UPDATED BELOW, 2:40 P.M. MST
Friends! It’s that crazybusy time of the semester, when Team Historiann is spending 8, 10, and even 12 hours a day on campus! As I keep saying to my friends and colleagues here and around the world: I’ve forgotten how much work work is. Ah, sabbatical. . . . in my mind, I’m still there.
Anyhoo, as the kids say–ICYMI—in case you missed it, we had another senseless mass shooting of innocent strangers here in Colorado Springs on Saturday morning. You might have missed it entirely, because it ended with “only” the deaths of three victims and the shooter himself. White? Check. Male? Check. Probably barking mad? Check. And yet this “Christian drunk,” as his mother called him, still had access to high-power firearms? Checkity check check check. Check.
Today’s update in The Denver Post, in which the murderer and victims alike were identified, included a choice detail that most of you outside Colorado might otherwise miss:
Witnesses watched in horror as [the perpetrator] picked his victims off. One of them, the bicyclist, pleaded for his life before being killed.
“I heard the (young man) say, ‘Don’t shoot me! Don’t shoot me!’ ” Naomi Bettis, a neighbor who witnessed the killing, said Monday.
Bettis said she recognized the gunman as her neighbor — whom she didn’t know by name — and that before the initial slaying she saw him roaming outside with a rifle. She called 911 to report the man, but a dispatcher explained that Colorado has an open carry law that allows public handling of firearms.
“He did have a distraught look on his face,” Bettis said. “It looked like he had a rough couple days or so.”
Got that? When a concerned citizen reported the crazed gunman to 911 before he opened fire, she wasn’t taken seriously at all. In fact, it seems as though she was treated to a patronizing lecture about the “open carry law that allows the public handling of firearms.”
Never mind that she noted that the soon-to-be perp had a “distraught look on his face.” Never mind that “it looked like he had a rough couple of days or so.” We in Colorado must tolerate individuals carrying firearms no matter how deranged or dangerous they appear to their neighbors. It’s only a crime when they shoot members of the unsuspecting public!
Historians of the future will wonder at the collective insanity that make events like this just a part of everyday life in Colorado and in the United States. Our great-grandchildren will regard us with pity and amazement.
UPDATE, 2:40 P.M. MST: Check out the new story at the DP: Open Carry Becomes Focus After Colorado Springs Shooting Rampage. Ya think???