The gun rampage at Umpqua Community College has reportedly killed at least 13 and injured some 20 more. The shooter, according to the state's attorney general, has been "neutralized."
The college serves the area of Roseburg, Oregon, a small city in center-west Oregon, 180 miles south of Portland, a good haul beyond Eugene down Interstate 5.
This act of campus terror is just the latest mass shooting in America's epidemic of gun violence. October 1 is the 274th day of 2015; Umpqua college represents at least the 264th mass shooting in the country this year, according the Gun Violence Archive. (For the record: a "mass shooting" is defined as involving at least four gunshot victims, excluding the shooter.)
This problem is unique to the United States in the developed world. It is a level of carnage that our national political system will not and cannot address, because of the strength of the NRA – as I explored in the aftermath of Newtown in a piece titled The NRA vs. America:
"Today's NRA stands astride some of the ugliest currents of our politics, combining the 'astroturf' activism of the Tea Party, the unlimited and undisclosed 'dark money' of groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, and the sham legislating conducted on behalf of the industry through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council. 'This is not your father's NRA,' says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a top gun-industry watchdog. Feldman is more succinct, calling his former employer a 'cynical, mercenary political cult.'"
But it's clear that not even sensible gun laws can fully shield Americans from attacks like these. Oregon passed a strong background check for gun purchases that went into effect in August.