Honoring Chris Mintz, a hero during the Oregon shooting tragedy
There is too much gun-based violence, too many mass shootings — and there seems to be no end in sight. Yesterday, the news cycle was completely dominated by reports of a shooting at Umpqua Community College, a school based just three hours south of Portland, Oregon.
Throughout the day there was much confusion, but now that the dust has settled, the disturbing details are coming to light. Ten people were killed and seven were wounded after the 26-year-old gunman, Chris Harper-Mercer, opened fire. But as much as you’re going to hear his name in the coming weeks, the name to really remember is Chris Mintz, the veteran who suffered seven bullet wounds (and survived) when he tried to stop the Oregon shooter.
According to the Mintz family, the 30-year-old father, who was attending his first week of school at Umpqua, rushed the shooter, hoping to stop him. After he was shot, witnesses claim Mintz repeatedly mentioned that it was his 6-year-old son’s birthday.
“From what I’m hearing, he’s fine,” Mintz’s cousin told Daily Beast. “But he’s going to have to learn to walk again.”
While Mintz was undergoing surgery to repair the damage done by the bullets, President Obama held what feels like the umpteeth White House press conference in the wake of a mass shooting.
“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough,” President Obama said. “It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America next week or a couple of months from now.”
He went on to mention the depressingly long list of mass shootings that have occured in the U.S. over the past decade and a half, including Columbine, Charleston, Newtown, and Aurora.
“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months,” he continued. “Somehow this has become routine . . . we’ve become numb to this.”
As the Washington Post points out, the United States is seeing about one mass shooting per day, a figure that is completely unacceptable, not just for an “advanced country,” but for any country, anywhere.
What’s more, we have to go beyond remembering. We need to vote for people who are trying to change gun laws, support organizations like the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and put an end to the belief that mental illness causes mass shootings. Above all, we need to accept that there is a solution. We can put an end to this. There is nothing unique about America that should prevent us from making sensible decisions about our personal safety. Making a decision to issue federal gun control laws should be as clear to us now as desegregation, environmental regulation, and universal healthcare have become. We can’t hesitate any longer.
[Image via Twitter]