10/5/15, Shootings

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good, peaceful, productive week. Things are pretty busy after the first month of fall.

I don’t have the heart today to write to you about fashion shows—although Paris fashion week is still in full swing with the spring ready to wear collections—–or my opinions about love and marriage, or funny quotes. It’s a time for quiet musing, about the state of our country and our world.

Last Thursday, as I’m sure you know, there was a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a small town of 22,000 people, which left 10 people injured and 10 dead (including the shooter). We CANNOT allow this to become a banal event, and ordinary occurrence in our lives. We just can’t. There are statistics flying around since the shooting that vary but essentially this was supposedly the 41st or 45th public shooting THIS YEAR, and the 141st in 3 years, since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, in addition to some random shootings in public places that left a smaller number of people dead. If you do the math on that, that means that there is approximately ONE shooting per week in public places like schools, colleges, or churches, or even in public restaurants. It means that the places that we send our children, or young adults, and assume they will be safe, are NOT safe by any means. You can send your kindergartner off to school now with their superhero lunch box and not be absolutely certain they’ll still be alive by lunchtime. If I had a school age child today, I would be terrified to send them to school. My youngest child graduated from college two years ago, and I would be just as panicked about her. But it’s not just schools, there are random shootings in churches now, so no one is entirely safe there. You might go to buy your groceries, or stop for a meal at a fast food restaurant, and it’s entirely possible that someone will open fire in the restaurant, leaving dead and injured victims everywhere, and grieving families in the news. What is happening to us? What are we not doing or seeing? What is wrong with our mental health care system that we are not identifying these very troubled people who commit these atrocious crimes, providing them the help they need, and stopping them before they kill innocent bystanders and children? Are we so blind to the troubled people among us? Do we not care? Are we afraid to speak up when we know that someone in our communities is putting the rest of us at risk? Is human life so totally without value that we just accept this now as a symptom of modern life? It is truly, truly shocking, beyond words.

It used to be that a crime of this nature was a major, singular, unusual and unheard of event. Now it is common place. One a week. A few months ago, we turned on the news on TV and saw a pretty young 24 year old reporter shot and killed in cold blood, and her cameraman with her, and the interview subject shot and wounded. And this is not entirely unique to the United States, although more of it happens here. Recently, all of Europe was shocked when an armed gunman, with automatic weapons, boarded a fast train from Amsterdam into France, and shot a number of people before 3 American servicemen jumped on the gunman and stopped him, an incredible act of courage. A year or so ago, a deranged gunman in Norway shot a summer colony full of children. And the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris earlier this year left not only political targets dead, but innocent people buying groceries for the weekend. These events stand out more in Europe, because they are much more rare. But once a week in the U.S.? What is happening to us that we have become so desensitized and dehumanized that this is happening week after week, and has been for several years, that this is common place now, and getting worse?

I have never been a political person, and it strikes me that this is not only about terrorism or mental illness in a troubled world. It’s not just about gun laws, which is a sensitive and explosive issue and political hot potato. This is about ALL of us as human beings. We are ALL at risk. I have many children and a few friends, and like everyone else, I go to the grocery store, and the post office, the dry cleaner and restaurants. I park my car in supermarket parking lots. My children lead their daily lives doing equally ordinary things in other cities, and probably yours do too. How do we keep them safe, and each other and ourselves safe? How do we form a chain of people stretched across the country and our world, to remain connected, alert, and caring, to protect each other. It’s in our constitution that we have the right to bear arms. But not to randomly kill other people, and innocents. More importantly in this great country, home of the American dream for generations, we have a right to live in peace and know that our children are safe.

Let’s all give this some serious thought, and we need to collectively and individually come to some conclusions so that we won’t be reading about one of these tragedies every week, or living it ourselves. I don’t know the answers, but together we need to come up with some. There is talk of arming teachers in classrooms, what a sad statement about our world. I hope we find an answer to this tragedy. And in the meantime, my deepest sympathy to the latest victims and their families and loved ones.

With all my love, Danielle

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16 Comments so far
  1. Janine Hewitt October 5, 2015 10:26 am

    Dear Danielle, I am so sorry for your beautiful nation. How sad that innocent people are victimized randomly for nothing. How much more saddened we are when a young life is taken, never to have lived fully. I really am a firm believer in prayer and prayer is not the least we can do, it is the very most we can do. I pray for all affected by this horrible tragedy. Lets all remain strong ,vigilant and faithful during these difficult times. We must be vessels of love, caring and sharing to all people and lets extinguish all hatred from our own hearts and be wise
    to those around us who are closed off. Disenfranchised people sometimes do horrible, desperate acts of violence. Lets,as a society, reach out with love and help before such acts, not after. Sincerely Janine H.

  2. Ab October 5, 2015 3:00 pm

    I don’t think taking away gun from people who carefully handle them is the solution. That will leave only criminals with guns. Having say that some kind of control has to be in effect. Laws or not people are dying and its not suppose to be like this. I am so sad for everything happening. Something needs to be done. And gun in classroom should be a no no.

  3. Keyla Marques October 6, 2015 4:59 am

    I totally agree with every word you said. Here in Brazil this weekend a couple was shot and the woman died because they got a wrong street and entered a “favela” and the “thugs” started shooting, because thats what they do even though they dont even know who was in the car.
    People dont respect eachothers lives.
    im very sad about all theses shootings and deaths.
    Something must be done

    lvoe always

  4. lui October 6, 2015 2:15 pm

    You had already written many times in this blog on this subject in the past, but never with as much force, deepening, anxiety, anger and indignation.
    This subject is complex and requires, first, a lot of thought.
    I read an interesting article on this link:http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/amerique-nord/fusillade-sur-un-campus-de-l-oregon_1721693.html.
    Your sadness requires that you pick up the call immediately by thinking of something else that makes you happy, the time we try to answer you more fully. If you please …

  5. Lui October 9, 2015 1:26 am

    An angel charming and very tempting passed on Facebook DS, October 7th, 2015 “Mother Teresa said… has better world”. Here is an immediate, constructive and durable solution. He will not escape the readers and informed readers that we are, whom the author, if he gave the procedure to follow on the way shown by Teresa, he also respected the motivations of each one. Seek it to render comprehensible to us that all the sensitivities, religions and convictions can meet thus in the construction of this human building?! Cheer Danielle! Continue to radiate, you are a solid link of this human chain.

    In this article I noted that the killer of Oregon was psychologically defective. His mother knew it. His mother knew that it had a weapon. In Europe, people of good will worked and convinced the policies to save lives on the roads. That took years but the result is excellent. A car is also a weapon which can kill. Does one give the driving licence to everyone? Many controls of alcohol and speed are carried out.

  6. Sue Barnetson October 9, 2015 8:05 am

    I agree….as a Canadian…..how did we as humanity think this behavior is acceptable? We don’t treat our mentally ill with compassion..as we all know its not just mentally ill persons that kill….we see so many young people doing this also….how much hate is being breed to make our young people so angry. We as a nation need to wake up….stand up for each other…have live and compassion for each other. Please remember that every human life is valuable!

  7. Agnes Fredericksen October 9, 2015 9:47 am

    My view as a Canadian is the time does not fit the crime. We do not have the death penalty in this country and although I never did believe in it I do now as just a few weeks ago a 22 year old murdered a young father and his two year old daughter and probably will spend no longer than twenty years if that in prison.
    The constitution in the U S must be changed guns are everywhere there and much to easy to get . In states where there are no death penalties murdering a person means nothing to a criminal . It’s the laws Danielle they all need to be changed we need stiffer penalties , bigger fines, hit people I their wallets for drunk driving and drug offences
    Parents raise your children with respect for human life and dignity . Make time for the family again, get rid of the electronics, know who their friends are and most important where they are at all times. Take responsibility, these are your children know what’s going on in their life !!!!!!!

  8. Laurie Howard October 9, 2015 9:53 am

    In this day and time with all these abortions and people profiting on baby body parts. People are losing respect for life. Life is a miracle each day that we wake up. All of these shootings to make a point?. It really is alarming and disturbing.

  9. Nicola October 9, 2015 12:38 pm

    In rural areas of Ireland we have what we call “community alert watch ” so if you see a strange car in your area or something odd u text a number of people who all in turn do the same and the community stand together. not “it’s nothing to do with me ” attitude. people have to care. So sorry to all who have lost their loved ones in such a heart breaking way.

  10. Rachel Rivera October 9, 2015 1:49 pm

    I absolutely agree, 100%. It is no longer surprising to me to turn on the tv and see a report about another shooting. It is not a gun control problem, but a people problem. Stricter gun laws won’t make a difference. I look at my child, now a young man, and I love at,my students, both past and present, and pray that they are never victims of this horror!

  11. Tracy October 9, 2015 2:57 pm

    Don’t know the answer, but we need to find a solution soon. Just drop-off my 18 year son off at college in Coos Bay,OR and not more than a week later this happens in Roseburg. Never been so frightened in my life, questioning should I go get him, should of keep him closer to home. I hate knowing it can happen at anytime,or place. But have to put it in the hands of God and pray he will be safe. Things need to change, need start caring and loving each other again!!

  12. Doreen Avola October 9, 2015 6:56 pm

    I have a lot of mixed feelings about these very sad tragedy. Yes, we do need to look more into the person applying for guns like back ground check etc, but we also desperately need more mental health insitutions as well.Most of These tragedies that are coming from mentally unstable people. They need help and a place where they can get help as well as a place for them to be taken care of. Guns don’t kill people. People who don’t value human life kill people. They are the one’s we have to get off the streets and get them help one way or another.

  13. Rick October 9, 2015 10:03 pm

    Dear Danielle thank you very much for your kind words and your compassion, my youngest son is a student at UCC but did not have class that day thanks to GOD. Even though i didnt have any one directly involved being such a small community someone i know lost their grand daughter,so in essence everyone knew someone. Our community was rocked to its core and i can’t remember the last time my heart ached this bad! Our community is resilient And we are starting to put our lives back on track, we are Roseburg UCC STRONG!! Peace and love to all and thanks for listening, P.S Love your writing. Rick Logsdon Roseburg Oregon

  14. Nakanishi tsunemori October 10, 2015 2:28 am

    Dear Danielle,
    You are my favorite author and I’ve read most of your books. I’m looking forward to your new book being published.
    When I read the news that there was a shooting at a cllege and many innocent people lost their lives,I strongly felt that all the citizens should not be allowed to have guns except soldiers and police officers in America. The law prohibiting guns should be enacted as soon as possible.
    There is no other way to stop this dreadful atrocity.

  15. Avner Laoivsky October 10, 2015 2:47 pm

    Our world has gone into warp speed and everything is happening in fast forward mode. We strive towards achieving unbelievable goals in science, space exploration, medical research and robotic body parts.
    We have mapped our ancestories and the oceans and forests of our planet. Our transportation is moving towards non polluting methods and entertainment is blowing our minds. Our collective food and wine is a constant celebration . Where do we find the motivation to fix the flaw we have let fester, the self destructive element within us that we are too afraid to confront, control and banish. Good luck to all humans , thank you DS for your love, care and nurturing of the infinite love within us. God bless. Avner-San Francisco

  16. Elaine October 12, 2015 11:00 am

    We need to show our young people the value of each and every human life. The first step should be outlawing video games where players get “points” for the people they kill. These games are training our children to believe that lives are worthless or merely statistics instead of showing them the infinite potential in each and every human being.