Oregon mass shooting begs question of how society deals with ‘crazies’


Another community is suffering tragically at the hands of evil. A deranged individual whose actions we may never fully understand has lashed out at innocent people with an act of violence.

The police response in Roseburg, Ore. was swift. Within minutes, officers responded, identified the threat and killed the suspect during an exchange of gunfire. According to reports, eight minutes passed from the initial dispatch until officers reported the suspect was down.

In every recent mass shooting the police response has been swift. There isn’t an agency that hasn’t trained for this type of scenario.

Imagine the scene for the first officers. The chaos of people running all over the place, screaming and yelling and injured victims all over the place.

The responding officers likely didn’t immediately know where the bad guy was.

Then, suddenly, gunfire.

In a credit to their training and discipline, let alone bravery, officers engaged the suspect and put an end to the rampage, just as they have in other recent tragedies.

In the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting officers were on scene in seven minutes, and captured the suspect.

In the Sandy Hook school shooting, police officers were on scene within three minutes.

Closer to home, in the Isla Vista shooting in Santa Barbara, eight minutes elapsed from the time deputies responded until the suspect took his own life.

These three shootings alone resulted in 46 people being killed and 89 injured – despite the quick, decisive and courageous response of law enforcement. Nine more were killed Thursday.

Predictably, many people on both sides of gun control are lashing out.

I agree that there are some people who should never own a gun. I think we all know people we could comfortably say, “Sorry, no gun for you.”

What I think we really haven’t gotten a handle on is how do you control “crazy?”

I apologize if that’s not the correct terminology but I know “crazy” best describes a deranged person who shoots innocent people “just because.”

Every day across the country police officers respond to calls where people are concerned about the mental health of their loved ones. They talk to them. Assess the immediacy of the threat and try to make the best decision given the information available.

Oftentimes they do put people on a mental health hold only to see them released hours later.

I’ve seen postings on social media that leave me wondering about the stability of the authors. I’ve even seen some real interesting postings on our Facebook page.

More than likely you’ve also seen them if you’ve spent much time on the Internet.

When the information is brought to their attention law enforcement does respond and investigate if the threats are judged serious enough.

The tough job is determining at what point quirky and odd become dangerous. I don’t think we really know.

As the discussions move forward we have to collectively look at how communities deal with the “crazies.”