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Gee, I wish someone would let me know when it's OK to have a national conversation about the mass proliferation of guns in American society and the inevitable slide to lethal violence that creates. Because, you know, it's obvious that now is not the time:
The masked gunman who opened fire in a crowded Oregon shopping mall, killing two people and wounding a third before taking his own life, appeared to have acted in a blind rampage with no known motive, authorities said on Wednesday.
The Tuesday afternoon shooting frenzy at the Clackamas Town Center in the Portland suburb of Happy Valley triggered pandemonium inside the mall at the height of the busy holiday season, sending thousands of shoppers streaming out of the complex as authorities arrived on the scene.
We know precious little right now about the gunman or his motivations:
Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, was the masked man who stormed into Clackamas Town Center Tuesday afternoon, fatally shooting two people and wounding another before turning a gun on himself, police said.
Roberts does not appear to have a criminal history in Oregon, according to court records. He had two speeding tickets earlier this year.
Court records show that Roberts and a woman, Hannah Shoemake, were evicted last summer from their Happy Valley apartment.
Roberts' mother answered her door at her Portland home, but declined to comment to an Oregonian reporter. "I loved my son very much,"she said.
There isn't really a lot to say that hasn't already been said before. But it's worth noting the terror and chaos that these scenes inspire:
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Everyone wants to know why this is happening. It isn't hard to figure out a couple of things that were clearly at play here: We're now a society awash in guns at unprecedented levels. And we're also awash in an increasingly untreated population of mentally ill people.
... [W]e haven't only government-gutting conservatives to thank for this problem. Because we can also thank the far-right paranoid gun nuts who run large national "gun rights" organizations for having gutted any kind of reasonable restraints on the public's access to guns.
Here's a natural fact I know from a lifetime of handling guns: A gun invites its use. Always. And for the insane or the insanely angry or the psychopathic or the weak of mind, that invitation becomes difficult to resist.