Police officers conduct a search at the University of California, Los Angeles, after a shooting that left two people dead there on Wednesday, June 1. (Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters)
By Editorial Board,
FIFTY-FIVE-hundred people, give or take, have died in gun violence in the United States so far this year, and an additional 11,000 or so have been injured. So Wednesday’s campus murder-suicide at the University of California at Los Angeles will be neither much noted nor long remembered amid this nation’s quotidian digest of gunplay.
Still, the tragedy for the families involved, and the psychological scars it leaves at UCLA, are undiminished by what has become an endlessly repetitive national meme and a haven’t-I-seen-this-before breaking-news crawl.
Americans might only glance briefly at their TV screens, but for the students, faculty and staff on campus, memories will endure: of barricading themselves behind classroom doors with desks and projectors; of arming themselves with scissors and fire extinguishers; of frantically texted, terrifying rumors — false, but who knew at the time? — that there were several shooters, that they had entered various buildings, that they were armed with assault rifles, that some wore police uniforms.
At almost the very hour the UCLA gunman, Mainak Sarkar, was going about his bloody business on campus, the Los Angeles City Council voted to study how guns make their way onto the streets. “Though we don’t know all the details about this particular shooting, we do know that many crimes like this are committed by people with guns they shouldn’t have access to, guns sold by a few ‘bad apple’ gun dealers,” the study’s sponsor, Paul Krekorian, told the Los Angeles Times. “I want to determine the source of the guns that make it onto our streets so that we can then take appropriate steps to protect the public.”
The gunman, it turns out, had a “kill list.” He also apparently murdered a woman in Minnesota before setting out for UCLA, where he gunned down a former mentor and professor of computational biomechanics, William S. Klug. A nother UCLA professor, unnamed by police, appeared on the “kill list.” In other words, Mr. Sarkar’s rampage could have been worse.
The UCLA shooting was the 186th at a U.S. school since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. That Americans are largely inured to the carnage does nothing to negate its grinding, corrosive toll. Think of Mr. Klug’s wife and his two young children, who will grow up without their father. Think of the hours-long panic into which tens of thousands of UCLA parents, and tens of thousands of spouses and children of UCLA faculty and staff, were thrown by the uncertain news on Wednesday. Think of the next such event, at a campus or school or office or park. And weep.
Read more on this topic: The Post’s View: Gun violence in America is out of control The Post’s View: Child gun deaths are not ‘accidents’ The Post’s View: America’s deadly game on guns E.J. Dionne Jr.: The conservative evasion on guns