Ten students killed in Umpqua College shooting
This past Thursday saw another campus shooting in the United States. Ten students were killed, including the shooter, and another seven were injured on the Umpqua Community College campus, making this the worst incidence of gun violence in the history of Oregon State. The shooter, Chris Harper Mercer, was a 26 year-old man described by others as quiet and withdrawn. Investigators are still investigating possible motives for the attack after discovering a more vocal side to Chris online. He stated that he was “spiritual, but not religious” when describing his beliefs.
Mercer’s social media sites indicate a fascination with previous school and mass shootings in the United States. One post of his regarding the Vester Flanagan incident in which two reporters were shot during a live broadcast mused that “The more people you kill, the more you’re in the limelight.” Stacy Boylan reported his daughter’s story to the press, disclosing that Mercer entered her classroom, instructed the Christians in the room to stand up and then told them, “because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.” Other students have corroborated this account. Chris Mintz, another student at the college, is being praised for his actions in the face of the shooter. Mintz charged at the gunman to block him from entering the room where he and others were taking cover. In his effort to protect the others, he took seven bullets to the chest and hands and broke both of his legs. He has a history of military service and was studying to become a fitness trainer. Mintz is currently recovering from surgery, but is conscious and stable.
Russia launches airstrikes in Syria
With orders to begin airstrikes on Sept. 30 coming to pass, Russia has begun its first military involvement beyond former USSR territories since the Cold War. Since they began their campaign in Syria this fall, 20 airstrikes have been carried out and the Russian military has announced that due to their ongoing success they will intensify their attacks, extending them to a length of four months from Wednesday. The success in question is Russia’s role in causing roughly 600 mercenaries to abandon their ISIS ranks. However, Michael Fallon, the British Defense Secretary, has come forward with evidence from military intelligence claiming that only one of the Russian air strikes has actually damaged ISIS targets. Both England and the United States suspect that the Russian military has actually been indiscriminate in its attacks and is striking down rebels from the Free Syrian Army, who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, rather than focusing on terrorist groups in the region. This is supported by Russia’s intentions to primarily hit ISIS bastions in Raqqa, Aleppo, Hama and Idlib. While these four provinces have citadels of ISIS control, they are otherwise low in ISIS dominance. Claiming that Russia would “only fuel more extremism,” the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey and other nations asked Putin to cease and desist air strikes.
Explosions rock China’s Guangxi province
This past week, a series of explosions rocked the city of Dapu in Guangxi, a province in southern China near Hong Kong. Seventeen different letter bombs injured 51 people and killed seven after parcels sent to a prison, railway station, hospital and shopping mall were delivered and detonated on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday evening, another blast occurred in a six-story apartment building, causing a whole corner of the structure to collapse and sending debris flying into adjacent buildings. Although there is no proven connection between the two incidents, local police have claimed to have arrested a suspect, while the man who allegedly built the bombs, 33 year-old Wei Yinyong, died in an explosion himself. No motives for the attacks have been confirmed. There have been no reported casualties resulting from the incident on Thursday.