reported on Wednesday (I write this the evening of) that the shooter actually manufactured some of his own weapons. He was under a court order not to have any weapons due to his ongoing trouble with the law.
A report I read this evening said that he had a confrontation last January where he held some neighbors captive and stabbed one of them, was arrested, but immediately bailed out of jail.
I mean there’s got to be more to the story or what kind of law does Tehama County have? You basically try to murder someone and you just bail out of jail?
There’s more: the shooter had a history of mental illness. But of course he had guns.
But the right-wing dependable anti-gun control people jump on this and say, see? Making laws does not prevent anything. One, the guy just makes his own guns. Two, bad guys don’t follow laws — gun laws just deprive law abiding citizens of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms (Second Amendment).
I see all that. But do you just throw up your hands and say, oh well?
I have thought myself and heard the opinion of at least one commentator that until it hits home, until one of your own is a victim or even you, it is human nature to be complacent.
Have to admit, I don’t have a ready answer but I don’t feel comfortable in an environment where there are so many weapons floating around and where apparently a significant portion of the populace feels maybe the answer is just for everyone to arm themselves (even though I think most people are not going to do that).
Pretty hard to be at the ready 24/7. And I think the most likely scenario is for the bad guy to get the jump on you and worse yet for a youngster or toddler to get a hold of a deadly weapon.
Gun enthusiasts might do well to push for legislation to limit the free flow of weapons and the production and trade of essentially man-killing weapons (as opposed to hunting or sport accessories) on the open civilian market.
That won’t stop all mad gunmen but it seems prudent to me.
I do see the appeal to people of knowing one has a right to fight fire with fire if need be. But somehow I think we have done something to create a culture of violence without even realizing what we were doing.
I grew up watching those old western shoot’em-ups on TV. Good versus evil (usually). But they were exaggerated, and do we really want to live that way?
WHAT FOLLOWS IS MOST OF MY ORIGINAL POST ON THE RANCHO TEHAMA INCIDENT:
So here an almost mass shooting — four dead (now five), plus the gunman, at least 10 injured — in which a school full of children was threatened and some local or locals in the heart of rural gun country are quoted as saying something to the effect that they hope this does not become a “gun violence thing” (I guess the tone of coverage in the news) and that it is not even about mental health, just something that “happens”.
This took place Tuesday morning. (I used the term “almost mass shooting” because I imagine not everyone agrees on what constitutes a “mass shooting” and some of the recent incidents have been far worse.)
Someone who heard the gun shots was quoted as saying it did not seem out of place because people shoot guns around the area all the time.
So this something that “just happens” happened a little too close to home for me. It happened in a place called Rancho Tehama, a rural settlement of sorts in Tehama County in the Northern Sacramento Valley of California. I live not so far to the north, and many years ago now I worked for a newspaper and that was part of my news beat.
Some guy who had of trouble with the law — ongoing cases against him — somehow is able to have guns nonetheless, including — of course, a semi-automatic rifle, and handgun or guns. Gets in some kind of beef with neighbors and then goes wild going down the road shooting at people, crashes through a gate at a school and fires into the school, hitting at least one child and already or later another child riding with his mother to school is hit and so on. Authorities at last report said there might be more fatalities.
I don’t share the point of view of these people who seem to worry about that it does not turn into some kind of “gun violence thing”. It is a gun violence thing. One local was quoted as saying “everyone has guns out here”.
So what about that argument “if everyone had a gun this would not happen?”
I am not anti individual gun ownership per se. But clearly the problem is too many guns and maybe too many hot heads and wackos and just plain criminals, and there is a direct threat to public safety. And you are telling me that all we can do is strap on our own guns and shoot it out? And if children get shot up in the process — “these things happen”?