The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


December 29, 2012

2012: The year of the lone gunman

ENID, Okla. — Among the milestones the new year will bring will be the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

On Nov. 22, 1963, the president was cut down by a lone gunman, unless you subscribe to the myriad conspiracy theories surrounding the murder.

That is somewhat ironic, given the fact 2012 will go down as the year of the lone gunman.

One year ago today, as we prepared to ring out 2011 and welcome 2012, no one had ever heard of James Eagan Holmes, Wade Michael Page, Jacob Tyler Roberts, Adam Lanza or William Spengler.

Today, unfortunately, these men are famous.

In July, Holmes walked into a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in a theater in Aurora, Colo., carrying a shotgun, a semiautomatic rifle with a 100-round drum magazine and two handguns.

When he was finished, 12 people were dead and 59 were injured.

Less than a month later, Page killed six people at a Sikh temple in a suburb of Milwaukee.

In early December, Jacob Tyler Roberts killed two people in a crowded shopping mall in Clackamas, Ore.

On Christmas Eve, Spengler set fire to his own house in Webster, N.Y., then lay in wait until volunteer firefighters arrived. He then shot four of them, killing two and severely wounding two more.

That brings us to Lanza, who just 11 days before Christmas walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., and killed 20 first-grade students and six teachers and administrators.

Of these, only Holmes will stand trial; the rest killed themselves. And there is some question about whether Holmes is mentally competent to ever go before a court.

And these men weren’t alone. On Oct. 21, Radcliffe Haughton opened fire inside a day spa in a suburb of Milwaukee, killing three women and wounding four more before taking his own life. Sept. 27 saw Andrew Engeldinger take a semiautomatic pistol into a sign company in Minneapolis and kill five people before killing himself. He had been fired that morning.

On May 20, Ian Stawicki killed five people in a Seattle coffee shop, then killed himself after a citywide manhunt.

It was April 2 when One L. Goh opened fire at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland.

He killed seven people and wounded three others. Goh later surrendered to police.

Chardron, Ohio, was the scene of a school shooting Feb. 27. Thomas Lane killed three students and injured three more. He was arrested a short time later.

On Feb. 21, four people were killed at a suburban Atlanta health spa. Jeong Soo Paek then killed himself.

It shouldn’t be about the gunmen. Them we should forget. It is the victims we should remember.

Jonathan Blunk, a Navy veteran, died in that Aurora theater, trying to shield his girlfriend. He was 26.

Steve Forsyth, 45, died in the Clackamas mall. He left behind a wife, son and stepdaughter. Maelyn Lind, 38, was killed in the Brookfield Spa. She was the mother of four.

Eric Rivers was shot at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis. It took him nearly two weeks to die. Paramjit Kaur, 41, died in the Sikh temple shooting. She was the mother of two.

Kimberly Layfield, 38, an aspiring actress, died in the Seattle cafe shooting.

Tshering Rinzing Bhutia, a 38-year-old immigrant from India, was a nursing student killed in the Oikos University shooting.

Demetrius “D” Hewlin, 16, was sitting in the Chardon High School cafeteria talking with friends when he was shot in the back of the head. He enjoyed volunteering with Habitat For Humanity.

Keum-hee Baek and Keum-sook Baek both died in the Georgia health spa shooting. They were killed by their brother.

Avielle Richman, 6, was a fan of Harry Potter and was inspired to take up archery after watching the Disney-Pixar film “Brave.” She died in her school room in Newton, Conn.

Michael J. Chiapperini, 43, was a local police lieutenant who owned a window-tinting business. It was his role as a volunteer firefighter in Webster, N.Y., that got him killed.

And there are more, so many more, gunned down in these various mad spates of violence for which our country is becoming so well-known.

Since 1982, reports independent news organization Mother Jones, there have been at least 62 mass murders carried out with firearms, the killings taking place in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

It needs to stop. We owe it to all the victims of all these brutal acts to open a dialogue about the violent nature of U.S. society.

This isn’t just about guns, or bloody films, video games and TV shows, our failed mental health system or a seeming general cheapening of the value of human life.

Americans love violence.

That’s why football is our most popular sport and why mixed martial arts, described by Arizona Sen. John McCain as “human cockfighting,” has grown like Topsy.

All sides in this debate need to stop pointing fingers and come together to find a solution. We owe it to the victims to try.

And if we choose to do nothing, we should look the surviving family members in the eye and explain why.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at

Text Only
  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg David, Goliath at it again in Gaza Strip

    Israel has long seen itself as David, standing firm against a hostile neighborhood full of Goliaths.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS must come up with future plans for NORCE, SORC facilities after they are closed

    NORCE is scheduled to close in August 2015. Currently, 15 residents remain at the facility, awaiting transfer to a private setting, and there also are 60 state employees on the NORCE payroll.

    July 24, 2014

  • Never leave a child or a pet alone in a car

    With temperatures soaring to near or above 100, parents need to know they can’t leave their children alone in a locked vehicle. In 10 minutes, a vehicle’s temperature can climb 19 degrees. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, and it only takes a few minutes before a child can become dangerously overheated, according to Safe Kids USA.

    July 23, 2014

  • Will Rogers web.jpg Will Rogers Daily Telegrams 7-24-2014

    I am beginning to believe that Mellon is the poorest Treasurer we ever had. I would like to be Treasurer. Here would be my policy, and you see if it wouldn’t be the best thing for America:
    Save nothing, have nothing in there. Then Congress and the entire nation could have nothing in view only what they made themselves.
    A Candidate.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg State of the state: Things are not as good as they could be

    Draper wants to split Cali up into six separate states — Silicon Valley, around the San Francisco Bay Area; Central California, including cities like Bakersfield; West California, including Los Angeles and its suburbs; South California, including San Diego; North California, centered on Sacramento and Jefferson, in the far northern part of the state.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Voters have decisions to make in August races

    Democrats will have two runoffs to decide. One will be choosing their party’s nominee for state superintendent. Freda Deskin will face John Cox. The winner will face Republican nominee Joy Hofmeister in the November general election.
    The other race is for the party nominee to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. Jim Rogers will face Connie Johnson. The winner will face Republican nominee U.S. Rep. James Lankford in November.

    July 22, 2014

  • Going postal

    Waukomis residents have the opportunity to have their voices heard in regard to the future of their post office.

    July 22, 2014 1 Story

  • New dorm

    Breaking ground on a new dormitory at Northern Oklahoma College Enid is another step in the evolution of the campus.

    July 20, 2014 1 Story

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Stars in our eyes

    We caught the vision when, in May of 1961, John F. Kennedy told Congress, and the world, that the space race was no longer to be so one-sided.
    “First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” he said.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up logo.jpg Thumbs up for northwest Okla. communities, where net taxable sales figures are up

    Net taxable sales were up $1,917,774 in Enid, when compared to sales reported in July 2013. The increase amounted to a 2.6 percent increase in sales tax revenue for the city.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads