One of the many things that I learned during my career in the military is that first reports are almost always wrong. Many of the initial reports on the latest school shooting tragedy, this time in Oregon, will doubtless turn out to be false. Nonetheless, this is an important story, so here’s what we know:
Earlier today, a gunman carrying multiple firearms opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, killing around ten people and wounding several more. He met his end in a hail of gunfire when police arrived on the scene, minutes after the shooting began.
Witnesses are reporting that the shooter asked victims “Are you a Christian,” and then proceeded to shoot to kill those who said “yes,” and merely wounded those who said “no” or gave no answer.
Among the tales of loss and heroism today include tales of the actions of veterans on campus. According to reports that we find credible but some of which we have not yet been able to independently verify, some veterans organized efforts to barricade their classrooms, thereby thwarting the alleged shooter’s attempts to add to his deadly rampage. Additionally, and more significantly, some veterans attempted to “go to the sound of the guns” but were allegedly prevented by campus officials.
In this terrible tragedy, sometimes all we can do is grasp onto one sliver of good news. If veterans at the community college did keep their wits about them and try to help their professors and fellow students, and if they tried to go to the sounds of the guns, then they are a credit to our Profession of Arms, and are a narrow ray of good news shining through this dark cloud of tragedy and misinformation.