NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

At least ten shot dead at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon; more injured

Gun violence has once again left dozens of people dead and wounded at a place of learning, this time right here in the great Pacific Northwest:

An incident with an active shooter has taken place at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg that has left at least 10 people dead and more than 20 injured.

According to Andrea Zielinski with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports of shots fired at the school at 10:37 AM.

Oregon State Police spokesman told CNN that 10 people have been killed and 20 are injured.

Additional information has not yet been released and will be posted as it becomes available.

The gunman is said to be dead after a confrontation with police. A Douglas County commissioner had previously told CNN that the shooter had been apprehended and is in custody. That was apparently not correct. The shooter is reportedly a male.

The first call to 911 was placed at 10:38 AM Pacific.

The Oregonian has a liveblog going where they are publishing regular updates.

Roseburg is a city in southern Oregon, home to 21,181 people as of the 2010 census. It is about an hour’s drive south of Eugene, and it is bisected by Interstate 5. Umpqua Community College is actually located six miles north of the city, and has around 1,400 enrolled students. The college offers two-year programs. The average age of the students there is thirty-eight, we understand.

Its campus consists of sixteen buildings on one hundred acres, located alongside the North Umqua River. The campus is relatively isolated; there isn’t much else in the immediate vicinity around it. However, it is located fairly close to Interstate 5.

Aerial snapshot of Umpqua Community College

Aerial snapshot of Umpqua Community College

Umpqua’s website is currently down. We’re not sure if that’s because it can’t cope with a sudden spike in traffic, or whether there is another reason. However, you can look at a snapshot of its website from last week on Archive.org.

It goes without saying that this is a terrible tragedy that will leave many Oregon families in the worst kind of pain and anguish. The kind that never really goes away.

We don’t know who the victims are, but we’ll be praying for them and their families. The next few hours will be very, very difficult, as family and friends learn the fate of their loved ones from authorities.

We cannot continue to tolerate gun violence as a society like we have been. Oregon and Washington have been leaders in strengthening gun background check laws, but we need to do more. Much more.

So far, in 2015 alone, there have been a staggering 39,383 incidents of gun violence, and 9,936 deaths. That’s close to half the population of Roseburg, and three times the number of people killed during the September 11th attacks.

Here’s a more comprehensive breakdown from the Gun Violence Archive (data validated as of earlier today):

  • Total Number of Incidents: 39,383
  • Number of Deaths: 9,936
  • Number of Injuries: 20,210
  • Number of Children (age 0-11) Killed/Injured: 549
  • Number of Teens (age 12-17) Killed/Injured: 1,960
  • Mass Shooting: 264
  • Officer Involved Shooting: 3,324
  • Home Invasion: 1,695
  • Defensive Use: 899
  • Accidental Shooting: 1,388

Notice above that the number of “accidental” shootings is higher than the number of incidents in which guns were used for self defense. This validates the paradox that people who buy guns for protection actually end up making themselves less safe.

There is much we can do to make our communities and our nation safer. The NRA-led gun lobby stands in the way. Combating their destructive influence and reducing gun violence is one of the most worthy causes of our time.

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