LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE:
We at WebShrink were floored last week by the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine. It was the largest mass shooting in our country this year. Lewiston, the second largest city in Maine, is located just a 45 minute drive from WebShrink headquarters. The initial murders sent us reeling, while the subsequent 2-day manhunt left us all walking on egg shells, nervous to go out. Many local businesses closed while authorities sought the whereabouts of the shooter, who they eventually found dead by his own hand.
Following this initial shock and horror, details about the shooter have come out that make the whole situation even more infuriating. The shooter, an army reservist and firearms instructor, had so many red flags. He was hearing voices, he had threatened to shoot up the Army base where he trained, he owned numerous guns, and he had acted aggressively and erratically. Authorities forcibly hospitalized him in a mental health facility this summer, just days after he had legally bought the gun used in the shootings.
No follow up
The shooter was on the radar of so many different agencies, the Army, local Lewiston police, the state Department of Public Safety, and even his family. Lewiston police tried to make contact with him in the weeks before the shooting but failed to follow up after a single initial attempt to meet with him. In fact, police records show the case marked “closed” 24 days before the shooting. At the same time, his family had assured police that they would take his guns. This also fell through the cracks, though.
This whole situation just adds insult to injury. Why was so little done to stop such an obvious threat? For so many reasons, this shouldn’t have happened, and it wouldn’t have happened – except for the guns. The shooting in Lewiston, Maine is making the rounds with federal politicians. Now, us Mainers get to hear the same old, callous statements from all those opposed to gun safety laws. It’s “thoughts and prayers” and “now’s not the time for politics.”
But those of us who want responsible gun laws feel tired of that. Just like how the people of Uvalde, Texas are tired. The people of Parkland, Florida are tired. The people of Las Vegas, Nevada are tired. San Bernadino, El Paso, Thousand Oaks, Orlando, Buffalo, New Town. I could fill the page. It’s sad that every call to action on gun control in our country requires numerous dead Americans. And it’s even more sad that we continue to survive these horrors while corrupt politicians block every attempt at gun reform.
This whole process isn’t new, either. Sickeningly, this basic process occurs with every mass shooting. There’s initial terror and grief, then calls for change but no actual change takes place, and finally, it all fades into the background. Now, it just happens to be Maine’s turn.