It Happened Here

Okay, a friend sent that to me, because I don’t Facebook or Twitter. By then, we already knew shit was goin’ down.

I sent these to hubby, as I was outside in the barn when I saw it all start happening. For the record, I never heard one single gunshot, even though the scene was about a mile due south of where I was standing.

Because by the time I took this, we were in lockdown, it’s the best I could get from the upstairs window. 4 county sheriff agencies, the state police and Corvallis PD. All parked across from the ranch. Didn’t know if we should have been feeling really safe, or just annoyed at the bazooka yapping of the police dog that had ours going nuts inside the house.

This morning, things still hadn’t been resolved.

About 30 minutes later, we received the all clear, that the shooter had finally been taken into custody. All we knew was that Tuesday evening, a neighbor down the road had been out watering his garden, and somehow taken offense at the roofers working on the house next door. He took a shot at them, took his clothes off, and continued to shoot in the direction of the house. By 2340 (11:40pm), we got the ‘okay, you can breathe now but be concerned for your safety’ text.

He was still not in custody. Fire and EMS were stood down by midnight, and most of the cortège across the road had dissipated. They returned early this morning, and that’s when things finally wrapped up, and we got the ‘all clear’ texts. I do not know if anyone was injured, killed or otherwise harmed.

I hope they took him to the hospital to be evaluated mentally.

Far be it for me to say ‘gosh, this isn’t that kind of neighborhood’ and ‘this NEVER happens out here in rural America’, because it is and it did. Don’t think for a moment we were sitting like ducks here. We both had what we needed, even though I was reasonably sure that with every law officer west of the Mississippi parked across the road and (at times) in our driveway, we were probably fine.

This is the nation we have become. Like the late George H. W. Bush, I also quit the NRA decades ago, after seeing the writing on the wall. The number of mass shootings that have happened in my country just since 2017 is heartbreaking as well as shameful. Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, California (X2), Ohio again, Mississippi, Florida (again), Utah, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California (still), NYC, Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, Las Vegas, Texas (again), California (seriously), New Mexico (again), and Colorado just in 2017 alone.

When people scream about their ‘second. amendment rights’, they conveniently leave out the whole ‘well regulated militia’ part of things. Also the part where the best marksmen of the day were those who could fire, reload, and fire again in about 60 seconds. One shot. With firepower measured in rounds per second any more, some serious mis-matching of killing power becomes starkly evident.

We have firearms. We use them in our job (ranching) for varmint control. We are both Navy vets, both earned our Expert medals in both hand and long guns, we both are retired competitive shooters, and I was a combat pistol instructor and judge (and sometime competitor). But we both see the need for every single person in this country to have a firearm to be the most stupid and dangerous thing ever in our history. Can you imagine that there was a time when the NRA railed against untrained civilians being allowed to carry a weapon in public? Just recently in Texas, a man was sitting at a bar in a restaurant, got up, walked by a table where a random couple he had no interaction with whatsoever were enjoying a dinner date, shot the man dead, shot the wife, then killed himself. You can argue the ‘good guy with a gun’ crap all day long, and I will tell you, every single military student of mine, on the first day of combat pistol training, shot at least, AT LEAST, 65% of the civilian targets.

65%. Go ahead. Make your point. I’ll wait.

I don’t want to hear your whataboutisms. The carnage vs the ‘savior with a gun’ ratio is so far to the former’s that it’s sickening to contemplate.

We have become such a trigger happy society that it just doesn’t take much to pull it. Guy cut you off in traffic? Kill his 6 year old kid in the backseat. Don’t like people putting a new roof on the house next door? Take off your clothes and start poppin’ off rounds at ‘em. Gang member flash the wrong sign? Drive by time, baby! Oh, his pregnant wife died? Gee, too bad, guess she was in the wrong place, and with the wrong dude.

Going to school, church, the grocery, post office, library, hospital, mall, restaurant, concert, club, rife range, office, drive on the freeway, etc? Better be prepared. Bulletproof is a misnomer any more — armor piercing rounds that used to be strictly controlled are now available on the Internet.

Violent felons get out of prison, and go get themselves properly armed, then go right back to it. In some states, they even do that LEGALLY.

I, and every other American (and tourist/visitor) have a right to be safe, anywhere we are. I can see where the problems are, but I don’t have the solutions beyond a living wage, education, decent housing, access to affordable health care, proper and impartial use of the law, court and criminal justice systems, using our tax dollars to further the above goals for every American instead of waging wars we will ultimately lose, etc. As our country stands right here and now, it’s not possible to do any of that. I don’t need to go into the whys of that, we all know, and it just leads to more arguments over who’s good and who’s evil.

Now that ‘it’ has happened in my ‘hood, I still have not changed anything I’ve already said for decades. Incredibly stupid, loose gun laws in place of ‘people control’ just keep killing people, most of them innocents. Yes, I’ve heard the asinine story about the gun propped in a chair, not doing any harm to anyone. But, that story has always, ALWAYS made the point that even the moron who wrote it made, albeit unwittingly — you NEED to control the PEOPLE. But you also need to control the few guns that ordinary people simply have zero need of, like AR style long guns, automatic weapons, and dickheads on the Internet showing you how to turn your semi auto into a full auto. You want to keep prison profits high? Put the right people there. People selling firearms illegally. People showing you how to modify your firearm. Selling hyper lethal rounds of ammunition. Stealing and using firearms in the commission of a crime. The 2011 case of Badger Guns knowingly selling firearms to convicted felons who couldn’t pass the background check, using ‘straw buyers’ that led to a total of 6 police officers being shot. The owner’s FFL (Federal Firearms License) was revoked, the shop closed briefly, then the owner’s brother re-opened it. The owner had been doing this for years, and law enforcement knew it. And yet, he never served a day of jail time as far as I can tell.

That needs to change. Stop putting petty criminals in prison. Give them community service, not just picking up trash, but much like the WPA of the 30’s, teach them a trade by having them work at construction and repair jobs for the county and state. Something they can possibly and hopefully put to use when their sentence is complete. Something that might just give them a job, a paycheck, and some dignity, keep them from relapsing. They are quite possibly still reachable and reformable.

Put the ‘big’ boys in prison. For a long, LONG time. Their crimes are deadly. They should pay in equal parts.

And, then there is our guy. The nude neighbor shooter. He is clearly over the edge. He needs help. His crime was also potentially deadly but since we don’t know his motives, that needs to be looked at. He might be found criminally insane. He might not. He is reflected in so many mass shooters of the past decades. Angry. Male. Firearm. Flashpoint. Mayhem.

Why? What causes a Stephen Paddock to casually mow down concert goers from his hotel room? What was his flashpoint? How long had he been building up to that moment?

Stop thinking ‘this can’t happen here’, because it can, and the way things are going, it’s likely that it will. This is America now. The more guns on the street, the less safe we all are. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I am so very, VERY thankful that no one died here just south of me. But they could have. And that’s a frightening thought. The answer is not arming ourselves even more than we already are, at least not with firearms and other weapons.

The answer is to arm ourselves the desire to find out why this is happening, and fix that problem first.

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Hippie cattle rancher and dog lover. Independent but slightly left of centre. Atheist ethnic Jew. US Navy vet. Damp Oregonian. IG @morganriverranch

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Dusty Craig

Dusty Craig

Hippie cattle rancher and dog lover. Independent but slightly left of centre. Atheist ethnic Jew. US Navy vet. Damp Oregonian. IG @morganriverranch

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