After a tragedy such as the Oregon college shooting late last week, there are often more questions than answers. There are also many who strike up the call – again – for stronger gun control. For those left behind to try and regain some degree of normalcy, though, there are even greater challenges ahead.
Trying to walk back on campus at Umpqua Community College, where the Oregon shooting occurred, student Jared Norman acknowledged that “The anxiety of walking back on campus is very real,” according to The Globe and Mail. Classes at the Oregon college remain cancelled for this week in the wake of the shooting, but comfort dogs and counsellors have been brought in to help students through the aftermath of the shooting.
Unfortunately, the Oregon college shooting is not the first or the last tragedy to occur on a college campus. The deadliest such shooting occurred in 2007 at Virginia Tech, where 32 were shot and killed and 17 were injured before the gunman turned the weapon on himself. During the Oregon college shooting, which occurred in Roseburg, some 180 miles from Portland, Oregon, ten were killed, including the gunman, who took his own life.
Umpqua Community College has reopened to allow students and staff to recover items and vehicles they left behind during the shooting, in addition to seeing grief counsellors and comfort dogs as they deemed necessary. Some acknowledged a need to see how others were doing in the wake of the Oregon college shooting.
Madysen Sanchez, a student at Umpqua Community College, acknowledged a need to see how others were doing after the Oregon college shooting.
“I needed to be here,” she said, according to Yahoo News. “I needed to come and see my friends, make sure they’re OK.”
One student who doubtless has ongoing questions after the Oregon shooting tragedy is a student who has only been identified as Matthew. Matthew was the “lucky one” selected by gunman Christopher Harper-Mercer to give police a flash drive which contained a manifesto of sorts that detailed Harper-Mercer’s beliefs that everyone else around him was crazy and his frustrations over not having a girlfriend.
According to Matthew’s mother Summer Smith (Matthew’s last name is different from hers), Matthew feels guilty that he was chosen to survive the Oregon shooting and was essentially forced to sit and watch while others were gunned down in front of him.
“He’s different,” Summer Smith said, according to CNN. “He’ll never feel the same. He’ll never feel complete security again.”
Smith admitted she believed that her son was struggling with the memories of what happened during the Oregon shooting that he was forced to witness.
“He doesn’t know how to deal with it right now,” the mother said. “I don’t think he can register what happened yet. It’s just too much.”
Six golden retrievers from the K-9 Comfort Dogs network were at Umpqua Community College yesterday to offer some solace to the students and staff affected by the Oregon college shooting. K-9 Comfort Dogs have also worked with survivors from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed in 2012.
Yahoo News also reported that chaplains who worked at the college were also grieving and feeling the pain shared by everyone in the days after the Oregon college shooting.
“I’m going through the grieving process myself because this has touched everyone in the community,” chaplain Russell Wilson said. “If you don’t know someone that goes here, you know someone that knows someone.”
United States President Barack Obama is also intent on visiting Roseburg and Umpqua Community College following the Oregon college shooting tragedy. While there are no details currently available about the president’s visit, it is likely that he will continue to call for tighter gun control laws, as many agencies have done in the wake of the Oregon college shooting.
While nervous and grieving students and staff try to determine how best to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the Oregon college shooting, there is some small cause for celebration. Chris Mintz, dubbed by many as a hero as he tried to stop the gunman in the Oregon shooting from taking further lives, was shot seven times in his efforts to put an end to the shooting. There is now a petition circulating that asks Mintz to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom after the Oregon shooting hero tried to save others, according to Time.
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)