We are filled with sorrow for the innocent victims at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, for their families whose lives are changed forever, for their friends and their entire community.
As details emerge, at least two surviving students have reported that the shooter singled out students who were Christian. As Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin recommended, we will not name the shooter – we want attention to focus on those who will forever be marked by this day’s horrific events.
Tragically, this incident is not unique – in so many ways. Not only does it reflect a frightening trend of school gun violence, but it also reflects a terrorizing trend in which people are targeted because of their identities. Here, Christians seem to have been among those targeted. In Wisconsin not too long ago, the victims were the Sikhs. And in Kansas City, Jews were targeted at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community.
At Tanenbaum, our hearts again break for everyone injured by yesterday’s shooting. But our resolve is strengthened – as we recommit to countering religious violence and prejudice in all of its forms – in classrooms, hospitals, at work and across the world.
Joyce S. Dubensky,