What have I told you about headlines that ask questions? The answer of course is no but we’ll get to the why in a moment.
A lot of media outlets are now reporting that the Reynolds High School shooter, Jared Michael Padgett, had a journal where in it he wrote that he wanted to kill the sinners in his school who smoked and used the Lord’s name in vain. As I mentioned previously, Padgett’s family belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, aka the Mormons.
I think the Mormons get an undeserved bad rap. A lot of people look down on them including other Christian denominations who view them as a cult. Granted they have some unorthodox beliefs and they’re founding history is full of scandal but for the most part I’ve found that Mormons are some of the nicest and friendliest people I have ever met. They have probably done more good around the world through their missions than most religions combined. Violence is usually not their way. However there are offshoots of the Mormon Church that I would definitely classify as what the professionals would call whack-a-doodle. You know the ones. The ones that have compounds, still practice polygamy, believe in child brides, get frequently raided by the government, and stockpile a lot of guns.
Since I believe that Padgett suffered from paranoia and a persecution complex I wonder if he was researching these more extreme groups that fit into his opinion about guns and possibly anti-government sentiments more than the LDS church did.
Here’s a little tip for you. If a headline is a question, 99% of the time the answer is going to be no. This is one of those times.
A lot has been said about a classroom disagreement that Reynolds High gunman, Jared Michael Padgett, had with his classmates during a discussion about The Holocaust and Hitler. Some media outlets have tried to make it seem like Padgett was a Nazi sympathizer. That wouldn’t be too far of a stretch because there have been previous school shooters who have identified with the Nazis, Jeff Weise jumps immediately to mind.
However the teacher involved with the discussion contacted the local media to put the discussion into perspective. Basically the teacher said that Padgett more identified with the Holocaust victims and others who have been persecuted for their beliefs.
While that doesn’t make him a Nazi it may make him paranoid with the belief that he was part of a persecuted group. Padgett was Mormon but I think the persecuted group that he was really referring to are gun enthusiasts. It seems that Padgett leaned toward the right in his political beliefs and belonged to some pro-2nd Amendment groups on Facebook. Do I think that means that every conservative gun owner is a killer waiting to happen? No, not at all. What I’m getting at is that Padgett may have had a delusional persecution complex and prior studies have shown that a lot of school shooters react out of some form of paranoia.
Kids Padgett’s age have a tough time distinguishing the signal from the noise when it comes to certain political influences no matter if they lean left or right. If he was being fed some kind conspiracy B.S. by someone he held in high regard it probably led to and fueled his persecution complex.
This is in no way to excuse what he did. What he did was an act of cowardice and should be looked upon as such.
Oregon school shooting: Gunman identified as freshman Jared Michael Padgett:
The victim from the school shooting at Reynolds High in Oregon has been identified as 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman. So far police have been unable to find any connection to his killer, 15-year-old Jared Michael Padgett. Authorities have said that Pagdett took hos own life after exchanging gunfire with police.
The media seems to be making a big deal that Padgett was wielding an AR-15 ‘assault rifle’. I’m more concerned about how he was able to obtain the gun in the first place. Reports say he was able to remove it from its secured location and was owned by his family. Apparently the weapon wasn’t as secure as they thought.
If you choose to own a gun and you have kids in your home the gun can never be too secure.
UPDATE 6/25/2014: The gun used in the shooting belonged to Padgett’s older brother, but there is still no word on how the gun was secured and how Padgett was able to obtain it.
Gunman And Student Killed In Shooting:
One student has been killed and the gunman is believed to have taken his own life during a shooting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon. So far, to my knowledge, the identities of the victim and the gunman have not yet been released.
I am saddened that another shooting has happened but unfortunately I’m not surprised. Recently there have been three very high-profile shootings in the US, Isla Vista, Las Vegas, and Seattle Pacific University. A lot of times high-profile shootings will influence other shootings but I can’t remember a time since there were 4 that were this close together.
What we can we do to prevent copycats? That’s the age-old question. I think the only way to prevent copycats from sprouting up would not to be report the events at all and that’s not a realistically viable solution. The public has every right to know what dangers lurk in their area especially if it could involve their children. Even if the media was to not release the names of the shooters I don’t think that would go very far in stopping copycats.
Shootings like this are usually a sign of mental illness. I think the best way to prevent not only copycats but these mass shootings in general is to do away with the stigma of seeking professional mental help. While I wasn’t planning any kind of violence I did reach out and sought professional help many times to help with my depression. I am not ashamed to admit it and neither should anyone else. If you need help get it and if you know someone who needs help, help them and support them.