Klamath Falls remains in the top three, but has lost top rank, moving to number two in the list of the Oregon cities where the most people have been killed in a mass murder spree (by one perpetrator). This isn’t one of those short lists. This is for all of Oregon’s news history.

This mass murder ranking comes from the sum history of newspaper media, which only counts illegal murders and only those by one assailant. The media doesn’t consider military or police actions murder, nor does it count in this list the broader mass murders involving accomplices.  This is still amazing, given the way the West was a century ago, with more lawlessness, less law, no antidepressants, and more violent personalities. The motive would seem prevalent in the past, but was no doubt more difficult to carry out with nearly everyone packing firearms. There were likely people willing to set murder records who were gunned down soon after opening fire by the public-at-large.

#1 – Nine Murdered in Roseburg, Oct 1, 2015

Murdering Oregon’s murder record that stood for over a century, a lone 26-year-old gunman opened fire in a building on Umpqua Community College’s campus killing eight on site and sending ten more to the hospital, one of which died on arrival. The gunman was killed by police.

#2 – Six Adults Murdered in Klamath Falls, 1977

Unemployment kills: DeWitt Henry, an unemployed truck driver who lived in Klamath Falls, used a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle to kill six people at a restaurant on South Sixth St. Four were from Klamath Falls, one from Medford, and one from Alaska. One of the victims was visibly pregnant, so this could be considered seven deaths. Henry is serving three life terms.

#3 – Five Murdered in Bandon, 1996

Three adults and two children were found slashed to death at a trailer park. Girley Logsdon Crum, 34, of Bandon, was arrested and jailed on murder charges. Crum, a convicted robber, had been released from the County Jail after serving 21 days for a parole violation.

TRAGIC RIPPLES

This recent mass murder is clearly tragic and blaming the dead person who pulled the trigger isn’t enough for most people. The typical knee-jerk reaction occurred immediately as network media, PACs and prominent individuals, such as Obama called for increased gun control.

Nothing short of confiscating all firearms throughout the country would have made an difference in this case. The Roseburg gunman had no criminal history or anything that would have shown up in a background check, or precluded firearm ownership even under the most extreme gun control proposals.

The real problem that nobody wants to talk about is a symptom of the society we’ve created: our society manufactures crazy people and there is no safe haven for those people to seek help. If they were to confess their thoughts, they know there could be intervention followed by an ‘unstable’ tag that will follow them the rest of their lives, so they decide to hide their problems and behaviors from the world. And who’s to judge? All of us are battling for a small sense of sanity. If we could peer into the mind of every individual, we would likely find that the vast majority, if not all, have thoughts that could be considered irrational and feelings that are out of proportion with reality.

There is no way to measure or decide what mental health is, other than the appearance of holding back impulses that may preclude peaceful co-existence with mainstream society. That’s not really health–it is stress. Bring on the Big Pharma and their Prozac, the mental health exploitation machine that adds fuel to the fire. We’re all too paranoid to let anyone pry into our minds so deeply. We don’t fully trust our welfare to the government, and that is exactly why we insist on owning guns. If some crazy person breaks into your crazy house, you want to be able to protect yourself because you don’t trust the crazy police to respond fast enough. Indeed, they cannot, unless they are living with you, and given their internal incidents of abuse and mental instability, no sane person would invite them to.

DOING BETTER

If any country is doing the right thing, it is Bhutan, who has decided to focus on defining and measuring “Gross National Happiness.” Like them, we should be tracking all the things that drive us crazy, from incessant junk mail, SPAM, the wait at the DMV to the unfairness of certain taxes.

Nobody can stay sane while trapped in the contradictions of this modern world, especially in the USA. We have a government that charges compound interest on late taxes, but pays no interest to you when it holds your excess payments. Oregon legislators outlawed sanity-crushing cold calling, but excluded equally irritating calls serving their political agendas for surveys, etc. Do not call lists are not effectively enforced, you can’t cleanse a phone number and the only way to stop people from spamming your email is to spend more money: there’s no recourse against the perpetrators. Some people crawl through traffic three hours a day just so they can work. Others can’t find meaningful work at all, ultimately compelled to take a job as a phone solicitor. The list if contradictions is long enough to circle the globe many times. This is the first level of what makes us crazy. You could say it is the result of exploitation to and from just about everyone, including our institutions and our own families. As our population increases, so do resource constraints, both of which will continue to increase the pressure. You’re damn right a lot of people insist on keeping firearms, and they will never let go. Government lets them down, their institutions turn out to be false, and so many people they meet screw them over.

So let’s face reality and replace talk of gun control with projects aimed at identifying and reducing the stress that ripples and resonates into our minds. In doing so, we would offset the strain on people who end up wreaking havoc on the world they hate for being born into. Let’s focus more on birth control so society as a whole will better appreciate and support the children that are wanted. Let’s figure out what frustrates us and systematically reduce or remove those stresses from our lives.