As much of Australia prepares for to celebrate a lazy long weekend, America has settled into mourning over its latest mass shooting.
In the early hours of this morning (Friday, October 2) while Aussies slept soundly, a gunman began firing into classrooms at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, USA.
He killed 10 students in cold blood and injured seven more, according to a New York Times report. The students, whose average age is 37, were sitting in some of their first classes of the new college year.
Gunman Asks Students Their Religion Before Firing
Mourning: The family of shooting victim Emilio Hoffman. Picture: Getty Images
The gunman reportedly told students to state their religions before he began firing. He is said by law enforment officials to be a very angry, unfriendly 26-year-old from the local area.
The shooting is the USA’s deadliest massacre since the killing of 9 people in a church in South Carolina in June this year.
An article by Fairfax has highlighted that the killings are the 294th mass shooting in America in 274 days, according to the online “Mass Shooting Tracker”.
That makes an average of more than one mass shooting per day across that nation.
“Our Thoughts And Prayers Are Not Enough”: US President
The US President Barack Obama delivered a speech in the aftermath of the shooting, challenging the American public to vote for tougher gun laws.
“There is a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America,” he said. “How can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”
“Somehow this has become routine: the reporting is routine, my response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it; we’ve become numb to this.
“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.
“It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.”
Obama Upholds Australia As An Example
Vigil: Student Kristin Sterner mourns the loss of her friends. Picture: Getty Images
He referenced Australia and Great Britain, which he called “friends of ours, allies of ours, countries like ours”, saying the two nations had almost eliminated mass shootings with tougher laws, after just one serious incident.
“We spend over a trillion dollars and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil,” he said.
“And yet we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?
“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.
“I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and save lives and to let young people grow up.
“And that will require a change of politics on this issue.”
Tough-On-Guns Speech Ends With A Prayer
Prayers: A girl prays during a vigil in Roseburg, Oregon after mass shooting. Picture: Getty Images
Obama finished his speech with a form of prayer, mixed with a little politics.
“May God bless the memories of those who were killed today,” he prayed.
“May He bring comfort to their families, courage to the injured as they fight their way back.
“And may he give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change.”
State Of Oregon Allows Concealed Weapons In Colleges
The New York Times reports that Oregon is one of seven states that allow the carrying of concealed weapons on public tertiary campuses.
According to an article by MotherJones.com, sheriff John Hanlin who is handling the massacre response, was one of hundreds of US sheriffs who lobbied in 2013 against gun legislation changes.
He wrote to Vice President Joe Biden, “Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings”, and upheld the US Constitution and the 2nd Amendment as his guiding principles.