Early Reports Say Oregon Gunman Singled-out Christians

Ten people were killed today at an Oregon community college after a shooter went on a rampage. CBS News reports that the shooter has now been identified:

Authorities are still trying to figure out the shooter’s motive. The New York Post reports that some witnesses are saying that the shooter singled out Christians. From The New York Post:

A 26-year-old gunman singled out Christians for slaughter during a rampage at an Oregon community college Thursday, leaving at least 9 people dead and many more wounded, survivors and authorities said. “The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” tweeted “@bodhilooney,” who said her grandmother was inside the Umpqua Community College classroom that was the scene of the 10:40 a.m. carnage. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”

CNN reports testimony from the father of one of the survivors:

The gunman who opened fire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College targeted Christians specifically, according to the father of a wounded student. Before going into spinal surgery, Anastasia Boylan told her father and brother the gunman entered her classroom firing. The professor in the classroom was shot point blank. Others were hit, she told her family. Everyone in the classroom dropped to the ground. The gunman, while reloading his handgun, ordered the students to stand up if they were Christians, Boylan told her family. “And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,'” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying her account. “And then he shot and killed them.”

Jake Tapper also reports for CNN:

No matter the motive–and I’m sure we’ll learn more about that in coming days–this is horrific evil. There are no words. Lord, have mercy.

29 Responses to Early Reports Say Oregon Gunman Singled-out Christians

  1. James Stanton October 2, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    There are words for this. Christians may pay slightly more attention to this latest mass shooting episode but the nation is getting more and more numb to these events. We have a problem with extremists willing to kill having easy access to firearms and right-wing orthodoxy prevents any rational discussion of how to solve this problem. I’d like to see social conservatives have the guts to challenge the idolatrous gun culture in this country.

    There’s no shortage of talk about how we must take action to stop PP or take action in the Middle East to stop terrorists from attacking us here. Its tiring pretending that these events are something of a mystery that we just have to get used to enduring. We have a lot of crazy people and its extremely easy for these people to kill people in large numbers very quickly.

    • Ike Lentz October 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

      Agree 100%. Sure, evil is a reality, but is evil not a reality in european countries that have stricter gun laws and less mass shootings?

  2. steve hays October 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    So two commenters are trying to defect attention away from the reportedly anti-Christian animus of the shooter to focus on gun control.

    Why imagine that if the shooter wasn’t deterred by laws against murder, he’d be deterred by gun laws? If he breaks a law against murder, won’t he break gun laws?

    BTW, since outlawing certain drugs doesn’t prevent access to illegal drugs, why imagine outlawing guns would prevent access to guns? It would create the same black market we have for drugs.

    In addition, there’s a reason that people like this walk into gun-free zones viz. churches and schools. They don’t expect to encounter return fire. They can shoot with impunity.

    There’s a reason that people like this don’t walk into a Texas tavern. There’d be too many armed customers (not to mention armed bartenders) in a position to shoot the gunman.

    They shoot up places that are safe for the gunman, but dangerous for the victims, rather than vice versa.

    • James Stanton October 2, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

      Steve,

      Feel free to call me out by name if you want to engage in a discussion.

      “Christians may pay slightly more attention to this latest mass shooting episode but the nation is getting more and more numb to these events.”

      I think I’m referring to the anti-Christian animus right here. I will say that no one called for outlawing guns. You simply made a straw man argument to deflect from the fact that I pointed out that a dominant political ideology in this country seems to be reflexively opposed to *any* reasonable solution to this problem of crazy people easily getting ahold of guns and then killing Christians and non-Christians alike.

      Reasonable solutions can range from increased mental health funding to stricter background checks to gun registries that can track sales and purchases of firearms.

      I

      • steve hays October 2, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

        Obama called for European style gun laws. So, yes, that involves outlawing guns (for private citizens) and gun confiscation.

        • James Stanton October 2, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

          Steve,

          I’m not sure whatever Obama allegedly called for is particularly relevant here. That’s not how a bill is made.

          Outlawing guns is practically impossible to achieve in the US. The 2nd Amendment does protect the right to own firearms. There is virtually no chance that the 2nd Amendment will be repealed by act of Congress nor is there much chance of the SC adopting a stricter reading of the 2nd Amendment.

          Now that we’ve established that how about we focus on practical, reasonable, and achievable solutions to this problem of gun violence in the US.

          • steve hays October 3, 2015 at 12:52 am #

            i) Not every social problem has a political solution. In fact, not every social problem is soluble. Humanists don’t like to hear that.

            ii) Many American high schools used to have gun clubs and shooting ranges. Guns are not the source of the problem.

            iii) Perhaps we need to go back to doing some things the way we used to before shooting sprees became more common.

            iv) We might also cut down in immigration. We are taking more people in than we can assimilate.

            v) We also need to create an educational climate that’s more friendly to boys and young men. The current education culture alienates males.

            • James Stanton October 3, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

              Steve,

              i) Not every social problem has a political solution. In fact, not every social problem is soluble. Humanists don’t like to hear that.

              You have no idea whether there is a political solution to this or not. For example, let’s look at gun violence in the inner cities. Where are the guns coming from? It’s coming from straw buyers who go out to the gun shops in the suburbs and to other states with lax gun laws and then re-sell them to gangs. There is a political solution that problem.

              ii) Many American high schools used to have gun clubs and shooting ranges. Guns are not the source of the problem.

              So what? I have no problem teaching gun safety and shooting at the school level.

              iii) Perhaps we need to go back to doing some things the way we used to before shooting sprees became more common.

              Ok.

              iv) We might also cut down in immigration. We are taking more people in than we can assimilate.

              This seems hard to prove. 1) that there’s a connection between immigration and gun violence. 2) That people are having trouble assimilating.

              v) We also need to create an educational climate that’s more friendly to boys and young men. The current education culture alienates males.

              None of this has anything to do with guns. It’s ok to say that you don’t know of any reasonable solutions and we should just accept things the way they are.

              • steve hays October 3, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

                “You have no idea whether there is a political solution to this or not.”

                Many political solutions have been attempted.

                “For example, let’s look at gun violence in the inner cities. Where are the guns coming from? It’s coming from straw buyers who go out to the gun shops in the suburbs and to other states with lax gun laws and then re-sell them to gangs. There is a political solution that problem.”

                You haven’t said what your solution is. Is your solution that it should be illegal for urban residents to buy firearms from suburban gun shops or buy guns out of state? Are you proposing armed checkpoints between cities and suburbs? Will they need passports to travel from cities to suburbs? Or for interstate travel?

                I presume you resolution is not to make it illegal for them to resell them to gangs. It’s not as if folks who resell guns to gangs would suddenly desist because it was against the law.

                “So what? I have no problem teaching gun safety and shooting at the school level.”

                Your response is disingenuous. You know perfectly well that outspoken gun-control proponents would be fantastically opposed to gun clubs in school.

                And the point, which you dodge, is that school gun clubs were not an inspiration for school massacres. So access to guns is not the source of the problem.

                “1) that there’s a connection between immigration and gun violence. 2) That people are having trouble assimilating.”

                i) There’s certainly a connection when we’re dealing with youth gangs belonging to the Mexican mafia, Russian mafia, &c.

                ii) In addition, there’s a connection between violence in America and social heterogeneity.

                iii) Likewise, admitting Muslims into the country is an invitation to domestic terrorism, honor killings, &c.

                “None of this has anything to do with guns.”

                The fact that you don’t think an education establishment that alienates males contributes to violence is naive.

                “It’s ok to say that you don’t know of any reasonable solutions and we should just accept things the way they are.”

                i) No one made you the arbiter of what’s a reasonable solution.

                ii) As a matter of fact, law enforcement is more about crime management than crime prevention. By that I mean, we can’t eliminate crime. And attempts to eliminate crime would result in a police state–which produces official criminality.

                The best law enforcement can ever aim at is crime reduction. Keeping crime at manageable levels. Human nature being what it is, crime cannot be eradicated. And attempts to do so simply relocate crime.

                iii) An armed citizenry can help deter crime.

                • James Stanton October 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

                  Steve,

                  We seem to be going down the rabbit hole of things you don’t like that are tangentially related to the subject, at best. You are not serious but thanks for engaging. Have a good day.

                  • steve hays October 3, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

                    Actually, I’m responding to you own your own terms, point by point. By contrast, your reply is evasive. You didn’t follow up by fleshing out your own proposed solution. Perhaps because, when we start discussing details, it amounts to a police state.

                  • steve hays October 3, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

                    i) Trying to ban/confiscate guns misses the point. That’s treating symptoms. Fixating on the weapon of choice fails to address the root cause. Why do some people turn to violent crime in the first place?

                    There are various reasons, not all of which are soluble.

                    One thing we know is that violent crime is overrepresented in certain intersecting demographic groups, by sex, age, and ethnicity.

                    Young men from stable two-parents homes are less prone to violent crime. Young men who stay in school are less prone to violent crime.

                    Conversely, violent crime is fostered by absentee fathers, a culture of dependency, high dropout rates, &c.

                    Partial solutions include school choice, so that kids aren’t chained to failing schools.

                    ii) In addition, as society becomes more secularized, it becomes more nihilistic. And that’s coming from the top down, not the bottom up.

                    If kids are taught that there’s no afterlife, no final judgment, no heaven or hell, no moral absolutes, that we are just fleeting, fortuitous collections of particles, then it’s not surprising if some people act on that nihilistic philosophy. If you want people to behave better, you might begin by giving them something worthwhile to live for.

                    Atheism is a recipe for moral and existential nihilism. And we’re beginning to see the results. Not just in mass shootings or urban violence, but at Planned Parenthood clinics. Likewise, we’re poised for an exponential rise in euthanizing the elderly and developmentally disabled.

  3. Ike Lentz October 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    Steve,
    You make some persuasive arguments (I agree about the gun free zones), but it still doesn’t answer my question- why do other countries have less shootings than America? It seems possible to have a country where mass shootings are extremely rare, what is different about America?

    • steve hays October 2, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

      i) To begin with, mass shootings in the US have gone up over the past few decades. That doesn’t correlate with access to firearms.

      ii) By definition, if you confiscate enough guns, you may have fewer shootings. But that’s a deceptive comparison. That doesn’t mean you less violent crime.

      Gun bans and gun confiscation can lead to a spike in crime. There’s a loss of deterrence. In addition, citizens can no longer defend themselves or their property. That gives crooks a green light.

      It’s not enough to compare a drop in gun violence with a drop in gun ownership. You need to compare that with overall crime stats .

      iii) I don’t know where you’re getting your stats. For instance, I’ve read Mexico has draconian gun laws. But Mexico also has horrific crime rates.

      Likewise, I’ve read about high gun crime in Sydney.

      Furthermore, I’ve read that gun crime rose 89% in England over the course of a decade. In some parts of the country, it quintupled.

      Likewise, I’ve read the UK is the crime capital of Europe, with higher per capita violent crime rates than in the US.

  4. buddyglass October 2, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    “Why imagine that if the shooter wasn’t deterred by laws against murder, he’d be deterred by gun laws? If he breaks a law against murder, won’t he break gun laws?”

    1. Many people don’t have the connections to get illegal firearms. You’re looking at these folks as if they were “rational” murderers who’d have the presence of mind to make the necessary connections to procure one illegally (if they were illegal). Consider the kid in Newton. Do we think a borderline autistic home-schooled high school kid would have the connections (and money) to illegally procure the kind of weapons he used (if they were illegal)?

    2. This isn’t always the case in mass shootings, but many shootings are “spur of the moment” things where someone snaps. Having easy access to weaponry just makes those episodes more damaging. That is to say, many gun murders are committed by people who (prior to that murder) were not “criminals”.

    “BTW, since outlawing certain drugs doesn’t prevent access to illegal drugs,”

    Does outlawing certain drugs make them harder to come by, more expensive, and attach consequences to their use, and thereby reduce the number of people using them?

    If yes, then why wouldn’t the same be true of guns?

    If no, then do you support decrimnalizing these drugs (because it apparently has no effect)?

    • steve hays October 2, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

      “Many people don’t have the connections to get illegal firearms. You’re looking at these folks as if they were ‘rational’ murderers who’d have the presence of mind to make the necessary connections to procure one illegally (if they were illegal).”

      Mass shootings are typically premeditated.

      “Consider the kid in Newton. Do we think a borderline autistic home-schooled high school kid would have the connections (and money) to illegally procure the kind of weapons he used (if they were illegal)?”

      i) Your objection is circular. Because private gun ownership is currently legal, there are restrictions on minors. If, however, guns were banned, you’d have an unregulated black market giving everyone, including minors, unrestricted access to guns.

      ii) Likewise, because private gun ownership is currently legal, you don’t need special connections to procure firearms. If, however, guns were banned, then a black market would open up. You wouldn’t need spacial connections to get the gun of your choice under that scenario. If it was against the law to obtain any gun whatsoever, then all types of guns would be available on the black market.

      iii) Yes, access to guns means some people die by guns who otherwise wouldn’t die that way. That, however, overlooks the fact that guns are both offensive and defensive weapons. Just as guns take lives, guns save lives. Access to guns means some people, who’d otherwise die, are not killed because they are in a position to protect themselves.

      I don’t see that outlawing certain drugs makes them harder to come by. Rather, it means you assume a greater risk, if caught.

      You’re resorting to an all-or-nothing argument. Did I say drug laws have no effect? No. That’s an oversimplification.

      Actually, drug laws have a variety of effects. The law of unintended consequences.

      Point is, someone who really wants drugs can get them.

      • ian Shaw October 5, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

        Here, here sir.

  5. Christiane Smith October 2, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    Gun ‘rights’?
    I hear this, I see dead people
    http://i2.wp.com/radaronline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/grace-mcdonnell-420_0.jpg?fit=600%2C9999

  6. Ian Shaw October 5, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    So the President gets on his high horse after this horrible incident and mouths off about stricter gun control. As the witnesses corroborated, this was a hate crime. No words from the President on that huh? I’d say I’m speechless, but I would expect nothing less from someone who thinks murder is caused by the tool and not the person.

    BTW, last 2 weekends there were over 100 people shot in Chicago. How’s that strict gun control working there?

    Bottom line, this was a hate crime, but no media outlet, nor the President himself, will call it what it was.

  7. ian Shaw October 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    “The gunman, while reloading his handgun, ordered the students to stand up if they were Christians, Boylan told her family.”

    Hate to say it, but at some point men need to develop a warrior mentality and when that guy’s reloading, you have to make your move

    • James Stanton October 5, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

      I think many passengers on planes would be willing to jump on a hijacker because they realize what that might mean. People expect schools to be a safe place with good security but they are very vulnerable.

      Unless you have training, and even then, you have no idea how you would react in such a situation. Fear can paralyze even the toughest of men.

      There are no gun factories in inner-city Chicago but the streets are awash with guns. It’s a city with tougher gun laws, sure, surrounded by cities and counties with weaker gun laws and next to Indiana, a state with very permissive gun laws.

      The shooting was definitely a hate crime but so what? The shooter was an angry loner with mental health issues. There’s no movement or ideology to blame here. The key factor is that such a person had no trouble amassing firearms and executing his plan.

      • Christiane Smith October 5, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

        maybe it’s time to make it harder for people with certain serious mental health issues to have access to high-powered automatic weapons . . . no disrespect to those who suffer from mental illness is intended in this remark, as EVERYONE at some point in their lifetime will encounter some measure of emotional and/or mental problems eventually

        but we are beginning to get a ‘profile’ of the characteristics potential shooters and this information means that we now have some responsibility to take protective measures that are based on common sense to keep automatic weapons from these vulnerable people so that they do not have access to that which they may use as a result of their illness

        the NRA has a lot to answer for in the opinion of the majority of Americans . . . the ‘lobby’ that serves the NRA feeds tons of money to Congress . . .

        would that our people who pray for the victims also had the courage to stand against the NRA’s propaganda . . . the ‘do-nothing’ attitude of our Congress is bathing in NRA money soaked in the blood of innocent people, many of them children

        • steve hays October 5, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

          Christiane,

          You haven’t said anything that would be persuasive to someone who doesn’t already agree with you. You simply indulge in putdowns for those who don’t share your viewpoint. If you wish to convince people that you are right, you need to engage their arguments.

          • Christiane Smith October 5, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

            Hi STEVE,
            no put downs of reasonable, responsible citizens, no.

            instead, an appeal to the decency of a way forward that protects mentally-ill and emotionally-disturbed people from themselves who see guns as some kind of ‘solution’ for what they think torments them

            we now know something of the ‘profile’ of potential high-risk offenders and if we fail to use that information in a responsible manner, then we also become a party to the slaughter

            at least I’m speaking out, but my words ARE for those who already know that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ were left somewhere back there about ten or fifteen massacres ago when no action was taken at all

            • Ian Shaw October 6, 2015 at 8:59 am #

              Christine, as someone who’s worked in the field, I will say that the bigger and more intense push needs to be on mental health and people getting the help they need. In most areas, if you know you’re dealing with something and you seek help, you’re looking at nearly a month or more before you can see someone.

              Why is it that you need to declare that you have intentions of self-harm in order to be seen right away? In my experience with people in the field, that’s the only way they can get help right away is to claim to be suicidal so they can be admitted to a hospital. That is something huge and needs to be changed. Most people that have some sort of mental illness just want to talk to someone. If they got that opportunity, things would drastically change.

              • Christiane Smith October 6, 2015 at 11:04 am #

                Thank you, IAN, for your response . . . I agree with you. I share the same hopes concerns you have for the suffering of people with mental and emotional issues. My thought in writing here in response to the recent massacre in Oregon was to help find a way to prevent those who see guns as a ‘solution’ to their torment from getting easy access. I don’t believe in the nonsense that keeps us from being responsible for the sake of these people. If it saves even one life that we act responsibly as a nation, then it would be worth the effort.
                God bless you for your care for the mentally ill, IAN. It is a Christian act of mercy to care for those who suffer in this way.

                • steve hays October 6, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

                  Psychiatric treatment is not a panacea. You can’t fix a broken mind the way you can fix a broken clock.

                  Certainly some people benefit from psychiatric treatment. In some cases, psychotropic drugs keep mentally ill/unstable people sane and functional.

                  However, psychotropic drugs can backfire. People can do crazy things on psychotropic drugs. Do it because of the meeds.

                  Moreover, the psychological/psychiatric community is full of secular quackery.

                  Furthermore, we don’t want to make it easy for the state to involuntarily commit someone. Not only is that, in itself, easily subject to abuse, but there’s the additional potential abuse that occurs given involuntary commitment.

                  • ian Shaw October 6, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

                    Counseling and therapy are not the same as being put on psychiatric medication.

                    I’m just saying, it’s hard for people that have low level mental illness to get in to see someone to talk to. Maybe if they had easier access and fewer entry barriers to services, their low level issues wouldn’t snowball and become issues that might make the person want to harm others.

                    Voluntary commitment is only good for so long as most hospitals can only keep you for X number of hours, as bed space is limited.

                    Even in just the social work field (not psychiatry with access to prescriptions), it’s difficult for people to get in to talk with someone.

                    And what’s worse, in many cities/counties, mental health is privatized, meaning multiple organizations are fighting over the same potential client pool. That becomes a game to get clients/billable hours(over their competitor) than actually serving the person’s needs.

                    • steve hays October 6, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

                      My comment wasn’t directed at you specifically. But at the risk of stating the obvious, the insanity plea is a classic way of shifting blame away from the perpetrator. So we need to take those claims with a grain of salt. For instance, it wouldn’t surprise me if Dylann Roof’s lawyer mounts an insanity defense, based on Roof’s use of psychotropic drugs. Point is, people needn’t be crazy to commit atrocities–they need only be evil.

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