More details on the Clackamas Town Center shooting

by David Safier

Clackamas Town Center, where a shooter killed two others and himself yesterday, was just down the road from Clackamas High where I taught for over twenty years. One year when I was teaching photography, my advanced students created a "One Day in December" project at the Town Center, taking hundreds of photos on a single day, then creating an exhibit of 11x14s which was displayed in the mall. Beautiful photos. A very different day in December.

Some relevant details about yesterday's shooting:

  • The 22 year old shooter used an AR-15, the same weapon used in the Colorado movie theater mass shootings during the summer.
  • The shooter was spraying bullets when the gun jammed, allowing people to flee. Otherwise, many more would likely have been killed.
  • The AR-15 is a military-style weapon. In 1994, during the Clinton administration, a ban was placed on the manufacturing and importing of the AR-15 and similar weapons. The ban expired in 2004 during the Bush administration.
  • Josh Horowitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the market for this type of weapon has boomed since the law expired. "They're pouring off the assembly line."
  • The NRA didn't respond to a request to comment for the article.
  • A recent poll by Frank Luntz, the Republican wordsmith, showed the majority of people favor a ban on assault weapons and background checks for all gun sales. That includes a majority of NRA members.

As a side note (but something I expect to hear as a reason why it's OK to have AR-15s in the hands of responsible gun owners), the shooter stole the gun from an acquaintance. But the fact is, it ended up in the hands of a homical lunatic, and he used its lethal capabilities to try and kill as many people as possible. As horrible as the incident was, I hate to think of the carnage if the gun hadn't jammed.

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